When school got out at the end of May, we decided we were going to do a screen free summer for the girls. No iPads, TV, stealing our phone to watch a show at a restaurant (even the baby when she got fussy!). To be honest, I didn’t really announce it because I wasn’t sure how it would go. It seemed to somehow become part of our and their routines. It started with just 30 minutes of screen time a day and then it grew to an hour. And then they’d sneak it before school. We noticed their moods weren’t great, their attention was worse and their creativity was plummeting. There was tension in our home and it was our responsibility to take a step–a leap, really–to change it.
At first we weren’t sure if this was the time to try it. We were moving away from all of their friends and Chris and I were going to be really busy trying to get settled in a new house, but I am SO glad we did and stuck with it. So much so that I’d love to extend an invitation to all kids: FINISH THE SUMMER SCREEN FREE! It took about a week for them to stop asking for shows and devices and their moods improved drastically almost immediately.
Our girls haven’t made many friends yet, but they are playing together now and rediscovering their toys and getting up and running outside. Our personal parenting style is not so much to create fun for our kids. We aren’t in charge of their happiness or boredom or creativity. But we do provide opportunity and tools and support!
Sometimes that looks like a pack of traffic cones that they could set up and create a course for their bikes. Letting them help make meals. Giving them opportunities to earn money (we pay a quarter a chore around here!). Unpacking the craft box before anything else. Teaching them how to play sardines or a fun card game and letting them loose. Lessons for something they’re really interested in (Greta is taking Horse Back riding this summer!). A blow up pool! FREE TIME. Like literally schedule nothing. A library day once a week and a new lounger under the trees to read.
Isn’t it amazing what a piece of furniture in the right location or even a new location will do? (Seriously, go move a chair into a new corner and I bet everyone wants to sit in it!) We got two of these Indio Mesh stacking outdoor chaises last month and put them under one of the trees on our property and it’s like we built our family a clubhouse. They are perfect for lounging, reading, chatting, warming up after the pool. And Chris and I love to relax after work (screen free ourselves!) and just watch the girls play. The chaises are a beautiful part of Pottery Barn’s sustainable outdoor collection.
We can change our homes and the world by making responsible decisions one at a time. Pottery Barn is watching out for their family (and ours!) by consciously choosing to shrink their ecological footprint and protect the health of their customers and factory workers — from sourcing reclaimed and recycled materials to partnering with organizations that restrict the use of harmful chemicals.
The list of environmentally friendly products is constantly growing and Pottery Barn is keeping up, selling sustainable products including organic bedding and bath textiles; recycled PET flooring and rugs; reclaimed-wood furniture; eco upholstered beds and sofas; and lighting made from recycled glass, to name just a few.
Here are a few favorites from their outdoor collection (bonus: most are on super sale now!)
1. Indio Outdoor Sofa $1,004
2. Rectangular Outdoor Umbrella $331
3. Indio Occasional Chair $535
4. Indio Storage Bench no longer available
5. Indio Buffet $561
6. Hampstead Painted Stacking Dining Chair $92
7. Hampstead Painted Extending Dining Table no longer available
8. Ibiza Occasional Chair $286
9. Bamboo Kitchen Compost Bin $39
10. Indio Extending Dining Table $799
11. Indio Porch Bench $374
12. Indio Side Table $224
13. Ibiza Sectional Set $1,457
14. Indio Coffee Table $336
15. Round Outdoor Umbrella $104
16. Hampstead Painted Occasional Armchair $465
We’d love to have you on board for the screen-free kids challenge for the rest of the summer–let me know and we can all support each other. And hey, maybe treat yourself to a new sustainable piece to celebrate with. ;)