NO TV SUMMER-
HOW IT LOOKED FOR US
This Summer we decided to remove tv and video games from our daily life. I thought it was an awesome idea and my kids thought a nuclear bomb was going off on their social life! The plan was to completely remove the Wii, which happened and has not re-appeared…yet. The next step was to remove the television….well, I had nowhere to store the tv so I decided to use self-control instead. Here’s my what/why/when of how this came about…
WHO: MY KIDS AND ME. I realized my kids were watching too much television and the responsibility fell square on my shoulders! For me it was becoming an easy fix for not needing to think, plan, or interact with my kids (SO sad but true!). So this summer plan was just as much for my heart as it was for my kids.
WHAT: NO TV, NO VIDEO GAMES….with the exception that on very few occasions I would let them watch one show in the morning (initiated by me and not them) or we would have a movie night about once a week. It has become more like the cherry on top instead of the whole cake and frosting to our week.
WHEN: THE WHOLE SUMMER…and honestly this plan may be slightly adjusted and adopted into our lives permanently! The results don’t lie. We are only half-way through the summer and based on how it’s gone so far I don’t want to ever go back to the way it was. In the fall I will probably allow a little more tv, but school, play and art will take up more of their time.
WHY: There were things happening in my kids and I that I realized were detrimental to our interactions with one another and more so affecting the spiritual tone and love in our home. There was a lot of fighting, toys were collecting dust, and I was leaning heavily on the tv-crutch. My creativity switch was turned off (except when it was turned on for very rare occasions) and my interactions with my children didn’t venture much outside the realm of discipline, outings, bedtime stories and meal times. And my kids were not playing “pretend” except for when friends were over.
There are 4 things that have happened since the beginning of summer.
1. My kids have been enjoying themselves immensely! Right now, as I am typing, they are playing “Rockets to space” with a box and a pile of random toys that are slowly taking over the living room. (which is a good thing!)
2. It’s harder on me than it is on them. Parenting your kids in a way that is consistent and engaging is harder than plopping your kids down in front of an electronic babysitter. I’ve found myself more tempted to turn the tv on than my kids! But, it has gotten easier over time and I’ve also learned that the goal is not perfection…but a desire to keep trying. And I remind myself that hard work is a good thing…just working hard at keeping my house clean isn’t good enough- more importantly my work should include quality time with my kids!
3. Creativity and summer activities have abounded much! I am enjoying my kids more and thinking outside the box. Here are a few things we’ve done because our brains weren’t turned off:
a. went to the park, splash pad, and zoo many times
b. went for slushies and walks
c. I joined my kids playing in a massive puddle
d. we’ve had family craft time and played Yahtzee all together
e. reading lots of books and enjoying the reading program at the library
f. playing squirt guns on the patio and digging for worms
g. writing encouragement notes and making little gifts for our friends
4. We’ve had more time for the Lord! The kids and I are memorizing the ABC’s of the bible. (bible verses-one each that starts with each of the letters of the alphabet) We’ve been singing more together and talking more about God in the milieu of life. I find myself more in tune to discipline opportunities too, which means more time for talking about the gospel.
Because we don’t want to be push-overs and seen as just our kid’s best friend OR we don’t want to be the parent who disciplines inconsistently OR the mom who doesn’t get her stuff done; we throw the baby out with the bathwater (figuratively)!
There should be time for slushies that run all over our faces, laying on the floor and building the gigantuist tower ever, jumping through a massive puddle that’s going to soak our clothes…building smiling faces out of our lunches, reading books that have “too many words”, doing activities that are a lot of work for us- but so enjoyable for the kids…
I don’t want to be my kids’ best friend. I don’t want to be the cool mom who lets them get away with whatever they want. BUT- I want to be the engaged mom who pays attention, interacts, listens, plays, helps, and encourages creativity and learning. I want to show mercy, grace and treat them the way I want to be treated (within the bounds of biblical parent/child relations). I want to give my kids a home where they will grow, flourish and see Jesus Christ…and for us right now that means less tv and more togetherness.