Thursday, 5 March 2009

No Screen Day

Yet again it has been a while since I updated on here. The reason? In a word, Jonah. He has moved up a level of exploration in the house now and has discovered how to open the door to the downstairs toilet and deposit various items into the toilet which then don't get found until they have been pooed on (sorry, but it is a blog about boys, what do you expect?!). Needless to say, the toilet now has a lock on the outside as well as the inside! I wonder how many more places in our house we will have to attach locks to before too long. He has also worked out how to open the fridge and keeps helping himself to food. Anyone would think I starved the child, the way he screams when I say no. Of course, 'no', is not a word that I am allowed to say anymore and it produces a violent and noisy reaction (which, after having been through this twice already, it washes right over my head).

We have decided to have a day off from 'the screen' every week. We have, of course, had to define what we mean by 'screen' because otherwise loopholes will be found by the loophole experts. So the 'screen' means television, wii, computer and gameboy. Each Thursday we are having a day without them. This decision was made because a couple of weeks ago Toby was playing on the wii and was so tense and aggressive that he was shouting and screaming at everyone. So, we turned it off and told him that he could not watch it for the rest of the morning (it was a Sunday). He screamed, stamped, slammed doors, cried and shouted at us that he could not live without television. So, we decided that we would teach them how to live without it! Of course we are not actually 'living' without it, that would be a step too far, even for me. Sometimes I need them to be still and quiet and the only way to achieve that is to put a DVD on for them.

I have been very surprised at their reactions to 'no screen day'. We explained it to them very clearly and so when Thursday has arrived, there have been no arguments about it or pleading for it. We just told them that was the way it was. They have come home from school and actually played. It has been so lovely to see them playing in the garden after school instead of being inside watching the tv. The dirt that it has created has not been quite so lovely. Today for example, Jonah and Max were making mud pies, and then covering their hands in mud and puting mud handprints all over the patio.

I'm sure that some people who are much better mothers than me would probably be able to live without the screen for alot longer, but for me this has been quite a scary idea. My boys do not generally sit still unless they are watching tv, so it has been harder work for me and I have had to be more organised and have some planned activities up my sleeve. Perhaps if it keeps working we might extend it to another day a week...... I do think our children watch too much television, but I hope that we give our boys a more balanced lifestyle that includes television rather than being dominated by it.

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