We all know that kids need fresh air, fun projects, free play time and lots of time reading books. But personally, I have found (and maybe you have too) that if I am not very careful about how and when I use television or DVDs, it becomes my go-to — my cure-all for rough days, for busy days, for lazy days, for sick days. It’s just quick and easy.
In my case, there was no cable needed. Good old PBS kids + a TIVO was just enough for an unfortunate television addiction. So, I decided to undo what I had done. I unplugged my kids, and I did it in one day. Cold turkey.
- Fussy mornings. I put off the DVD watching as long as possible by playing with my children and interacting with them a lot. I tell myself that I will turn a DVD on at 11:00, then I can turn it off at 11:30 when we eat lunch. Almost always, I discover that it has become 11:15 or later, and there is no point in turning on a video.
- Quiet afternoons. Oftentimes, when Sarah Beth's play time in her room is over, Daniel and Rachel are still asleep. I have usually been watching television, and it is just easy to keep it on. Of course, I am very selective about what we watch (I even DVR shows so she won't see commercials), and we're usually doing something productive like folding clothes. However, I could and should use this time more productively by doing school-like things with her.
- Supper time. I am sure that you are the same way in that we don't want our children underfoot while we are preparing supper. I am so afraid of my children getting burned by the stove or the oven that I want them OUT of the kitchen. I am still thinking through my plan here, but last week, I just told them to leave the kitchen area, and they seated themselves at the kitchen table and worked puzzles. I have a nice stash of activities for them in the pantry on the lower shelves where they can reach.
- Evenings. I am tired when the evening finally rolls around, and it is so easy to turn on the television to entertain all of us (or even just me) until bedtime. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often when John is not home yet from work (or he is on a business trip), but it may be a good time to read books. I'm still thinking about that one, too.