The Family Meeting

Without a big trip to occupy us this summer, I knew there would be a lot of down time.  We are all screen addicts of one kind or another, so I decided to hold a family meeting to talk about what that would look like.

So now I will experience screen time while I blog about restricting screen time.  Drowning in hypocrisy.

I was googling ideas for summer TV rules and came across this excellent blogpost about summer screen time rules that starts off like this:

"The shift to summer always requires a family meeting. Dave and I talked, wrote a list, and called it. Why? Basically, we want to reduce (or eliminate) nagging. Dave and I don't want to nag the kids, and we don't want the kids nagging us. We want self-starters consumed by big projects for long stretches of time.

We don't want to waste the summer to gaming and TV and screens.
We want our kids to take off on some BIG bad-ass projects.
We want them to work.
We want them to take responsibility for stuff.
We want them to have goals for themselves.
We want them to read, exercise, eat right...
We need help cooking and cleaning and tending ..."

I could have written this myself, but I didn't.....but it describes my thoughts exactly.  We (I won't lie, I made most of the list myself with some input from Luis and very little from the kids) made a list of topics to talk about at our family meeting which would be help while we were  captive audience in the car on the way home from New York.

From our list we (mostly me and Luis) came up with these family guidelines:

Summer 2013

Screen Time:  No screens until 3:30.  Ipods turned in at night.
Bed Time:  3 nights a week, in by 9:00.  Other nights in by 10:00.  Sleepovers till 12:00.  May read in bed.
Dinner dishes:  Kids do it together 3 x week
Reading goal:  3 novels and 1 family book study
Math goal: Skill sharpener due Fridays
Meal panning:  Everyone takes a week.  Budget, plan, and help parent prepare.

©       If you use the last of the OJ take out a new one.
©       One cup rule.  Just one.
©       Hands off the AC.  Stand in front of a fan if you are hot. Kids charged $6 if they touch the AC.
©       Participate in family activities.
©       Be kind.

ü  Make something
ü  Clean something
ü  Build something
ü  Ride something with wheels
ü  Do yoga
ü  Go to the beach
ü  4th Friday gallery nights
ü  Badminton
ü  Board games
ü  Movie night
ü  Play in the woods
ü  Arboretum
ü  Call a friend

The list was written over Father's day weekend, I started this post July 5. It's now July 15 and I am finally posting, but hey, I don't get a lot of screen time these days because yes, the rules apply to everyone and it's hard to get computer time with only one in the house when its being taken over every night by Minecraft addicts.   How's it going so far?  Well, 2 weeks ago I had at least one begging every hour, and another trying to sneak around under bed covers with an ipod.  The only way I could break the screen habit was to hide the remotes, HDMI cord, modum cord,and ipods.   It's like breaking a habit.  We all turn to a screen when we can't think of something immediately satisfying to do.  Like the author of that blog "We want the kids to wake up and feel the stretch of the day before them, and their imaginations have to fill it."

Since it has been a month I have to say the begging is getting less and I got smart and just pull the modum cord every morning.  My son proudly announced he was finishing his third book of his summer and we actually went to the library so my daughter could get a second Hunger Games book.

Each kid has successfully taken a week of dinner planning.  Maya planned a week of all the old standbys I normally cook.  Jack decided on meals inspired by TV shows.  The only one I had to edit was the goose he wanted to cook in honor of Arrested Development.  We decided on a rotisserie chicken instead.

A month into it, the math goal has progressed from all out crying to mild complaints about how no one else's parents make them do math in the summer.  And the bed times, lets just say we are working on that one.  After all, there's a lot of screen time to make up for.

Stay tuned for posts about planned summer projects:  The Family Book Study, or How to Make Your Kids Hate You and Building a Cornhole Set, or How to Achieve the Greatest Number of Arguments  in 3 Easy Steps.  See you there!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I love it...but I'm sure others do not. ;-) Want to hear all about the books particularly. I'm reading Anne Tyler's "The Amateur Marriage" because it was the only non-crime mass paperback at the beach house when I finished "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt". Will be picking back up Hossieni's book when I get home.