Image credit pixabay.com
School is over, and summer is here. It’s very tempting to stay home, kick back and let the kids play Minecraft and Club Penguin. I, however, see it as the perfect opportunity for some family time. I want to share a story about family time and summer…
One summery afternoon, I decided to tempt my kids with an outing for ice cream and the park. It wasn’t easy to unplug them from their devices. In fact, it took some creative thinking and the help of their friends’ moms, but we did it. We scheduled to get together downtown at their favorite ice cream parlor. We applied some peer pressure, and they all came. As the last child was about to finish his cookies and cream with rainbow sprinkles, we managed to guide them to the adjacent park.
Five minutes didn’t pass before the first representative from the kids* appeared.
Kid: “This is too boring. I want to go home.”
Mom: “Your friends are here. Don’t you want to play with them a little?”
Kid: “I plan on doing that at home.”
Mom [surprised]: “How will you do that?”
Kid: “We all scheduled a Minecraft session.”
Mom [shocked but quickly snaps out of it]: “Let’s give it 15 more minutes of playing here, and we’ll see.”
Kid: “OK, 15 minutes – no more!”
Fifteen minutes passed, 20 minutes passed, and – SURPRISE! – no one came to complain. The kids were happy, playing, and engaging with their friends in their “new” world using sticks and rocks they found at the park; their virtual world waited for another day.
Apparently, the alternatives to electronics aren’t so boring; we just need to show our kids the way, give them a little push, and they will figure out the rest.
I know my children are fantasizing about this long Fourth of July weekend, when they plan to socialize with their electronic devices, but I have other plans for them. We will have to find a way to do both – engage in the real world and the virtual one!
I challenge you as well, during this holiday weekend: Go outside, barbecue (with no cell phone), take a bike ride, play in the park, go swimming, hike, play Monopoly at home, anything!!! Embrace family time – and please don’t forget to share your experience with us here!
In the meantime, be well and enjoy the summer!
* The kids in my story are 9 to 11 years old