Summer camp and out-of-town vacations were not on our schedule for this year’s school break. Being a mom who is allergic to the sun, many of our activities have been indoor ones during the hottest months in Florida. As a gamer myself, it would be really easy to have the kids feed their Minecraft addiction which would allow me to take care of my Candy Crush one. That doesn’t sit well with me though and we have worked hard to find a balance as parents with the children and their video games.
I have seen several moms on Facebook asking how other mothers are handling the same situation, so I thought I would share how things work in our home.
You may have seen our Chore Charts and that is how our day begins.
After breakfast and teeth brushing, everyone has to do the same things: Make Their Beds and Read. My oldest is 12 and he reads for an hour while the 8-year-old twins read for 30 minutes each. Do they actually read for their full time? No. They will talk, watch Sweetie the kitty play or just mess around for part of the time. As long as they read for the bulk of the time, I’m good. Sadly, none of my kids inherited my love for books and getting them to immerse themselves in the words is only accomplished through the bribe of earning gaming time by doing it.
In the beginning of the summer, they got to choose the reading material but they kept choosing ones under their grade level and the ones they’ve read a million times before. I learned to pull 5 to 7 off the shelf that I wanted them to read and having them choose from those. It allows them to retain a certain amount of control but within the parameters I set. Then we struggled with them *not liking* their choice and many of them left unfinished. We are working on that with rewards for ones completed.
Most of the time I skim the pages they did and ask questions to make sure there was a certain level of comprehension. For the most part, they do great but if they miss three questions then the rule is that they have to read it again.
After reading, they finish the rest of their chore list which changes daily. For Monday, my oldest son had the computer area and their closet. My daughter has the two dressers and floor area of their bedroom. There are usually are stuffed toys and a bunch of rubber bands from the Rainbow Loom. Her twin brother has the bathroom and under the bed. My oldest has the bathroom over the weekend, so Monday is the easiest day for that chore. All of them have a tendency to shove things under the bed for a quick fix so adding that to the chore list helped curb that a lot.
The chores are switched up every day so no one has the same one two days in a row during the week.
Once they are done with their morning routine, then they each have earned one hour of game time either on the Xbox, Wii or computer. Right now, they are all into Minecraft on the PC so they wait to take turns.
I don’t normally push them to get those things done by any particular time. If they choose to wait until after lunch to read, then they also wait to play.
For a second turn, we are using the Summer Bridge workbooks for our Summer Home School this year. Depending upon behavior, they will do one or two days of worksheets. If there is time for a third turn, they can draw for thirty minutes using one of the several art books we have geared towards kids.
We will switch it up and do crafts or different kinds of workbooks, but they always have to do something non-technological that still uses their brains.
I also encourage them to do 30 minutes on the Wii Fit every day. Not to earn time or to be used as technology time, but just to make sure they stay active with exercise even on the days when we don’t get out.
On Saturdays, their reading/workbook times are cut in half and Sundays are free days.
How do you find the balance during the summer months with your children and video games?
xoxo ~ Melissa