Hi y'all! It's been while, lol. I've been in full lockdown mode finishing book 2 of The Ones Who Got Away series. I'm happy to report that the book is DONE and turned in!!!! This one won't be out until next year, but man am I happy to type The End. This book fought me a lot and it took a while for the characters to fully "talk" to me (yes, writers are crazy), but now I can happily send them on the way to my editor. Yay!
So, in order to get the book done by deadline and partly inspired by kidlet's screen-free summer, I went on a social media fast and let the blog and newsletter rest for a while. The fast has been restorative and has given me a lot to contemplate about how I want to interact with social media going forward (more on that soon!) but I can assure you that the blog and newsletter are here to stay. : )
Now, I thought what I'd focus on today is what many of you have contacted me about separately: the screen-free summer experiment we're doing with kidlet. If you missed the first post or the 10-day update, click on those links to see them. But basically, for the summer, we decided to have kidlet go without his iPad and video games. Also, there have been no computers. The only screens allowed have been television shows and movies.
I'm thrilled to report that this experiment has gone so much better than I could've ever anticipated! It's been one of the best decisions we've ever made. And way less painful than I imagined it would be. Kidlet is happier, more engaged, more creative, and more playful. His entire mood has been delightful, and we've spent much more family time together. His motor tics have also improved. We've also had none of the angry outbursts/rudeness we used to have when it was time to get off devices.
It's also changed the way he thinks about the devices. Last week, I had a tough moment. I was on one of the last days of deadline. I needed to finish my book if I wanted to have a week to revise. But kidlet had to come home early from camp because he was a little sick. My husband was out of town and I needed to work, so I needed something for kidlet to do. I caved and told him that for one hour, we'd put screen-free summer on pause and he could play with his iPad so that I could get my book finished.
Well, kidlet took the iPad. When I checked on him a little while later, he wasn't playing games or watching videos. He'd taken it downstairs to make a movie of himself giving a guitar lesson (he's taking electric guitar lessons this summer.) Then he came into my office about thirty minutes in and gave me the iPad. "I'm done, mom. I don't feel like playing with this. I'm going to go play with my cars in my room."
Yeah. That happened. (Cue shock and then a victory dance by me.) The spell had been broken.
So that thirty minute span was the only time we've veered off course in 5 weeks and he ended up just using to do something creative and then was over it.
And I'm not saying all this to be like--oh, look how awesome my kid is. (Well, he is, but that's not the point.) I'm sharing the story because this was a kid who played IPad or video games daily for hours if allowed. He was obsessed. And now, he's uninterested.
I have to say I'm having a similar experience with the social media fast I've been through the last 3 weeks. I'm not feeling like I really want to jump back in, at least not how I had been. Stepping away from things really does break a habit cycle and give you perspective. (I'll go into more of what I've been doing in another post.)
But for those keeping up or trying a screen-free summer too, here are some of the activities we've been doing: