Lately I've been trying to cut back TV to almost nothing. Am I always successful? Yeah right. Sometimes I just cave, but I'm really trying to make an effort to not let them watch anything until the time I'm trying to make dinner. If I can get them to play outside at that point instead of watching it then I feel like we have had one amazing day.
I have been reading more and more on the negative effect that watching TV has on your children, and I agree with them in every sense, plus I have my own viewpoints too of how it can affect our spiritual lives as well. (That's for another post.)
It was tough to cut back, especially if there were certain times they knew they could watch one. For example: when mom takes a shower. I used it as a damage control method. But now I'm encouraging them to just play together instead and it works. I always have a battle every morning with Mirian, but then she accepts the fact and then I get to see her little creative mind go to work.
When they do want to see it though I promise them that we'll have one family movie night a week. We'll make a big deal out of it. That gives them hope and they seem to be content with that answer and will run off and play.
Honestly when we don't watch it, they are happier, they aren't so wild, they are more creative, we have more fun, our home is more peaceful. You have to have a plan at first though. You need to know what your going to do instead of watching it. You have to have ideas of things to do because they won't know. Eventually they're brains start functioning again. They start having their own ideas, and then you start to see them come alive which is so rewarding in itself.
So what do you instead?
Get out the crayons, paints and crafty stuff. Make some art.
Go to the circus for a family night out.
Take your bikes across the road to the big church parking lot, and ride them like crazy!
Make your own indoor sandbox with beans, rice or whatever you have on hand.
Make cakes with it.When your all done throw it all over the kitchen floor and skate on it. (This is definitely one of those moments where you bite your tongue from getting mad. Really does it hurt anything? No. They were having a ball, they were exploring and it all sweeps up.)
Invite your friends over to your house to play.
Put on a dance performance for your friends.
Sit on the back of the couch and watch the people and cars go by. See if you see any birds or nature.
Get the camera down from the piano and take your own pictures of your siblings.
Make some home made playdough and make stuff.
This is the best one of all. If you don't have a TV to watch. Make your own. After breakfast when I told Mirian she couldn't watch a movie, she drew her own "Monsters Inc." movie, and taped it to the table.Then her and Isaac sat down with their drinks and snacks to watch it.
When that movie was over they made a few more. Isaac made one that he wanted to watch (with mirian's help) and Mirian made a princess movie. Later when Savannah got home she made a princess movie called Loveka. Loveka was the name of the princess who lived in garbage land. Everyone was grouchy there and the princess was mean. Think of the endless amazing adventures you could watch from your own imagination.
Play with some sidewalk chalk.
Draw some rainbows.
Play with each other.
Make play food to cook up later in your kitchen.
Sew your own purse.
Make your own tree and decorate it with things you found around the yard that didn't get picked up before the winter snow hit.
Think of all the things your missing out on, or your kids when you just stick them in front of a TV. Oh it is so hard somedays, because it is such an easy babysitter. I know how hard it is. It's not always easy helping them find things to do instead. That takes effort, creativity and brain energy on our part. But once they get out of the habit of wanting to watch something... then sit back and see what happens. Life happens. Growing up happens. Experimenting happens. Playing happens. Loving happens. Creativity happens.