When the previous school year ended in early June, our twelve-year-old son was as happy as any other kid. No more did he have to get up early to sit in an uncomfortable room listening to teachers’ lectures, taking tests, and doing class work. Then came the summer reading assignments, so he did those early on. He finally had two months completely away from everything school-related. Now, the new school year will begin very soon, which means the end of the summer fun. We decided to let him have more of his favorite electronic activities so he can enjoy his last few days of summer vacation in his own way.
We did not let our son sit on the couch watching television and playing video games for ten straight weeks. He completed his summer reading first. We then made sure that he exercised by playing outside with the neighborhood kids. We brought him on two vacations that included much outdoor activity. He brought friends to the swimming pools and water parks that we visited, and he roller skated and bowled with friends and family. He got his television and computer time at night after having mostly full days of physical activity.
Like many other kids, our son likes his electronics. We limited them most days so he would stay more active all summer long. Now that school begins again very soon, we decided to let him enjoy his television, video games, and computer during his final days off.
We let him catch up on the television shows that he missed while staying more active. We have a DVR, so while out, we let him record new and preferred episodes of his favorite television shows. They piled up, so he has enough to fill in a few days during his television time. He knows that once school begins, the television time limit resumes.
- Video games
Our son likes playing video games. Since he will have little video game time in a few more days, we let him play, and we will even join in some games with him. We play mainly sports and family-oriented games, and even though he destroys us almost every time, we have fun playing. We get to spend a little more time together this way before school begins.
Our son recently found an online game called Minecraft. This game (and others he plays) teaches him about earning and managing money by working jobs and buying and selling products. He must also build homes and businesses, so it is somewhat educational. He can spend an entire day on this game if we let him. Normally, we limit his computer use each day, but for his last few days off, we let him have much more time.
When school begins
Our son understands that when the new school year begins, the limits on his electronics return. The television stays off until he finishes his homework, the video games stay put away until the weekends, and the computer becomes a school tool rather than an online arcade. He will begin junior high this fall, which means more time devoted to homework and studies. He will also stay physically active by resuming sports after school on most days. He stayed active for most of his summer and even completed some academic work. For his final week off, however, we rewarded him by allowing him more time on his favorite electronic activities.
More from this contributor:
Keeping Our Son Occupied in the Car
Teaching Our Son Science in the Kitchen
Keeping Track of Our Son’s Grades