What are your summer expectations for your family? I’m going to guess that the even before summer vacation started, you didn’t stand up after everyone was completed with supper and display diagram after diagram of your summer rules and regulations.
I’m also going to go out on a limb here and guess that you also didn’t make a rule about freezies and other morning expectations.
I am, however, going to guess that you may have come up with some screen time rules. Because if you are like me or any other mother in this country, you have been hearing this–“can I play on your phone?”–about one hundred gajillion times leading up to the break. And also if you are like me, you knew you couldn’t take a whole summer of that. 88 days of begging screen zombies looking for another hit.
No! I wasn’t going to have that.
Since I had strategized our summer, I had planned my busy and non-busy days, and this summer, I had a lot more non-busy days than I had in the past. I knew I needed help, so I started doing some research. I asked a lot of people what they were doing and I looked up ideas online. I learned about ticket systems and charts and summer idea-jars and boredom busters and 33 ideas that cost less than $10, etc.
None of this was going to work for me. First of all, I need it to be immediate. I cannot keep track of tickets or charts. Also, some of these ideas revolved around something other than screen time–which is great, but it wasn’t going to solve my dilemma.
Ultimately, my best resource was–Chris, my husband!
We determined that each kiddo was going to have the opportunity to earn 30 minutes of screen time each day. And 10 of those minutes had to be something educational.
Here’s what we determined:
We also wrote down how you can lose screentime and there are twice as many ways to lose it.
For instance, they can lose screen time for fighting, whining, not setting the timer, not stopping when the timer goes off, asking for more games, and not earning it in the first place (disobeying, not listening, not doing their morning chores, etc.)
What do morning chores mean?
Everyone had their own duties for each morning:
- Kyla–water the blueberry bushes, make bed (girls share a double bed)
- Tori–collect library books, wash dishes
- Dash–feed Twitter (our bird), make bed
- Jack–pick up room, make bed
Not only do they need to make sure they get that done, I made a loose morning schedule and expectation list.
This was crucial for my survival! I had to lay it all out there or I would be fighting the screen time battle all day.
“Can we do screen time?”
“Is it morning?”
“When do we do screen time?”
I wanted to make sure we got outside, that we were intentional about reading, and that we made time to work on our Bible verses.
Since I was on a roll, I also made a chart of summer bedtime chores.
I know it sounds crazy, but the routine in the morning and the plethora of lists has been my saving grace this summer so far. I have enjoyed my kids so much and I have been extremely intentional. We spend time together, and we spend time on our own.
And as crazy as it is, it helps me to be more spontaneous. Since I am more focused, I am able to be more prepared for spur-of-the-moment ideas.
I know it’s the middle of June already, but there is still plenty of summer left. If you are struggling through these first few weeks, I encourage you to focus for a few moments on your goals for your family.