Well, day one of summer made me realize a difference from last year. We are going to need to put some limits on screen time. Given it was a rainy day, but my kids were still watching TV way too much.
It’s funny how easy it is to slip into that habit. For the first 6 months of living out here we had no TV, and things were really just fine. After that we opted for Netflix, but just for Madeline, John, and I – not the little ones. Well, that lasted a little while but then the draw of the TV set in. Not for the boys – for ME! It is such an easy way to occupy them.
The TV was on before breakfast, mid-morning while I had a second coffee, during rest time for an hour, and as I got dinner ready.
It all added up to 2 hours.
Since I love numbers, I had a look at that for a second:
In the course of a week, that means 14 hours spent in front of the TV. They are only awake for 13 hours a day!
Not going to fly.
There are so, so, so many better things for those little minds to be doing.
As I pondered why we used the TV so much, I realised it was for a few reasons:
- To give me time alone,
- to give the boys time to chill out when they are too worked up,
- or to stop them from fighting (as a way to separate them).
This made me realize I need to get back to our Quiet Time Bins big time. I will be making up 5 new bins tonight which will be perfect for rest time.
I have been trying to embrace the “let them be bored” mentality. This is not working so well. It has turned into the, “let us bother each other until Mom loses it and gives us something to do” mentality.
So I thought I would make a list of simple, quick, no prep independent ideas for me to throw at the boys when they are needed. Too much unstructured time doesn’t work well for these boys of mine.
When my busy boys are needing a little structure, I’m going to suggest these activities.
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These activities do not involve me, and give the boys some space from each other. So in theory, they should be just as effective as TV:
- Grab a Quiet Bin. Quiet Bins work so much better to calm my boys down than TV!
- Find Waldo (This one is a favourite right now – and great for practising those tracking skills too)
- Use the clipboard, a piece of paper, and a pencil and try to draw/write all the yellow things you can find/all the things that start with /s/, etc
- Draw a picture of your favourite thing you have done today, or what you would like to do tomorrow
- Play with the cats/dog/bunny/chickens
- Put sticky notes on everything that starts with /s/
- Make paper chain jewellery (my boys love doing this right now, just cut really thin small strips of paper and loop them together to make necklaces and bracelets.)
- Play Lego
- Do a dot-to-dot, or colour-by-number
- Make up a song/dance to perform after dinner
- Use facepaint. My boys love doing this and it really helps them to calm down. Often this leads to some great imaginary play afterward too.
- Set up a restaurant/sleepover/school for all the stuffies
- Make a thank you card/kindness card for someone and we will deliver it after dinner
- Grab some pipecleaners and beads to make jewellery
- Get out the playdough
There you have it! That’s my plan. Nothing crazy, nothing fancy – which is precisely the beauty in it.
My hope is to get my little ones mostly off of TV again, with the occasional movie night (or afternoon, or heaven help me morning) here and there.
I’ll keep you posted. I hope you are having a lovely start to summer friends, Thank you for reading.