Baillie and I have something very special going on this week called Couch Potato Camp. This year, I gave each of my kids one week, by themselves, to sit home and do nothing – no organized camp, no siblings, no responsibilities, no limits on tech time. You know, that thing they ask for what seems like every second of the day. I figured, give them exactly what they asked for and see how they respond. Would they be bored? Would their eyes truly get glued to the screen? Would they move from that couch? Would they remember to eat?
Most weeks of the summer, I put the kids in some kind of camp. I need my work hours and as much structure as I can muster. But then I feel bad–it is summer, after all. When I’ve attempted serious kiddo-at-home, give-em-summer, down-time in the past, I’ve always regretted it. I always did it with all three kids (ends in fighting), with too much work to do (ends in mama annoyance), and no plan to speak of (we all go nuts). I’ve always ended up flustered, irritable, short and wishing I had just sent everyone to camp. This time I did things differently.
I’m lucky right now to be able to cut back on my work level, so the regular work pressure wasn’t there. I forced myself to let go of any and all blogging expectations and responsibility for the week. I allowed only one kiddo to be home at a time (who doesn’t want to be an only child for one week?). Then, I let the child dictate the plan. For Baillie, I thought he would pick his favorite screen time choice, Madden NFL, and I would see neither hide nor hair of him until he absolutely HAD to go to the bathroom.
Well, a funny thing happened. I ended up with a kiddo that wanted to take long walks with me, throw the ball with me, play cards with me, read books with me and really just hang out. I found out that it’s not actually non-stop screen time that they really want every day, it’s me and my doting attention. And truly, it’s been magnificent.
I have been able to talk when he wanted to talk and listen when he wanted me to listen. We’ve laughed at each other’s jokes and held hands and shared treats. We have built a rapport that I haven’t had with Baillie for a long time. Yes, he’s played some Madden, too. But, that’s just fine with me. I am just so thankful that I am fortunate enough to have the gift of time to give them this summer.
Here’s to Couch Potato Camp!