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  • Writer's pictureScott Behson

School’s Out For Summer! (on the mixed blessing of school vacation for working parents)

School summer vacation can be a great time for downtime. But this extra time can also be too much of a good thing, leading to too much screen time for both dads and kids. I need your help!

This summer, I want to spend time doing this...

This summer, I want to spend more time doing this…

I’m technically not employed by FDU for the summer (although I always have class prep and, of course, writing to do). So, I am so incredibly lucky to be home to share the summer with Nick. Nick just ended third grade (where does the time go!), and Amy’s both rehearsing a show and directing a youth theater program. Nick will be going to a local camp from 9-3 on Tuesdays through Thursdays and has gymnastics on Monday and Friday afternoons. This means lots more me-and-Nick time, which is 95% awesome, with a small downside.

and this...

and this…

Nick and I share one vice- the siren song of the computer/tablet screen. It will be deceptively easy for Nick and me to slide into the pattern of:

  1. Nick comes home from a busy day at camp (art, swimming, tag, etc.) and needs some downtime on Clash of Clans (which has now replaced Minecraft as the obsession du jour).

  2. So, I take a few minutes to respond to a few emails, edit the latest blog post, check and work on the book proposal.

  3. Aaack, two hours have passed!

and less time doing this!

and less time doing this! HELP!

I have a few ideas about how to prevent this, but I’d like to solicit your help and advice.

My ideas so far:

  1. Once I drop Nick off at camp, drive straight to the library or a Panera or a Starbucks to work, instead of coming home and (probably) procrastinating. That way, I get through almost all of my stuff before he gets home

  2. Work out “no screen hours” with Nick, say 4-6 every day

  3. Develop a new hobby or regular ritual– like an evening bike ride- to do most nights

  4. …and , that’s literally all I’ve got…

So, please share your best ideas with me on how to prevent my son and me from “screen-sucking”- wasting valuable dad-and-son time staring at our respective glowing rectangles.

How do you check yourself when you find work time encroach on family time? Any tips to share? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

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