Summer vacation has arrived!
Days, weeks, and months of freedom stretch before us. No homework, no after school activities, fun in the sun, sibling squabbles, cries for ‘just a few more minutes’ on the iPad, clothes and toys and junk all over the house…
Hold on a minute!
Keeping Screen Time Under Control: A Summer Plan
Summer can be awesome, but with its lazy days and barely there schedule, it can also be a recipe for a frustrated mom.
I’m all for sleeping in and enjoying the sunshine. I’m all for days where we don’t get out of our pajamas and we eat ice cream for dinner. I’m all for days where the kids watch too much TV and the dishes stay in the sink.
But not every day.
An entire summer like that is just not practical, but if I don’t set some rules now, it can quickly head in that direction. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been intentional about not letting myself get bogged down with mom guilt when those days occur, but I also want to be proactive about setting reasonable and responsible rules for what I expect from my kids.
A while back I read a post on Narrowback Slacker called How I Limited Screen Time By Offering My Kids Unlimited Screen Time. In it she talks about how if she gets her day started in a productive way, such as by jumping into her freelance work, she tends to continue in a productive fashion. Conversely, if she starts her day unproductively, such as by watching TV, she won’t get anything done all day. She figured the same might be true for her kids, so she gave them a list of things they had to do before they could have screen time.
This resonated with me, so I made my own list.
I think the idea has multiple benefits:
- It will (hopefully) limit screen time because the kids will have a list of things to do before they get screens and they will (hopefully) get caught up in some of the things they’re required to do, lessening their desire and time for screens. We’ll see how this goes and adjust as necessary.
- It will teach the kids a number of important life skills:
- They’ll have chores, which not only teaches them how to work, but also teaches them how to be a contributing member of our family and eventually society.
- They’ll learn to take responsibility and be self-starters because I will not be after them to complete their list. If they want screen time, they’ll take the initiative on their own.
- They’ll learn that their choices have consequences, both good and bad. Choosing to complete the list allows them to have screen time. Choosing to not complete the list restricts them from having screen time. There may also be unexpected consequences, like a larger mess of clothes to clean up if they choose to skip a day or two.
- This is my favorite! It will end my nagging and their whining. We’ve talked about how screen time will work this summer. They know they have to complete everything on the list before they can have screens. They know I will not remind them. It’s totally on them. If they decide to do the things on the list, awesome. If they decide not to do the things on the list, fine. I will not nag them to get it done. And they will not whine to me about having to get it done. Well, maybe they will sometimes, but I won’t listen to it.
Our list is simple and includes both work and play. I didn’t want to make it overwhelming and I didn’t want to make it no fun. I included both words and pictures so that my readers and non-readers alike will be able to check it themselves.
If you think it’s something you’d like to use, you’re in luck! I’ve created a printable version just for you. Fill out the form below and I’ll send it right to your inbox (or possibly your spam folder, depending on how your filters are set 😛 )
Print off as many copies as you need, hang them up somewhere, and let me know how it works for you!
If you’re curious about the chores I’m requiring my kids to do, check out that post here: How to Get Your Kids to Unload the Dishwasher.
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I LOVE this! totally printing this out now! Great idea!
I already do this with my kids minus the cute printable which I think is a good idea. I also like that it lets me delegate chores that I don’t get to very often like…dusting. I think an important goal of parenting is helping children to learn how to use their agency in positive and effective ways. Great idea!
Awesome idea. I’m going to use your printable to create our own chart.