Getting the House Ready for a Low-Tech Summer
Organize now for screen-alternative living this summer.
Big kids and little kids are naturally drawn to crafts so keep art supplies out in easy view all summer long.
Photo by Jennifer Harvey
A couple of summers ago my kids were really into playing games on their devices. At first I thought it was a fun and creative outlet that kept them busy while I got things done, but I soon discovered that even though my kids seemed to enjoy playing the screen games together, once the devices were put away — which became a huge battle — the fighting between them would skyrocket.
That’s when I realized the negative impacts of gaming on my school-age children. So how can we ensure our kids spend more time this summer doing life in the real world and less time in a virtual world? We don’t need to turn the house upside-down or schedule every minute of the day but I do think some smart organization and planning can go a long way.
I think about summer preparation like I think about cooking and I have to be honest, I don’t love to cook. However, if I menu plan, make a grocery list and shop, I feel more prepared and feel more freedom to enjoy the process. So if the lazy days of summer are the feast, here are some ingredients to help you prepare your home for those long summer days!
We all have the landing zone for school backpacks and lunch boxes so why not trade them in for a pool bag and beach towels? This cuts down on the drama of hunting for goggles or sunscreen because everything’s in the bag, ready to go.
Have your kids help you with this and put the bags together themselves. We like to fill our pool bag with sunglasses, sunscreen, goggles, dive rings, travel size shampoo and conditioner, a comb and wet wipes. Don’t forget to attach your pool tag to the bag! I keep beach towels stacked alongside the cooler for cold drinks and snacks, and I trade out the boots for flip flops. You’ll be organized and your home will have a fresh look for summer.
My undergraduate degree in early childhood development taught me how a physical space feels can directly impact the emotional and intellectual well-being of children. Kid-sized chairs, clear plastic bins for easy identification, and hooks instead of hangers all help kids feel creative instead of frustrated.
Try organizing rooms into zones by finding out what your kids enjoy most and creating designated spaces for those activities. My kids love Legos so I have a chest of drawers to house all of their prized pieces. Because the drawers are low, no one has to ask me to get Legos down from a high shelf and I feel happy that I won’t step on any tiny Legos when they’re done, and they can all be easily put away in one spot.
A table and chairs with wipeable surfaces provide space for worry-free crafting. Art supplies are left on the table so they are easy to find, use and put away. I also like to decorate the space with family artwork. Some are in frames that open from the front to display and hold up to 50 pages of artwork. It makes the space personal and designates the arts and crafts area.
Reading is one of the best things kids can do over the summer, especially on rainy days when they would rather reach for a device. Create a reading nook that will encourage them linger a little longer with good lighting, storage for books, cozy blankets and a place to prop their feet. Have them help create this space with you.
Be sure to follow us through the summer on familiesmanagingmedia.com where we will continue to post new ideas and tips about how to re-think your screens and organize your home for screen-alternative living.