Has anyone else started to forget what day or month it is? With COVID-19 throwing our usual routines out the window, the kids are starting to get antsy. Kids need guidance and boundaries to feel safe and understand that rules are still in force. This is a good time to set wake-up times so everyone is up and out of bed by a reasonable hour, implement additional chores, and enforce homework expectations. It’s also time to engage them in family activities that will create great memories and help them manage their screen time so they don’t start bad habits.
Create memories with family activities
Time spent together as a family in a time of uncertainty is important. Here are some ideas to keep your kids engaged and help maintain a healthy mix of work and play.
- Pizza night—Get the family around the table with a pizza dough recipe written out and the ingredients easily accessible. Then let everyone make their own dough and top the dough with their pizza topping choices. Once each pizza is cooked, do a taste test and allow each family member to vote for the pizza they like the most. Whoever wins is official Pizza King or Queen of the family. You could even have a prize available.
- Make a time capsule—For this activity, each family member should collect a few small things that represent what is important to them now. Place all of the items in a box or another container and hide it away or bury it in the back yard.
- Take a virtual tour—Here is a list of Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, and theme parks you can tour without leaving the house!
- Create a family bucket list—After dinner sit down and make a list of what each person in the family wants to do. Make the list long and unattainable, then when everything is on the list, vote, as a family, for the top 10 items that will remain and are to be completed in the next (insert attainable timeframe).
- Create a family vision board for the summer to come—This is a similar concept to the bucket list but should include short-term activities that can be completed this summer.
- Have an ice cream bar/movie night—This activity needs some prep, of course. Go to the store and get everyone’s favorite ice cream and several toppings. Rent, or dig out, everyone’s favorite movie. Lay out all the toppings, ice cream, and bowls. As a family create the best ice cream sundaes ever, then vote on which movie you will watch. Grab your ice cream, maybe some popcorn, and watch away.
- Host a family talent show—To host a talent show, set up a Zoom conference with friends and family, where everyone must show up with an act! Any act is a good act. Someone will need to be the announcer of the evening. Prior to beginning the show, the announcer, and only the announcer, should have a list of everyone’s names and acts. He or she will order the list and share it with everyone. The announcer will then introduce each act in order. Acts can take any form and can include any number of people. Everyone wins with this activity, which is sure to create fun memories.
- The Adventure Challenge Book is an adventure scratch-off book. When you want to do a family activity you grab the book, search through until you find one that matches your allotted time, space and cost and scratch it off to see what adventure your about to take! This is a paid activity but makes for some great family fun.
Help manage screen time with “tech tickets”
Now that you’ve got some ways to make great memories let’s see if you can do something about the battle over screen time. One way to get a handle on your kids’ screen time is to make it their decision when and how they choose to use their screen time. Create “tech tickets” that they can turn into you when they want to do something that involves a screen.
How does it work? You can create the rules, but here is some guidance to get you started.
- Give them ten tickets on a Sunday (any day will do; just keep it consistent)
- Each ticket is worth 30 minutes of screen time
- Mom and dad can refuse the ticket
- Mom and dad can award extra tickets
- Tickets may not be used at certain times (like after bedtime or during family time.
- If one child uses a ticket to watch television and another sits down to watch along, the other must turn in his or her ticket too.
I personally exclude the need to turn in a ticket during family time because this can be an opportunity to make memories. We don’t want them to opt out of that!
Another option is to have a list “no tech time until.” For example:
No screen time until you have…
- …finished your homework.
- …played outside for an hour.
- …completed one chore.
- …picked up your toys.
Keep in mind that screen time can be used productively. Here are some free and low-cost educational app options your kids will love.
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