Your Summer Screen Time Rules Don’t Apply To Me: Here’s Why
The school year is quickly coming to an end and ready or not, the kids will be home full-time. For those of us who stay or work at home, summer vacation can really throw off our current schedules.
The familiarity of our routine changes with small people asking a barrage of questions and needing food 24/7. Every summer I vow to come up with a schedule harmonizing work and play with the kids. As they get older, the working part gets easier as they become more independent.
Usually, they want to play videos games and be on their Kindles all day. That does not fly in my book.
Adjusting The Summer Electronics Rule
Last year I came up with a solution keeping the kids off their electronics till mid-afternoon. It had it’s flaws but at least they weren’t on them from morning till night. This summer, I will tweak it a bit more, shaving more time off their current electronic allowance.
I count this as a win in the parenting category but there is a small snafu in my plan. My best ideas come to me from 10am -3pm, right in the peak hours of their no device time. This block allows for a clear head and a fresh mind. Sure, I’ve tried the 5am club but my brain is still too foggy to process anything worthwhile.
If I let them, they would be attached to their gaming systems all day long and my goal is to be more unplugged while still enjoying life. Writing is something that brings me joy and I want to be that model for my kids. What that means is sometimes I have to get on my computer and work.
They see this as mom being on electronics, but when I’m writing, I shut out other distractions. I’m not surfing the internet, scrolling through social media or playing games. I am truly working. So how do I explain to my very literal thinking kids that what I’m doing is different?
Creating A Work Time For The Family
I want to set a good example for them in work ethic, commitment, and adhering to the rules we have set as a family.
It’s funny how dependent I’ve come using my phone and computer to hash out ideas for new pieces. While I like to write long hand, many times it’s easier talking out ideas on my notes app. I can brain dump everything faster speaking than writing it down.
The same goes for my novel. Words flow out of me much faster when I sit down at my computer. The ideas are still the same either way but I’m able to produce more at the keyboard.
Instead of coming at it from a place of mom being on an electronic machine, we need to change their thinking. At school, they work on chrome books and iPads but they are hardly playing games all day. This is the approach we need to take as a family.
In the morning, we can do learning or working activities. They might get to use their devices but only if they are on an educational program. This way, I get my work done but lose the role of hypocrite along the way.
The time I spend working on my computer will force me to cut down on the time dawdling around creating ideas. I will use this as an incentive to finish quicker so I can get my kids off the electronics. If they don’t want to do any of those programs then they can read, do art or play a game.
The other thing that comes up during these peak creative hours is fun activities. I love taking my kids to the pool, burning off energy for a couple hours and getting us out of the house. This is where work at home parents can be flexible, changing things up a bit for this season. Working from home allows me to create at different parts of the day if something fun comes up.
There are times during the school year that I don’t work until later in the afternoon. Grocery shopping and errands sometimes take precedence over morning work hours so I switch up my routine. Sometimes we are so set in our ways that we forget, as a creative person, to roll with the punches.
My type A, perfectionist, Virgo personality needs a kink in her rigid schedule once in awhile. Summer is about having fun and spending time with the kids. During their break, I could create less new content instead focusing on editing my manuscript. Editing is easier to do unplugged, although some trees will be sacrificed in the process .
This allows me to continue writing, but prove to my kids that I can work along side them without a device.
Being flexible isn’t always easy but in the long run, they will remember the summer fun that didn’t have them on their electronics all day.
Put your oxygen mask on first. Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.
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