By Lia Blanchard
Spring Break is tricky for any family that doesn’t have the funds to travel or spend every day exploring nearby attractions. So why in the world would I decide on a “screen-free Spring Break” this year? No TV, computers, tablets, or cell phones, or anything else with a display screen.
To make it even more interesting, I am a full-time single parent who runs a business out of the home. When the kids are not in school, I often find it very difficult to work. So again – why in the world would I take away their screen time??
Because I feel the need to. I just do. And that’s reason enough.
I have three sons; one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. My challenge is to find things to do that keep them all occupied; some practical, some fun, some done together, some individually, but all engaging.
Here’s my plan:
Household projects and homework are the key here. Long term homework projects will be worked on, as well as indoor and outdoor projects that the kids are capable of doing – mowing the lawn, replacing a shower head, hanging some photos. Some of these chores are things they love to do and others not so much, but they know that the work is needed and appreciated, and they take pride in being able to make a valuable contribution to the family.
Not everything is chores and homework! We plan to take a family bike ride, take the dog to the dog park, and do some “practice camping” in the backyard to prep for the summer. They are planning to run a “restaurant” one night too – inviting a few guests over for a dinner prepared with a menu, fancy tablecloths and the works. I really like that idea; the planning and organizing will require not only a fair amount of time, but working together; plus I won’t have to cook that night!
Kids need unstructured down time too. Down time without screens will, I hope, get the boys to think about what they feel like doing, discover a little bit about themselves – especially if the weather is nice and they go outside. I’m also hoping they pick up the phone – the landline – and call a friend.
The Tricky Part
As technology advances, “screen time” becomes less passive. If my goal is to keep the boys moving, should I let them play “Let’s Dance” on the Wii if it’s raining outside? Should I allow my shutterbug son to bring his iPhone on our family bike ride because I know he enjoys taking nature shots?
My answer, for just this week, is no. Just for the week, we’ll forego even “lean-forward” media. Because I feel the need to.
What is your plan for Spring Break this year? If you’ve already had your Spring Break, did you have a plan? If so, how did it go?