I’m not on Facebook much these days, and don’t like going on for obvious reasons, but I can always count on Facebook to show me meaningful photo memories. The photo above was taken maybe a year after we moved to Wisconsin. I was reminded of the days where we could take the kids to the park, or a little water park in this case, and play.
This school year will be different for everyone. Most children will be home attending school virtually. I wrote my thoughts here and have decided to keep my kids at home (going to school virtually) this grading period; for us here in PA until November. This was the hardest decision ever.
Mom Brain Podcast
The other day I discovered the Mom Brain Podcast with with Hilaria Baldwin and Daphne Oz. They were having a discussion with Dr. Lori Whatley, a Clinical Psychologist that specializes in the effects of digital device usage on both individuals and businesses. They discussed kids and adults maintaining a healthy balance with digital devices during quarantine. I think this is an especially important topic now as we head back to school and, again, for many of us, as we deal with having our children on computers or laptops all afternoon for school.
If you have 40 minutes, I would highly recommend listening to this podcast, whether you have children or not.
This is one of my favorite photos of my kids and me in Chicago. As a mother, I’ll admit, I worry a lot. I’m back to waking up in the middle of the night, tossing and turning a bit, just thinking about the upcoming school year.
I can’t change how this school year is going to happen but I can influence and change how we do things at home.
A Technology Mental Check-Up
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear Dr. Lori talk about how she can tell if a kid spends a lot of time on devices just by sitting with them for a little while. They don’t make eye contact, they can’t sit still. I’ll be the first to admit that ipads, tiktok, TV and apps have filled my kids’ brains for the last few months. Like most people, we’ve been at home, staying in. At the beginning of quarantine, I took my kids outside almost everyday, weather permitting for a bike ride, walk, whatever. For the past month, we haven’t been as diligent because my kids only want to go to the pool and it’s really hot outside. As we head into the new school year, I have already told and established with my children that we will be going outside everyday. We will be getting exercise.
OUR BODIES ARE MEANT TO MOVE
This is why I am back to my happy self: EXERCISE. Whether you take the kids out to walk the dog, ride a skateboard, go for a run or ride bikes, get them outside and off of their devices. My husband Paul, recently used Google wifi to shut down the internet on my kids’ devices at a certain time. They are supposed to read a book before bedtime and shutting off their internet and apps helps make this happen. We also know what apps they are using. If you don’t know, look at what apps your children or teens are on and using.
With school being virtual, there’s talk that art and music classes won’t be happening so do art and music at home. Heck, also do home economics! Or, in your school, it might be called Family And Consumer Sciences. Since mid-March, my kids have learned how to do laundry, load the dishwasher, vacuum and cook some of their favorite easy recipes and more.
A Technology Mental Check-Up For Me
For the past two months or so, I’ve been really good about putting my iPhone away at night. I will plug it in and not look at it until the morning. Dr. Lori talks about how it’s important, for kids and adults, to clear your minds and heads before going to bed so you can get better sleep. She stressed putting your phone, computer or device away at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
She also said try not to pick it up right when you wake up. This will be super challenging for me because my iPhone is my alarm, although lately I don’t need an alarm because my body just wakes up at 6am on its own, and I immediately go check Instagram and email. Bad habit.
What’s your morning routine? I know I need to change mine. I’m not sure I’ll be able to not look at my phone first thing in the morning but I do love the idea of sitting with coffee, meditating or praying and sitting with something inspiring to read first thing in the morning. We need to start our days in a calm way. I’d like to believe that this will help set the tone for our days.
During the school year, I would take an hour in the morning to have some coffee and check emails and then I’d go make breakfast. Parents, we’re going to need to be organized this year. Not only for our mental health but for our children too.
Some mothers are still packing lunches which I think is smart and brings some normalcy for your kids. Click here to see 25 healthy lunch recipes. If you have the room at your house, dedicate one room for “school and homework.” so kids can separate this from family/not at school time. Some mothers are still buying backpacks and fun school supplies. You can even go back to school shopping this year and buy some new clothes if you’d like. I think anything you can do to bring some normalcy back for your kids is great. Might seem trivial and silly but – again- if you want to do it and can do it, do it.
Do you guys keep a family calendar? I’m going to start a better one for this school year. I’ll need to incorporate exercise, science, reading and time that the kids spend NOT on a computer or device. Our kids are never too young to learn hands on knowledge. Picking up their toys, making their beds, folding laundry and the list goes on and on.
Fun Things To Do
If this post is stressing you out, that was not my intention at all. I just wanted to share this in order to help us, and I am already evaluating myself and my family, look at how much time we are spending with technology and how it might be affecting our mental health.
Fun things we can do with our kids: play board games, play cards, do an art craft project, have a dance session or dance party or create a music video at home.
I leave today to head to Stone Harbor with my kids for a few days. We’re doing a fun, girls getaway. I want to just spend some time with my kids on the beach, do our nails, get ice cream and have a little fun before school starts.
Bottom line: Let’s connect with our kids. Connect with our spouses/partners, away from a device. I suck at this right now. At best, we’ve watched movies on Netflix together. I hope to start “at-home” date nights, or even dining out with my husband soon. We haven’t had a date night in ages.
Let’s stay positive. It’s not going to be an easy year but hang in there. We got this.