It’s summer time, and we have made a change this year by moving away from a “No Screen Time Until…” summer vacation schedule. I still do love the concept, as inspired by my friend Becky from Your Modern Family. I have used her printable and even created my own to include a couple extras like “play outside for at least 30 minutes” and “practice piano.” It has worked well for our family in the past.
However, when I began the same concept this year I noticed something different in my children that I didn’t like. Therefore, we are doing things a bit different this summer. To better understand our philosophy of screen time in general, please read here. To better understand why we are embracing a change this summer, continue reading.
Moving Away from a “No Screen Time Until…” Summer Vacation Schedule
Why move away from a good concept that helps kids to be active, read, engage in learning, be creative and encourages helpfulness and responsibility? I found that while my kids were doing all those amazing things, their ultimate goal was to get to screen time. They weren’t living in the moment. The amazing things, didn’t feel amazing to the children. They felt like a must-do list.
This is how it played out for our family:
The kids would go to their 30 minutes of outdoor playtime. 10 minutes in, a head would pop back through the door, “Has it been 30 minutes yet?” I think you can see where this is going.
The motive was to finish the “chore” of playing outdoors so they could get to the real reward, having screen time. What backward thinking!
This seemed to be in all areas. During reading, the kids wondered when it would be over so they could get to what they really wanted – screen time. They didn’t let their brains fall into the magical worlds fashioned on the pages of a book. Their minds were constantly hopeful for the next thing.
As I was talking to a friend about this concern she said, “We do it different. I let them get the TV time out of the way in the morning and then say, ‘OK, time to turn it off for the day.'” That was the answer for us too. So simple. Get the itch out of the way in the morning so they can learn to be present in the great things the rest of the day.
It was only a week ago that we flipped it upside-down, and it has worked. The kids have spent over an hour at a time engaged in the stories on the page. They have been present in their outdoor play. I still have systems in place to help them get their chores and summer learning done. We embrace opportunities for creativity. We are getting it all in, but they are living in the moment rather than constantly wondering when they get that precious time on the Switch (affiliate link) or television.
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It was a game changer for our summer. For many, it will be a motivator and a non-issue to adopt the “No Screen Time Until…” philosophy. I do encourage it. However, if you find your kids responding like mine began to, you might want to consider flipping the order in which you do your summer activities.
Teaching our kids to place value on the more important things in life while delighting in the moment is the goal. Summer is a time to relax and have fun. Some of this might include some screen time, but hopefully more of it involves the outdoor play, imagination, growth, friendships, character development and family time. Have a wonderful summer!
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