My DSs, 11 and 7, spend too much time in front of electronics — too much screen time. When they play too long, for a stretch of a full hour, they become irritable, pick fights with each other and their sister (4yo), refuse to do what they’re told, can’t sleep well, won’t eat well, and more. Some time ago (has it been a year) I instituted the “15/10 minute tidy”.
That is, they take a 15 minute break from their screens every hour (when the clock rings in the top of the hour). They can spend 5 minutes going to the bathroom and drinking water (it’s amazing how much more water they drink when it postpones the next part!) and must spend 10 minutes cleaning.
Usually it is as simple as put your own shoes away, out of the middle of the hall or bathroom where you dumped them last, put your own dishes in the sink, put your own night clothes in the laundry basket, put away the games you have played and left out, etc.
Well, for the first “tidy” this morning, I insisted they all put on their shoes. They grumbled. We went outside. They expected yard work. I told them our first “tidy” of the day would be a “body clutter tidy” and we were all, as a group, taking a walk around the pond next door. Not a cardiac workout for sure, not as I had to stay at the pace of my four year old DD, but we walked around the entire pond.
The boys asked permission to “clean up our world”, so we went on “litter patrol” as well. The boys got more exercise than I did, as they ran off to a trash can whenever their hands were full. We paused at the top of a hill for a pine-cone throwing contest which worked our arms, then ran up and down the hill retrieving our pine cones for another chance. DS11 won.
It took us nearly a half hour to get around the pond, collecting litter, throwing pine cones, drifting in and out of the numerous greenhouses (the pond waters a plant nursery next door). It was good family time, the boys told me they had a great time, we spent some time outside in the beautiful spring before the heat and high sun of the day, and we got our Moving in May done.
Thanks for being the catalyst to get us out there!