As the mother of two girls, the youngest of which is about to start secondary school, I am very aware of the potential for them to have ‘brain drain’ during the summer break. They love technology. I often think that they’d choose to have their phones surgically attached to their hands if they were given the chance and I’m quite sure that if I left them to their own devices during these summer holidays they would spend all of their time glued to one device or another. There is no doubt that this results in ‘brain drain’ (not only for them but for me too!). But for my own sanity I try not to let this happen.
A couple of years ago, at the beginning of the school summer holidays, I decided to encourage my girls to think about what they would like to do and achieve during the extended holiday before going back to school. It has worked really well to help focus them, build excitement and it takes the focus off of their phones and other devices.
We go through the following points at the beginning of each holiday period. It’s quick and easy.
Write a summer bucket list: What would you like to do during the holidays?
Read for pleasure: Set yourself a goal. What are you going to read this summer?
Get outdoors: What would you like to do that involves being outdoors?
Take a class: Are there any new skills you’d like to learn?
Create art: Are there any things you would like to make or create i.e. cooking, art, music.
Avoid gadgets (or at least reduce time on them): What is a reasonable amount of time to be on your phone/ipad (xbox etc) each day?
Mindset matters: Try new things or develop existing skills further. You can become really good at something you practice. What would you like to practice this summer or is there something new?
So if you are already pulling your hair out with children who are glued to devices and treating you as though you are invisible try this short exercise and let your children take the lead on it. They are much more likely to take ownership for their decisions. These points could certainly work for adults too.
Best of luck x