Ah, summer. I want to love summer—beautiful weather, no early morning school drop-offs, sunshine until 9pm. But when I think about all those kids with their unstructured hours, cries of boredom, and bickering born of too much togetherness… I realize why, for me, summer is a mixed blessing.

As my kids get older I’m getting better at managing my expectations. And that means realizing summer isn’t a vacation when you’re a parent. I have to anticipate the extra work it takes to organize some structure for our lazy summer days. I need a strategy if I’m going to keep screen-time from gobbling up every un-planned minute.

I came across this article from Today Show contributor Carley Knobloch and found it helpful.

There’s a downloadable “Summer Screen Time” contract that does most of the work for you (although you can modify it to your own family’s needs if you’re an over-acheiver). There’s also some genuinely helpful advice about how to set the rules in advance. Carley and I agree that the “in advance” part is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.

So take a deep breath and devote twenty minutes you probably don’t have to thinking through when, where, and how you want your kids to access technology this summer. When the novelty of no-more-school wears off, you’ll be glad you did.