Start organizing your home today for a successful low-tech summer
Contributor: Jennifer Harvey, Interior Designer
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 sky-rocket. That’s when I realized the negative impacts of gaming on my school-age children. How can we ensure our kids spend more time this summer enjoying the real world and less time virtually? 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 toward getting your house ready for a low-tech summer.
I think about summer preparation like I think about cooking. 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. I 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. 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 winter 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 that how a space feels physically 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 wipe-able 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 beautifully.
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 help 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.
Reducing screen time can be a challenge over the summer when school isn’t there to take up long daytime hours. But, ScreenStrong is here to help. With these simple tips, you can get your house ready for a fun, low-tech summer. Follow us on Facebook where, in the month of June, we will be posting a new outdoor activity each day. Join the ScreenStrong Families Facebook Group where you can find support and encouragement from like-minded parents. Summer is also a great time to take the ScreenStrong Challenge and send those screens on permanent vacation!