School is almost over and that means having the kids at home for almost 12 weeks. Summer camp isn’t really an option in this one-income household. With three kids, a week of camp for all three of them would be around $750. Around here, I can’t find a job making that kind of money, therefore I stay home and so do they. It’s not that we are too poor: it’s just a choice that made sense. This year we already plannend a vacation to the Netherlands, so there are ‘only’ 9 weeks of summer vacation left. With teenager, I foresee trouble. So this year I am proactive. I will call a meeting sometime this week and let them know my summer rules:
- Electronic devices: From now on, we are going to place the electronic devices in one spot, on chargers if needed, and they will only be used (or ‘checked’) after asking permission or during a ‘screen time moment’.
- Summer is a time to explore the outdoors. We will be outdoors as much as possible, whether it is playing, reading on the lawn, biking, hiking, fort building, shooting water guns.
- Island Explore. Remember these free buses? You are old enough to take the bus by yourself, especially if you are together. This means you have nearly unlimited possibilities to go to Sand Beach, Seal Harbor, the park, town. Use it!
- Screen time: we will limit the amount of screen time during the summer. Video gaming and other games on tablets, watching Youtube, checking email/Facebook (yes mama, this also counts for you!) are great indoor winter activities. Now we are supposed to be outside.
- Other activities: Summer is also a great time for doing all these activities that you never have time for during the school year. I am talking big Lego project, arts- and crafts, hut building, explore the outdoors. On rainy days, take a good look in your room and open a box you’ve forgotten about. Who knows what you’ll find. Magic cards, learn a new card game, check the board games we have and you’ve never played, making a puzzle, creating new things out of old things, etc.
- If you decide to have breakfast at 10 am and lunch at 3, I am going to try to be okay with that. If you feel like making pancakes, go for it. But guess what? Make sure you clean up everything that you use, including the counter and stove! Putting dishes in the sink, doesn’t count as cleaning. Rinse and place dishes in the dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher on occasion when you noticed it is all clean and done. No harm in getting the vacuum cleaner when you had a cereal spill. We all live in this house together, so we should all contribute to keeping it clean. When you use the last of something, whether it is toilet paper, cereal, bread, butter or cheese, write in on the board and let me know! Small effort, but creates a happy mama (and having a happy mama can be extremely valuable when you are in close proximity with her for 9 weeks)!
- Nothing in this world come free, my dears. Well, almost nothing. So when you think it is a good idea to make art with paper plates, then use the entire roll of tin foil and then use the expensive coffee cups you found, maybe you should ask before you act. I want you to have fun and be creative, but when you use the pasta to make a necklace, we might not have dinner that night. And if you use my food coloring for awesome spray painting on a white T-shirt, don’t be surprised that you will get a white frosted cake for your next birthday. Just ask, it’s that simple.
- Using the B-word. I know, you guys are growing up in a world where everything is on demand. Your attention span is shorter than that of a humming bird. Yet you have twelve weeks to slow your system down. To learn how to embrace free time, enjoy the day and world. Telling me you are …ugh here we go…bored will only result in a mad mama. Use your ‘bored’ time to figure out what you can do instead. Or just be ‘bored’: that’s doing something after all.
I’ll let you know how they perceive it and how successful I am in enforcing this. I am a little worried about not using my laptop that much. Maybe the designated spot for electronic devices should be…in my bedroom.