Prepared for Summer Break: Low Tech Summer Fun
Finally the sun has come out, flowers are blooming, gardens are growing, and school is out. Which means you have about a week or so before you start hearing “mom, I’m bored.” It’s a two edged sword. I love the camping, and road trips and swimming. But to be honest I really hate when school gets out. It throws off my groove. I have to try and get a new schedule, the longer days means my kids are up way to early and too late for my taste.
One of the things I’ve noticed is the TV and video games seems to have adverse side affects. They are great when I just want to get another hour of sleep or need to finish a project, but I really end up paying for it the rest of the day. They seem to store all that energy they would have normally used and then explode afterwards in both temper and activity. Its also addictive so they forget how to entertain themselves and thus rely on these more and more.
So this summer I’m taking a different route!
Being able to entertain yourself or survive without electricity or batteries is a skill that takes practice to develop and maintain. Its also a emergency preparedness skill. If you’ve witnessed the melt down of a battery run out, then you have a good idea of why its an important skill. Now is the perfect time to cultivate it and help boarden the horizons of your childs imagination, and develop talents and interests that have been hidden of buried by electronics.
TV/TECH Time Challenge
I’m not advocating ZERO TV, lets face it – quitting cold turkey is setting yourself up for failure. However, as with all goal setting, be SMART.
Plan the rules for your family. We allow one day a week (Saturdays) for 2 hours of basic TV free time. Decide whether you’ll have a timer (which many TV’s have built in) or if you are going to allow certain shows only to help them measure it themselves. Be flexible, there will be days when you need bribery or simply a shower and a movie is your last resort. Just be sure they don’t realize that’s the case. We also require video games to be played with someone, so there is still social interaction happening. Usually this means special one on one time with dad as I have 2 left thumbs and am virtually uncoordinated.
When TV becomes a family activity instead of mindless watching it can become a tool for family bonding and learning rather than babysitter. Watching a movie together as a family, especially one that stimulates a lot of discussion, can be a valuable family tradition. Give them the option to earn TV/tech time. My sister-in—law has a marble points system, it works like money. Certain chores and activities are rewarded with a set number of marbles, which can be traded in for certain privileges which include things outside TV watching and video games, like a movie, date with dad, or Lego sets. Be sure that point limits are something they can realistically get without becoming discouraged.
Review the plan with your family, allow them to negotiate the terms. Giving them a say will give them a greater sense of responsibility in executing it. It also gives them no ground to stand on for arguments. Have them also plan a calendar of events or activities to help them have things to look forward to. As a family create a list of alternative activities and post them on/near the TV and computer. It helps with TV block (which is like writers block in that they can’t come up with an idea to pass the time).
The War on Summer Boredom
Prepare for alternative forms of entertainment. Don’t just rely on the toys in the toy box. Bring in some unexpected surprises:
- Crafting kits
- Special outings
- Hold back new books
- Schedule play dates
- Make games
These simple things will bring variety to your days and give you more ammunition in the war on summer boredom. Sign up for local reading programs through your library and schedule weekly library visits. Get a local visitors guide to find out what’s happening in your own backyard. We’ll be posting an idea a day on Facebook for fun activities and outings to do with your family that doesn’t include TV, computers or video games. Although occasionally a cool family movie night idea will be posted (Movies can be a gateway to history and new cultures).
Throughout the summer we’ll also be sharing camping and traveling information to enhance your summer vacation time. Look for future posts on theme weeks and activities as well. Our goal is that through this challenge your family will develop the skill of entertaining themselves, make new discoveries about themselves and the world, and broaden their horizons and imagination.
Most importantly we hope it brings you closer together as a family.
Let the summer fun begin!
For more reasons to go low tech read this article from AACAP
Shared with: Everything Summer Link-Up