After a few months of bratty, whiny children my tolerance level had reached red. Hence, the no TV for a week adventure.
Oh MY! What an adventure it was. I had not realized how heavily I relied on TV for entertaining my children whenever they had driven me batty. They realized it though! Smarty pants…
Quality Family Time
I never realized how many hours in a day I truly shared with them until we kicked TV out.
Now mind you, I thought I was doing pretty good. After all, I only allowed them to watch shows that had some educational value. And usually only in the evenings too. Pretty good not bad, right?
We’d watch YouTube videos about farms, animals or gardening. Along with the occasional afternoon of Octonauts, Little House on the Prairie or Miles. Of course other stuff was watched in between, but the majority of it was YouTube videos that either Zo or I watched with them.
We considered it family time all sitting together watching YouTube videos and honestly we did all enjoy it. But a child needs human interaction more than we tend to realize. This tends to show itself after the videos by ways of temper tantrums or whining.
Watching as a pastime with the kids was more for me and Zo than it was for the kids. They’d be just as happy jumping on a trampoline with mommy or daddy, playing a board game or even taking a leisurely stroll outside as they would be watching the TV.
It’s the grownups in this house who lack energy to keep up with the kids all day.
Damaging Effects of Screen Time
It’s long been proven that too much screen time has effects on a child’s brain. I don’t know all the statistics, all I know is what I noticed in our own children.
I have pretty active children in general, but after screen time? It’s multiplied. NOT in a good way! They go crazy! It usually ends up with some new, LOUD noise to explore, a new motor skill that usually involves breaking something, trying to push around siblings, or some new phrase they like to try out on me in a moment of defiance.
Backtalk is the name of the game when too much screen time has been allowed. Not to mention throwing fits.
Their attention span is also noticeably shorter after screen time. They’re extremely fidgety!
Benefits on Screen Time
One of the main places I noticed a benefit from was YouTube. Our kids loved helping me plant a garden last spring due to watching Garden Answer.
After watching a few dairies and farming episodes our eldest is busy pretending to farm our entire yard. He watches a lot of tractor videos and he’s soaking up all the information.
He knows more than me about farming! I’ve learned to not question him too much when it comes to our farm. I was driving tractor the other day and something kept beeping at me, I was almost panicking because I thought I was breaking something, when he kindly reminds me I haven’t turned on the GPS.
This happens fairly regularly that my 7 year old son rescues me from making a mess of things!
YouTube has also been very helpful in explaining space, volcanoes and any of the cool things that we can’t necessarily show them in real life at this time.
Octonauts is another show I haven’t noticed any bad side effects from. In fact, its taught him a lot about different sea creatures. It’s really inspired a love of the sea in him.
But be warned! Too much Screen Time for a child and watch a monster emerge..
No! Seriously!! I challenge you to try it. Take the TV away for a week and then give it back. You will be amazed at the different personas your child displays during those times.
What to Expect When You Take It Away
Ya’ll it was crazy rough! Those first 2 days especially. I may even have hidden in the bathroom a time or a million during this time.
Our kids were whinier than usual and definitely fought more than I would’ve thought possible.
Looking back, I wish I would’ve sat down and had a talk with them about what this process was going to be like.
After day 2 was over, I finally explained that no matter how rotten they were behaving, TV was NOT coming back until they had learned some common sense on how to treat another human being.
Shocker of shockers! Xavier figured out I meant business. The next day was night and day different. HA! Had you there for a moment didn’t I?
This isn’t easy but nothing worth fighting for ever is. It was a slow change. Day 3 was calmer and they did actually go play together.
Now that they no longer had the TV as a friend, and that they knew mommy wasn’t bringing it back until they were friends with each other, they started figuring this thing out!
Their favorite way to play together was building a fort. They started talking! To each other!! I mean full-blown problem solving talk! I couldn’t believe it.
They still whine and moan and grumble when the need arises, but they have been way sweeter than what I had given them credit for.
Life on the Other Side of the Screen
The eldest two are partnering up. It’s almost scary. It’s twice the ideas now!
The cutest thing is probably the way all 3 have started teaming up to feed the animals in the morning. Usually Xavier was adamant that he wanted to feed them by himself. Now he drags the food bowl over to the door for the dog, Rose fills it up and Ezra is quite busy throwing food to the cats during this time. It’s quite adorable!
A helpful little tip I learned to survive the morning hours, is to separate everyone after a while to have some alone time. Ezra takes a nap, Rose plays in her room with her choice of toys and Xavier will usually play outside or play with his farm toys in our room.
My goal is to eventually have enough legos or some kind of building blocks to where they can spend their morning quiet time playing with those.
I’ll instigate quiet time when everyone starts fighting with each other or even when I hear the word “MOM” to many times.
Yes, that’s my name.. It’s worn out. Taken outside and beaten up with a fluffy pinata stick!
I still pull out the TV on occasion but it’s not near as often as it was there for a while.
Our home is a lot happier for it! A little closer to that goal of a peaceful family. Yay!!
I’d love to get a game that me and the kids could enjoy together that doesn’t involve jumping, running or being tackled, lol. I’m thinking that may not happen until Ezra is a bit older and can join. I suppose the benefits to having to play an active activity is that I get some exercising in!
Seriously though? I can’t for the life of me figure out how come I’m not more fit than I am! You’d think all the running and walking a mom does would show up in muscle somewhere along the lines!
Heck, I’d even settle for endurance! Cleaning up the toys has me huffing and puffing.
Let me know your favorite activities with kids down below in the comments! I’m always open to new ways of making memories!