Summer will be here in just a few weeks and by summer, I mean both kids will be out of school! When I was in college, I was a summer nanny for 2 kids in Squirrel Hill. Mom and dad were both professors at a local college and had only 1 rule. The rule was: NO TV UNLESS IT WAS RAINING. As the adult watching their children for 8-9 hours a day, I thought that this was a ridiculous rule. How was I to have any down time when we couldn't watch TV? Don't get me wrong, I was a good nanny. We played lots of games, went on hikes and did as many outdoor activities as we could. BUT. Come. On, Just a little break. Thankfully I made it through the summer with my sanity.
Years went by and I frequently thought about that horrible rule and those poor children. How sad that they couldn't take a break in the middle of their day and watch a movie or their favorite show. Then, we had our son.
Let me start off by saying that my husband is fully supportive of any crazy or educational rules I put into effect in our house as long as they don't pertain to him. At one point in time, I asked to have our cable turned off for the summer and the poor guy almost had a heart attack. How would he watch baseball?!?!
When BooBooChicken started to get older, I enacted the 'No TV in the summer" rule. Who would have thought. I mean, my heart went out to those TV deprived children so many years ago and now here I was doing the same thing to my children. Guess what. It's one of the best parenting decisions that we have made. By letting them watch TV, I am depriving them of all the amazing things that the last few generation of kids don't seem to enjoy any more. Think of all the cool stuff we did when we were little. I vividly remember building forts (using butter knives to cut down little limbs) , playing kickball until the street lights came on, eating popsicles on the swing, lemonade stands and playing with matchbox cars in the dirt. Why on earth would I want my kids to miss out on all that awesomeness?
As tradition goes, the last week of school we sit down as a family and make a list (yes, I LOVE lists) of all the things that we could do this summer , with or without an adult. Our list has about 25 different activities. When the kids see that there are things that can be done WITHOUT turning on the TV or computer or video games, you won't hear the infamous "I'm bored. There is nothing to do." (As much)
- Build Blocks
- Play out back
- Pull weeds
- Ride bikes
- Go to the park
- Make up a story
- Dress Up
- Clean your room
- Dance party
I will say that this was NOT an easy transition. To help not lose my mind, we start to minimize the electronic/TV time in the house when spring arrives. Quitting cold turkey can be rough on everyone and can lead to you, the adult, giving in just to hear them stop complaining. During the week, the TV only comes on when all homework, activies and chores are done and not before 7pm. Now, keep in mind that I am a work from home mom so my preschooler does watch a little more than I would like her to but when I have to make phone calls, Daniel Tiger keeps her occupied. Once both kids are home, they can play/fight/interact with each other instead of watching TV.
During the summer, we will do a family movie night once a week and will do a movie if there is a sleepover too. Every once in a while, we let the kids play Wii and we do schedule computer time every day. (Khan Academy) After a few summers, the kids now anticipate NO TV Summer and always have new ideas for things to do.