For the last few weeks of summer break, we've been fortunate to have the kids at home full time. They had been going to a local day camp that had been perfectly wonderful for them the last 2 years. This year, something was different and they didn't enjoy it nearly as much. We reached a point where they were both begging to not have to go. It's summer camp - it's supposed to be fun. It's not a requirement like school. So we pulled them out, rearranged schedules, found a wonderful nanny - presto!
But that also means they've had way way way more access to the TV, video games, the iPod, the DS3. Thankfully, our nanny has been wonderful about taking them to do things. They go to the park, the library, SkyZone (trampoline place), and so on. But there is still a good amount of TV and gaming that goes on.
And I haven't felt much need to limit it too much, honestly. It's summer break. And for the first time in their lives, my kids haven't had to get up early and be out the door and have lunches and bags packed and go go go. They've been able to actually take a summer break. So they might watch too much TV or play too many video games. That's ok for a couple of weeks.
But now school is quickly approaching and we have to get our habits back in check.
During the school year, the rule is no screens before school. It is too difficult to get everyone up and ready if the TV comes on. And there is limited time in the evening for TV. This year, they will be allowed to watch a small amount of TV to unwind when they get home and then it will be homework time, play time, create time, read time, family time. Get everything done on time, and we can end the evening with a show.
But how to transition... and how to make sure that Saturdays don't then became nothing but a black hole of TV watching and Minecraft playing?
That's when I happened upon this awesome post from Narrowback Slacker. It was floating around Facebook and I fell in love with the idea. There is a list of things that have to get done - once the list is done, screen time can be unlimited. This makes me happy because I know they've read and played and been creative and taken care of important things. This makes them happy because they get an awesome reward - unlimited screen time.
The timed stuff like reading? That can be broken up. Read for 10, brush your teeth, read for 10, eat breakfast, read for 10, get dressed. Or all at once. Same for play time. Break it up or all at once. Your choice. Just as long as the list is done *before* any screens are turned on!
I didn't put certain chores on the list. Teagan unloads the dishwasher and has started to do dishes. Both kids are expected to put away any clean laundry that I've folded (some days, they have to fold it on their own). But chores are expected to get done when they need to be done. Sometimes the dishwasher runs overnight so it needs to be unloaded in the morning. Sometimes we run it in the morning so it would need to be unloaded in the evening. I don't have consistent daily chores for my kids - it's just not how we roll.
Once school has started again, this will be our weekend/days off rule. On school days, we'll have a different pictoral list that the kids use to get themselves ready and to complete needed activities each evening.