SUMMERTIME IS HERE!  Most of us wait all year for this – and by most of us I mean our children!  Trips to the beach, summer nights around a bonfire, water parks and fun is what I had in mind for my summer.

For those of us who work from home or just have chores or errands to do, we want to utilize that screen time wisely: to keep the kids quiet/entertained while we check off our to-do list without a series of questions or an extended verbal update on their Minecraft worlds.

But it can be a little easy to let that screen time extend and slide into minutes… hours… oh the blessed quiet.  It can also be hard when the weather is nasty to coax the kids off the screens onto… what? 

My younger kids can be convinced to draw or go to the library.  For older kids, it can be more challenging, especially if you have a teen who is hard to impress.  

I do use technology to limit their access.  The Shaw Blue Curve app is super easy to use and gives you a LOT of power to wield as you can shut off wifi at the touch of a button!  MWA HA HA!  

But then I’m a sucker and a softie.  We recently moved and I feel a bit guilty for taking away their real-life social network. If my kids want to message their friends with iMessage, or listen to music, or teach themselves to play the ukulele – I will turn it back on (and usually forget to turn it back off).

I’m not THAT soft.  There are rules and chores to be done daily, and I usually come up with a nice big one every few days (I made them clean out my van last night). But I loathe setting up reward systems and managing everything that comes with that!  In my house, whether it’s my style or theirs, these systems just don’t run as smoothly. I have a houseful of kids with strong debate skills and honestly they do wear me down, so shout out to the bold and the beautiful parents out there who can manage and maintain a task system.

On the other hand, as my friend Rachel points out, they are under a lot of pressure doing homework, sports and school all year round – this is their downtime.  Amanda pointed out that this is the norm for kids now. At 14 I was doing some babysitting but other than that, prank calling people, hanging out in parks and food courts – and we weren’t necessarily playing Uno.  

In our house I have the younger kids in a few camps throughout the summer, and my older son is doing some volunteering at day camps and events.  So I feel, as many do, it is all about BALANCE. And of course, modelling good behaviour! My kids love to say “WELL THEN WHY ARE YOU ON YOUR PHONE?”, and I definitely try to self-monitor my own time.  

Join the conversation on our social media channels and let us know how you manage the screen time, or other, more wholesome ways to keep the kids busy and making memories all summer!