Ah yes, the day all of us parents have been waiting for, the last day of school. No more lunches to make, or repeating ourselves many times over to get dressed, brush teeth or we will be late mornings. I love this time of year, to see all of my kids accomplishments, watching them move forward into the next grade. But what I don’t love is how lazy they get over the summer. We find socks in the oddest of places; toothpaste covering the sink, going to the pool is considered their bath. (Ok that’s our fault). Every summer I say we will use less technology and be more present and mindful. I think this year might be the year.
My oldest is going into the sixth grade and has two homework assignments he has to complete over the next two months before the first day of school. As a mom, I love every minute of that. It will keep his mind fresh so he doesn’t start the school year having to relearn everything he did by the end of fifth grade. This is my motivation for both of my kids to use less technology and spend more time connecting to each other, outside, and us.
See, kids need healthy boundaries. In my experience they thrive when limitations are set. I see more and more kids running their parents lives, than the other way around. When I was growing up I had a bedtime every night and there was a routine. I had to eat what was made for me, clean up after myself, etc. The list goes on. So as a parent I do the same for my kids, they eat well, they have a bedtime every night, even on weekends and we limit their time on technology. But during the summer, this all changes. I need to do a better job at keeping the boundaries in place that we set over the school year. Usually we let them stay up later, play on their iPads longer or without limitation and I see now that it is not the healthiest thing for them. I don’t beat myself up about it and I know a lot of parents who do the same thing as us. But, what if we can work to change how much time they are spending on technology to more time connecting?
It firsts starts with us as parents by putting down our phones when our kids are in the room. Second, it’s about slowing down by taking walks together and exploring what the world has to offer even in our own back yards. It is also about being a parent and not a friend. Sure do I want my kids to tell me everything and call on me for when they need help? Yes. But if I am their friend then I am not giving them boundaries. Parent first, friend second. I hope all of you who are reading this can join me in being more present this summer with your kids. I want them to grow up remembering all of the fun times we had enjoying each other and not what level they completed on Minecraft.
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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