First, before we get to today's post, I wanted to let y'all know that THE ONE YOU CAN'T FORGET, book two in The Ones Who Got Away series, is now available! Thank you to all of you who have already bought it, grabbed it from your library, and/or reviewed it. I really appreciate it! And if you haven't gotten your copy yet, here's you're chance. :)
DEVICE-FREE SUMMER 2.0
Okay, on to the post. So if you've followed me for a while, you may remember that last year I embarked on an experiment with kidlet: a device-free summer. No iPad, no video games, no computers at all. The only screen allowed was TV watched as a family. Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous going into last summer because kidlet was VERY attached to his iPad and Xbox, and I was used to having that to help occupy him. But I felt in my gut it was what was best for him.
Turns out, it was way easier than I had expected and was a resounding success. I think it was truly one of the best things we could've done for all of us. It really did make a lasting impact. Not just with his level of calmness and creativity but also in very specific ways. For one, because kidlet didn't have devices, he took to his brand new guitar/rock band lessons with gusto. It became his new go-to thing to spend his time, and a year later, he's wowing me with his musical skills and his deep interest and love of music. The other day he sent me this audio file. He decided to try to learn Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" by ear. I know I'm his mom and am easily impressed by my kid, but he's 10 and doing this? That seems pretty darn cool to me.
And though we brought devices back during the school year, with limits (100 minutes a week), being on devices never took hold again. The iPad became dusty and mostly stayed in a drawer. He usually used his 100 minutes on the weekend to play NASCAR on Xbox or to watch YouTube videos about music. Devices became a small thing in his life. Honestly, this felt like a miracle compared to where we were. And the only negative side I observed was now he noticed how often most of the other kids are on devices or are overly focused on video games. It annoyed him and sometimes left him out of conversations about Pokemon, Minecraft, and the like. When I asked if it bothered him to not be able to follow those conversations, he just shrugged and said, I wish they could talk about other things, too. But it didn't bother him enough for him to use his device time minutes to delve into those games the kids were talking about. And he still has friends, so it wasn't a dealbreaker for friendships.
So this year, I really wasn't planning on a device-free summer because I felt like the device use was under control. But kidlet came to me mid-May and asked if we were doing device-free summer again. When I said that I wasn't sure, he said, "Can we?"
That shocked me. I asked him why he wanted to do it again. He told me that last summer was "fun" and he liked the activities we did. So he wanted the movie nights and board game playing and cooking with me and playing outside. There are so few parenting moments where you feel like you're getting something right, usually we're just hoping we're not totally screwing up, lol, but this was one of those mom pride moments that I'm going to hold onto. The whole experiment had worked. Devices had lost their hold on him, but more than that, he'd come to enjoy that old-fashioned family time. During the school year, things are so busy, that a lot of those activities fall off, and now summer feels like a special time to do those things with us.
Of course I couldn't say no to his request even though it hadn't been in my plan, so he's going device-free again. But he did have some caveats: he wants to be able to Facetime his grandparents and to use his Ipod to listen to music. Deal!
So that's where we are, we're doing it again. I've also decided to make an effort to slow down our summer some. We are typically overscheduled with camps and lessons and such. I'm feeling the stress of that and want to slow it down for all of us. But I'll need another post for that because this one is already long enough. ;) More to come!
In the meantime, if you missed last year's device-free summer posts, here are the details of what we did, how we did it, and how it all went.
- A Screen-Free Summer for Kidlet: How, Why, & If I'll Lose My Mind
- The 10-Day Update
- 5 Week Update on Screen-Free Summer
- The End of Our Screen-Free Summer: Results and Moving Forward
- The After-Effects of Our Device-Free Summer
What plans do you have for this summer?