Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summertime....and the living is....

just not as easy for me as I'd like.

I spend most of my time running along the seesaw, back and forth between these two trains of thought:
"Just let the kids enjoy themselves and quit fretting over how much time they spend dorking around on the computer/video games"
"So help me g*d I am going to light all the technology in this house ON FIRE if they don't find something else to do."

I've written about how I very much need the schedule of days dictated to me by school or work or children's naps, something....anything....outside of myself, otherwise I sort of bumble around.

These two weeks of summer have felt like this:

See, that is what happens to my sense of humor with too much unscheduled time.

I took the time to make a very detailed schedule for each child with 1/2 hour increments allotted for activities of their choosing.  If they wanted to do something for an hour, like play Legos, that is fine, but limits on screen time.  That lasted about 2 days before I realized that it is impossible to plan a schedule when my kids wake up at all different times of day....from 6:00 am to 9:30 am.   And mom cannot be expected to follow a schedule when she wakes at 6:00 am, but her coffee doesn't fully kick in until sometime around 8:30.  I can do many things, but coordinating 4 different schedules for 4 different people is out of my range of skills.

So then, I tried making a more general schedule, with the times of 10-12 being screen-free and 1-4 being screen-free.  But this system posed more questions and stress.  Like, we are sometimes out of the house from 9-11, so do the kids forfeit their one hour or do I add another hour and make screen time until 1?  And how does this affect lunch?  And if it rains all day, then having endless hours of no screens might be impossible (for me, I mean, because my kids aren't terribly good at entertaining themselves without pestering the heck out of me).

Two schedules, neither of which work very well, which has me sorta just wanting to throw up my hands and say "forget it."

And maybe that is what I should do....

Maybe I should just really lower my expectations of what I think my kids should do during summer?   I'm not a very good judge of whether my own expectations are realistic and actually achievable or so strenuous and pie-in-the-sky as to result in my hospitalization if I continue trying to push the impossible.

Would it be the end of the world to just stop fretting over this junk?  Would I then be able to be around my children in a state of semi-enjoyment rather than semi-anxiousness because I "should" be having them do other more productive things with their time?

Because right now I have thoughts like this:
"Last week I took the kids to 2 different parks for playtime and a botanical garden with friends and the pool once, but I really should have N and G select an author and have them compose a letter to said writer, and make them do a math skills website, and N should really work on learning a new song on piano."  Stew, stew, stew, stomach discomfort, blergity-blerg.

Or maybe I should just think thoughts like this:
"Hmmmm, this week I WANT to go blueberry picking and to the pool and get to the gym at least once.  And unless the kids tell me something specific they want to do, I'm going to just let them do whatever, provided it doesn't involve alcohol, knives and/or pedophile midgets."

It is like fundamentally changing my entire personality to think such things.
But perhaps I should try anyway?


Giselle said...

I always struggle with this as well. But then when I give in to the technology free for all, Michael turns into a sociopathic maniac. He wants to do computers all the time, but his behavior suffers greatly.

So we are doing what we did during the 10 snow days. No computer games during school hours. So at 9 am they get turned off (no matter what time they wake up) and they can come back out again at 4pm. This summer there will be a rain for all on rainy days.

It worked really well on those snow days. Summer break doesn't start over here until tomorrow, so we'll see how it works for the entire summer.

Julie M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie M. said...

I'm so glad to hear my kids aren't the only ones that become psychotic with too much screen time!

We have a very rudimentary "schedule," with limited screen time. They have a list of things to do each day and can do them at any time and in any order: read, play outside, chores, be creative (art, pretend play), music practice, etc.

But some days you just have to say "screw it" and let them do whatever, even if their eyes are on a screen all day.

Kelsey said...

I'm also trying to figure out a summer schedule or how to limit screens. When we're in town Harper is going to have a couple of hours of drop-in dance classes each week and Michael is always allowed to play his DS when he has to sit through that.

We joined a pool this summer, it's not part of a neighborhood association. That simplifies things for me because we are going any afternoon/evening the weather cooperates - automatically. :-)