It’s almost the end of the school year and everyone is itching for some “fun in the sun” relaxation. Parents also enjoy the change from the daily grind of the family schedule!!! Even with the best of intentions, sometimes our children may become glued to their respective screens before we realize it. Common Sense Media wrote a terrific article about this topic. I include their suggestions along with tips from other sources, as well.
Create a media family plan.
Before things get out of hand, sit down together and hash out a plan for each week. Include all outings, camps along with how much media & tech will be allowed daily. See if there are any handy Family Tech Rule guidelines’ app to get the ball rolling.
Change the Wi-Fi password each day. Come up with a list of chores or activities that need to be done first before the password is provided. This is a great formative activity to teach teamwork. Just because it’s summer vacation, doesn’t mean that work around the up-keep of the home gets neglected.
Have a tech-free vacation.
Instead of plugging everyone into their DVD players & headsets, head to the local library for audio books. Children’s novels are by far the best choice because of the engaging productions. Avoid anything that says, “Unabridged”…we’re talking insomnia cure which isn’t good for the driver (true story)!!
Purchase travel size games that have stood the test of the time, for example Rummy, Checkers, Old Maid, Hangman. Bring along a ball to get simple games happening. Tempting as it is to have a quiet trip, road trips are wonderful ways of creating bonds. And they are also great ways to practice social skills like conversing together; playing & eating together without a lot of friction.
No devices at the dinner table.
This should be a non-negotiable even during the summer time. Let’s get reconnecting. Some of the best, most informative conversations often happen organically after the dishes are put away while everyone is lounging around the table. Some families even have family reading time after dinner. Find a great classic book to read out loud…let everyone have a turn each evening.
Get outside…learn a sport; take a hike!!
- Keep a hiking trail book in the vehicle to provide ideas of places to go in order to experience our amazing mountains.
- Or keep a bird book for those rare encounters with interesting birds in the backyard. Go further afield to places where birds are often migrating, for example Frank Lake or Burns Park. Binoculars and camera are a must, of course.
- Or make it a family challenge of trying to ride most or all of the bike trails of the urban pathways.
- Older tweens could put up flyers on neighborhood mailboxes to see who would be interested in once/week soccer or baseball game on the community playing field. The parents or older teens could officiate.
The possibilities are endless….
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