Digital Summer for Families

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run ~

Ah, Kenny Rogers…so wise 😉 Truth be told, ‘How to play the hand’is a question for all of us.

Parents/caretakers, you and I hold similar cards with “screen time, ” and we’re all-in. Digital life is definitely a part of summer fun, & something worth planning for. Are you ready!?

As kids grow more independent and capable, assertive in their own right, every season looks different from the previous, and this conversation does too. I’m learning my way through tween-&-teenage years right now, and digital independence is a hot topic in our home. Shared perspective isn’t very easy at this stage. (not that it ever really was…but sometimes I think we need an interpreter. Ha, just kidding {?} Anyone relate? 🙂

Screen bargaining makes for a stressful home, so we need clarity from the start. With that said, I’ve come up with a few ideas (sharing here for comradery). Thinking it through was my first step. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What works for you?

Create a plan.

It’s going to be worthwhile. In your home, what are everyone’s

thoughts about healthy boundaries with technology?

Communicate the plan and Commit.

Our kids and everyone who is going to be taking care of them should have clear expectations this summer. (Surprises aren’t fun when it comes to this.)

Support the plan.

What are the consequences if boundaries are crossed? Are you going to give more

time or freedom for chores or other things?

4 Steps to a Safe Digital Summer || F A M I L I E S

Digital Freedom | Apps | Downloads | Media

(Saying yes, no, and maybe so…)

  • What kinds of digital activity are you allowing for your kids? Why?

  • How do your kids ask for new apps or games? (Can they approve downloads themselves, or do you talk about it first?)

  • What filters/screen-monitoring do you have in place?

  • Do you have strong passwords for the internet, Youtube, and other social media? (Guys, this is a really big deal. There is a lot of support surrounding this need.)

  • How much time is given to gaming vs. productivity when they are on screens? (Technology can be advantageous in so many ways. That’s easy to forget when you’re young and free of commitments.)

  • What kinds of purposeful things can technology be used for this summer? (What are your kids interested in? What kind of apps do they want to download? Is there a real-life skill they could be building on here? Summer is a good time to get to know each other better and encourage individuality.)

Technology At Home

(ClearExpectations)

  • What kind of time restrictions do you have for screen use? Or –‘’What do you want them to be?” might be the better question. (I know it is for me.)

  • Can your kids earn more time, or less, based on attitude or helpfulness? (This sounds like some kind of Pinterest idea that I never got to when my kids were younger. The charts and stickers and all of that was intimidating to keep up with. Why does it have to be so elaborate? It doesn’t!)

  • How are expectations at home communicated? (Do or don’t do a chart. We’re all different. What works for you?)

  • Where do devices go when they aren’t in use? Do you have a charging station or something like that?

  • A written plan | “Technology Contract”  I’ve always thought the idea of a family contract for screens is a good idea. It’s never too late to start! Instead of being discouraged that we never did, our family’s going to begin this summer. There are a ton of ideas for how to do this. {I’ll be posting mine on the blog soon! – because that’s my accountability to get it done.} Do you have one for your family?

Technology Away From Home

(Trust, Limits, & Reason)

  • What kind of networking are your kids doing when they are with friends, a team, or other childcare?

  • Have you communicated internet safety enough with your kids? Do they know when something isn’t safe or appropriate? (With so many different family values and spectrum of choices, what kind of foundation do they stand on?

*Sleepovers are a big part of this. I’ve read plenty of articles, even one is enough, about first time & ongoing exposure to pornography, pedophilia, or bullying at sleepovers. When we send our kids off to stay with someone else, there needs to be peace of mind here! I felt really inspired after reading this post by Monica Swanson. I’m working on some ideas for our family in this area. Communication between parents is a super big must.

Technology Role Modeling

(Actions vs. Words)

It’s one thing to set limits for the kids, but how about us? Eek. I’m so convicted. Can I shut it all off in a moment’s notice? We’re telling our kids to get outside and curbing their screen habits, but what about ours? In a perfect world, I’d be self-controlled here. I’d set aside limited time each day for technology. I think we all would.

Our kids will be watching us this summer, taking cues about how we manage time. (It’s honestly one of the greatest challenges for me as a parent.) But that’s not a bad thing. It’s ok when our kids see us struggle here. Maybe it gives them a chance to support us too!

I know that having a plan for all of this is going to make summer a lot more fun, and that’s what it’s all about! Counting down the days now:)

As always, thank you for joining here!
Together we thrive~

Ayme

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Summertime Parenting (You Got This!)

Whenever school breaks approach, parents have to up their game. Suddenly, there’s a load of free time to manage. And we need a solid plan. Summer is currently making it’s way. And I’ve got a range of emotions. I’m sure you do too. A little nervous, hopefully excited, but also maybe a bit scared! (ha)

This time of year can be the best for our kids, and us, but the right approach is key. ‘How should we manage all this free time?’ Also, some of us might be thinking, ‘Lord, keep me sane.’

I was going to write this post as a lead for creative ideas. But I don’t think that’s what we need anymore. Instead, let’s focus on you.

In this journey of life, and parenthood, unrealistic goals are among a list of things pecking at our joy. It’s easy to get distracted, tempting to compare. And in the mix, we forget this simple truth. Every family has strengths & weaknesses that do not parallel others. Yours. Mine. — The dynamics of each home are uniquely knit. And in this place you dwell, YOU are the sharpest commander. How can you own it? –  “like a boss” – as my kids say.

The best starting point for summer planning, for all of us, is honest and true home connection. As parents, each of us is best fit for this job. No one can replace you. No one else can piece together a better summer than Y-O-U.

I encourage you to take a close look at your kids before you make any plans. Halt the camp sign-ups, the summer sports team registration, and everything else. How can you use this time to meet your kids right.where.they.are? I’m doing the same.

A few thoughts to get us started…

  • What are my child’s strengths and interests?

  • What has my child been struggling with this year?

(Ok, stop right there. If we can’t answer these questions, we really just need to go get an ice cream with them and hang out!) Here are a few more for later…

  • What types of things show love to my child? (Have you read about love languages? It’s amazing how different out needs can be!)

  • Does my child prefer to spend time at home or outside?

  • How can I support my child in building healthy friendships?

  • How can I encourage my child toward independence?
  • How can I connect with my child?

  • What does my child need to improve with before their next school year?

  • What types of values do I want to encourage while my child is at home?

I know this post isn’t focused on technology, and obviously that’s what this blog is really about. But without connection and relationship, any conversation about technology is loosely gripped. What are your thoughts about managing screen time in the summer months? I’ll share mine soon.

Together We Thrive! ~ Ayme