Well, it’s been four days. Four days since we turned on the TV, Wii or computer (except now, of course. This doesn’t count.) Wes has been up at Survival School for the past week and a half and we are doing just fine. We had this routine of turning a show on for Grace when the boys left for school so I could get showered and dressed and then they would all have about a half hour of screen time in the afternoon after homework was done. Well, let me emphasize that Wes has been gone for a week and a half. We’ve got two more weeks to go. A half hour easily became three hours so I could get a minute (or 180) of peace and quiet.
So what was the turning point, you ask? Well, there were two of them. The first came at 7:10 am four days ago. The boys had left for school and I was making coffee and cleaning up the kitchen. I look over and Grace is laying on the floor, sucking her thumb and staring at me. She had been this way for ten minutes! That’s when I realized that she had no idea what to do with herself. She’s three years old! She should be playing and dancing and singing (if I had my way, sleeping). Instead she’s laying on the floor, sucking her thumb and staring at me.
The second eye-opening moment came that afternoon when the boys got home from school. I had just finished going through their take home folders when I look over and see Ben staring at the TV. I say, “What are you looking at, Ben?” He says, “The TV.” I say, “Why? It’s not even on.” He says, “I just love to look at it, Mommy.” Aaaaaannnnd, we’re done here. We made a challenge to ourselves to not watch TV, play the Wii or play on the computer until Daddy gets home. We are going to find more fun things to do.
And so we have. We’ve played outside, colored for hours (I think we’ve gone through 100 sheets of paper), played, read books. And they haven’t asked for the TV once.
I have just come to the conclusion that my kids have no imagination. There is no reason I should have to tell them what to play with or how to color a picture. I have also come to the conclusion that this is all my fault! It is so easy to turn the TV on and go do whatever I want. But in doing so, I’m completely shirking my responsibilities as a mother. I’m not teaching them, spending meaningful time with them or really doing anything of use. Now, I’m not saying that after these 15 more days are up we’ll never turn the TV on again. There’s nothing better then a rainy day movie. I just don’t want TV zombie kids. I want real kids. Kids that can make up a song, play dress up or just sit and read books for hours. I want them to actually turn down TV time for something more creative and engaging.
So, after two trips to Hobby Lobby, I think we are ready for the next two weeks. Here’s to a new kind of normal.