Now that we are into summer with no structure of school, and yet work for both Dave and me is still steady, I wanted to make sure the kids weren't just watching screens all day. So I put together a sort of task list for E to complete (and he usually has Q follow him around doing many of the same things) before he is allowed to play video games. It doesn't matter what order they are done, as long as they are completed. We have a chart on the wall to check them off. It's not fancy but it helps.
This is our first week trying it and for the first three days it has been pretty successful. Once he completes these things, they can watch TV or play games on the iPad. But they can't play for the rest of the day, just for a bit before Dave or I can take a break to take them to do something outside.
So here is what E (and sort of Q) have to do before video games/Netflix:
All of these:
Put breakfast dishes away
One from each category:
Physical Activity - examples:
Bike (E can ride his bike around the block by himself)
Education - examples
Math (IXL app)
Reading (Raz Kids app, French and English, or a real book)
Write in journal
Science (like trying an experiment)
Geography (my vision is that he will choose a place and do a bit of research on it, well see)
Chores - examples
Clean bathroom (he did the upstairs bathroom on Monday and the downstairs one on Tuesday and had lots of help from Q)
Plan a meal
(On Wednesday he brought the garbage bins back to the house, not an intensive chore but I said it counted)
Art - examples
On the first day they both drew murals on being pieces of paper.
E drew a "spider sun" and a big elephant.
On Wednesday, my mom painted a picture with E via FaceTime. He really enjoyed this, and so did Mom!
The thing about E is that he is often reluctant to do something and drags his feet but then when he's doing whatever it is, he's having a great time and really enjoys himself. I have to remind him of this often.
I do find the kids are much better behaved if the screen time has been limited. I think it really does drain them and causes more crankiness. When we went camping there was no iPad or Netflix the whole weekend, then as soon as got home, we let them watch TV while we unpacked the car, and then it was a fight to turn it off when it was time for bed. As much as the screens are saviours for keeping them entertained for awhile, they do seem to be the common denominator for arguments.
E came over while I as writing this and asked me to mention that there are no chores on Saturday and Sunday! So yes, that's correct :)
We have never been good at keeping up a routine for long, but we only need to get through this week and half of next week and then we are on vacation. I think we can manage for a total of 8 days.