Over the past several months, we’ve been going through a range of seasons and mini-seasons. Early pregnancy and morning sickness, dealing with the flu and colds, wrapping up school amidst being called outside by beautiful spring days – these all affect our daily routine in one way or another.
While dealing with morning sickness and then the flu, our whole routine was practically derailed. Then spring came in full force, and it was all we could do to get the necessary schoolwork in each day while trying to get our routine and good habits re-established. We’ve been getting there.
As I mentioned in my post on surviving the 1st trimester, we utilized the TV a lot. It got to the point where my two year old would ask for Paw Patrol right after asking for a banana as soon as he woke up in the morning. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but that habit needed to be re-evaluated once we started getting back into a rhythm again.
I’m all about using the television during difficult seasons. It helps bring about a sense of sanity and peace that is difficult to maintain any other way. However, I’ve found that it does just the opposite during seasons of productivity and good health.
My #1 Tip
You may hate me after this, but this is what I’ve found to be true. My #1 tip for a peaceful and productive day is to refrain from turning on the television for as long as possible.
I don’t know about your children, but mine have a very difficult time concentrating on school work and chores after being in front of a screen. This is true even if it is for a very small amount of time. The attitudes start much earlier in the day and are much more difficult to handle and diffuse than on days when I just say no.
How I Cope and Adjust
There is a transitional period, where some days I say no to TV first thing in the morning and other days where I say yes. However, those no’s start to become more frequent as we move into the second or third week.
My two year old is usually the first one awake and likes to come find me while I’m still having my morning quiet time. Now, instead of just letting him watch a show after eating his banana, I’ll give him the option of looking at a book or sitting quietly with me while I finish my prayers or whatever else I happen to be doing. Many times he settles down relatively quickly. Other times he gets mad and decides to go back upstairs and get in bed with dad (if he hasn’t left for work yet), or see if one of his siblings is awake.
Thankfully the other kids are old enough to redirect themselves when I tell them that we won’t be turning on the TV. They definitely ask, and they ask multiple times over the course of the morning or the day, but then they redirect rather quickly.
This avoidance of the television allows our mornings to flow more peacefully and productively. The chores get done with less bickering, the school work gets done with less fighting, and it all seems to happen at a faster pace than on days where we have the television on.
Then, once lunch is over and the two year old is down for his nap, I’ll usually let them watch something so I can close my eyes for a bit on the couch.
In the afternoon, the TV is usually off again, but they are each allowed 30 minutes each on the computer with ABC Mouse. Otherwise they are off playing outside, or in various places of the house for the rest of the afternoon. Around the time I start making dinner, the kids have some afternoon chores to do, then they are allowed to turn the TV back on while I finish cooking.
As you can see, we don’t completely eliminate screens during the day…. most days. However, I try to choose the times that I do allow them on wisely based on how our family operates.
What are your screen time rule?
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