I talked yesterday about how for the past three summers we have been a Screen Free Family. This has been a serious win for our kids, and the routine of our day, but didn’t come without it’s hiccups, growing pains, and moans and groans from the littles. But we ultimately decided that the benefits far outweighed the griping, so we have stuck with it as a means to teach our kids to create their own fun and utilize their free time to exercise their brains.
*Also please note for the record, we are not afraid of BOREDOM for our kids, and feel that it actually teaches them a thing or two about life. I know that’s like a taboo thing for our kids to NOT be entertained 24/7 these days, but it doesn’t scare me anymore. If my kids are bored, bummer – mama ain’t their Cruise Director.
I don’t say anything of this pompously, it’s just what was needed for us at the time, and has consequentially served our family well.
However, I think it’s time for a change.
The other morning before school, as we were “comfortably” sitting in urgent care treating a routine morning baseball wound from some sibling fights, the nurse was making small talk with our oldest as she cleaned his wound, primarily as a distraction method. Somehow the subject of summer plans came up, and my oldest, very matter of factly (but not begrudgingly) said, “My mom has a rule that we aren’t allowed to watch screens in the summer. It’s annoying.” He wasn’t saying it to be a punk, and I recognized he was actually in a really vulnerable position being treated for a minor head wound, and so for whatever reason in that moment, I was able to receive his words. They weren’t directed at me. And they weren’t a complaint. He just was expressing a household rule that he wasn’t really a fan of.
And it made me stop and think.
Why had we originally cut screens in the summer?
Was this still working for our family?
I ultimately have come to the decision, that I think an absolute zero policy might not be the best, or most necessary thing for us anymore.
We have accomplished our original goal of cutting it. The kids are GREAT at creative play and regularly spend the bulk of their free time, outside just engaging in childhood summer boredom and games.
We also have officially graduated from a daily nap in our household (WHOA!) and thus the need for a set time in the middle of the day isn’t part of our daily routine anymore. We structure quiet time a little different now, and it oftentimes includes just restful reading outside on the deck or riding their bike solo along the backyard paths.
Ultimately, as I assess our family schedule, I want to make sure that it is serving us and not us serving it.
I believe that this practice is so important for mamas. Our job is to constantly be ensuring that we understand, and assess, the WHY of why we are implementing the rules. If your littles have changed, and that “family policy” no longer fits, then don’t be afraid, OR TOO PROUD, to gather your people and let them in on the potential need for a change.
It’s time for screen time to be added back in.
But not without a few strings attached.
Check back tomorrow for what our plan is going to be on re-adding screen time back into our daily routine (HINT: you gotta earn it!)