Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Rules...

So the boys are out of school and this summer they are getting a bit more freedom and independence, which I think is good for them.

 We tried it out this new found freedom the other day while I was at work. Before leaving, I sat down discussed all the "rules" for the day. My mom graciously stopped by a few times to check on them, unannounced, which worked out nicely! The day actually went very well. I was pleasantly pleased and happy with these fine young men! Over dinner, I asked them what they had done that day. Sam shared how he had text a friend for 6 hours and Jack told me how he watched an entire mini-series of Minecraft on the computer! 

Uh. Oh.
That's not going to work. 

If they spend the summer doing all that screen time, their brains will definitely rot out and drip out of their noses. I gave them a "pass" because it was the first day of summer, reminded them to carefully blow their noses, because their brains just might be draining a little and decided to come up with a Plan B.

Now, I will admit (here we go again) that Jason and I have a liberal policy when it comes to screen time. A few rules we try (hey, we aren’t perfect) to enforce are no phones at dinner, limited screen time when friends are over, limited screen time overall and ummm, welllll...you get the idea. 

My entire idea is not to say no to technology, but for them to realize there are other things in the house, around them and in the world to do besides texting for 6 hours and watching Minecraft videos. 

Plan B started with me going to Pinterest for ideas. If you go onto Pinterest or the internet there are thousands of summer ideas/bucket lists...from taking a hike, helping out an elderly neighbor or playing a pool party. (easy peasy!) There is even a web site that will give you a weeks worth of ideas on a theme. For example, this week all activities will be based around ice-cream. They provide activities, play ideas, science experiments, recipes, etc. etc. You can check it out here. Wow!!

I mean really, I just need some basic guidelines here. I don't want the boys to spend entire days on the screen, but I do want them to do other things, that are "easy" for them to decide and have control over. I also want them to start prioritizing their days and helping out around the house a bit!  I finally came across a list titled, "No Screen time Until..."

(I have absolutely no idea why things suddenly became highlight in white.  Please excuse this glitch from the wonderful Blogger program!)

I adapted it, changed it up and planned it out with the boys. I must say this is a work/test in progress, but so far, it's been good ( I know it's only been a week.) The boys have bought into it, and I think that is because they have control over it. 

So here it is our list:

Summertime Rules
No Glowing Screens Until
You have eaten breakfast and cleaned up it up.
Water and fed critters.
You have read for 20-30 minutes.
You have checked that you room is tidy:
meaning that the bed is made, clutter put away, laundry in its place and waterbottles/glasses are brought downstairs.

You have played some sort of math,
learning or brain game of some sort:
×         Can be on the computer with ok from me!
×         Board Game
×         Brain Game books, crossword puzzles, suduko

You have played, built, crafted or have done something creative for
45 minutes to one hour.

You have finished one chore.

Later in the day you will:
Do something productive/creative/active
(practice baseball, lacrosse, basketball, guitar)
Pick up anything in the house that is yours and put away.
Read before bed.

(You have weekends off from this routine.
You may still need to help around the house.)

The wording for the list is done for Sam and Jack, so if some of it seems phrased in a younger manner, that would be for Jack. 

To explain the chore part. The boys need to chose one chore for the day. Some are quick and easy and take 10 minutes max. A few others are a bit more involved. Jack numbered small squares and then chooses one out of a bucket and does the corresponding chore. No problem. His bathroom gets cleaned once every two weeks. Perfect. So does his sheets...you may think they need to be cleaned more often,but right now I will settle for once every two weeks!

Is it to much? We will see. When the boys are home all day, I really believe they can kick in and help out and keep the house picked up. The "list" is very easy to do in a short amount of time. 

Here's our Chore Choices:
Pick a Chore
1.       Clean your toilet
2.     Clean your bathroom
3.     Dust tops in your bedroom: Move items off of dresser, bed frames, top shelves and desk in order to dust.
4.     Change sheets.
5.     Vacuum your bedroom.
6.     Clean a bathroom of your choice.
7.     Vacuum a room of your choice.
8.     Dust a rom of your choice.
9.     Go to the grocery store.
10. Run errands.
11.   Dust shelves: move items on shelves
12. Dust walls in room: frames, pictures, lights, etc.
13. Dust items in your room.
14. Freebie: you choose
15.  Binge clean a drawer or shelf in your room.
16.  Empty dishwasher (if available)
17.  Fold and put away towels (if available)
18. Plan a meal.
19.  Make a dessert

Will there and have there been adjustments...yes! If the boys are asked to go to the pool or Adventureland, will the HAVE TO FINISH THEIR LIST BEFORE LEAVING???!!!! Absolutely not. If they are at the pool, they are in motion and not sitting in front of a screen for 6 hours!!! And that is the point of "The List." 

On our first trial run day, no complaints.(again, I know it's only been a week!) For the 45 minutes of being creative, the boys actually got out one of Sam's Lego sets that he has had for over a year, but hasn't built and worked on it for almost two hours!  Sam searched the app store to download brain games, which he loved doing! That day, the first time Sam and Jack got on their video games was 4:30 in the afternoon. Did Sam text during the day, he did, but he was building with Jack (my little multi-tasker) and at one time, he was cleaning up his room. I'm ok with that, because he wasn't sitting on the couch locked into the screen.

Will there be days that "The List" gets done quickly and they have 6 hours opened and end up on the computer? Yes. As long as "The List" gets done, they are free to look at that lovely glowing screen of their choice until chunks of their brain starts to fall out of their noses. (Just don't get it on the carpet, because they will have to clean it up.) 

But what I have noticed is that they go are going outside to start  playing a game, with their imagination. They start to build Legos and don't stop until the structure is built...and if it isn't done, they go back later to work on it some more! They have both gotten into reading books that have been on their shelves for some time! The best part, is that they boys have been actually getting along!!

So giving them all the time they want on the screen, has actually lessened the  time they are on the screen. 
Hmmm...will definitely keep you updated on their progress!!

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