Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Screen free day

We are screen addicts. There, I said it out loud.

The first thing I do when I open my eyes is check the time on my iphone, then I check my email and facebook and sometimes twitter before I can even fully focus. The reverse happens at night. In between I have my iphone in my pocket all day long and everytime I hear that ping, I pull it out and check my email (unless I am driving or in the company of someone less addicted than me). I check blogs I follow, message boards I belong to. I shop online. I waste many hours a week just surfing and now there's Pinterest which is a seriously enjoyable time waster. Throw in some evening TV and I am amazed my eyes are not square.

G spends lots of time on his computer at work and and then again for sport scores, couponing (shhhh he thinks it makes him less manly!!!), shopping, researching stuff and listening to music on youtube.

T1 would happily spend every waking moment in front of the computer playing Roblox simultaneously hooked up to his itouch watching music videos on youtube. He doesn't care much for TV.

T2 loves TV. She likes some computer sites but she loves loves loves TV.

I don't let my kids have as much screen time as they would like but I am very aware that they have way too much and are not wanting to do anything else, are "bored" if they can't have screens and then there's the whining and complaining when it's time to shut screens off.

Last night I decided that today would be a screen free stay at home day. T2 cried and cried. T1 didn't say much but after breakfast when I asked what his plans for the day were he replied "to go to my room and sulk" - at least he had a twinkle in his eye when he said it!

Our day went something like this.....

8:00 - I announce to the family (and my facebook friends) that today there will be no screens until 5pm. Tears from T2. Grumbles from T1.
8:15 - My iphone has been pinging in the bowl where all the Apple devices are spending the day. I can't stand not being able to check so I power it off and walk away.
9:00 - Read books with T2 and T1 was in his room fiddling with his icoaster.
10:00 - Made cookies. Kids are now playing Lego together and TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER. Dishes are in dishwasher, laundry is sloshing about, my choice of music is playing. I am happy with the morning so far and have started a list of a few things I have to do online and some emails I have to send after 5pm. Kids have not complained since 8:00
I got engrossed sorting through a big box of stuff in the playroom that I had been putting off and managed to sort Polly Pocket shoes, Barbie accessories, toss anything I didn't recognize and return all kinds of things to their rightful homes.
12:30 Lunchtime. I realized that while T2 was crafting independently that she had not asked for snacks the way she does when she watches TV. She ate lunch enthusiastically. T1 wasn't hungry.
1:00 school work. Both kids got their work done really fast.
2:00 I bailed on our agreed screen time ban and let them go do their own thing. They hadn't done what I expected. They didn't whine, complain and shoot me hateful glances. I'm weak and I know it. I sabotage most things I try to achieve but that's a whole other post!

T1 asked to play Wii. T2 asked to go online. I grabbed my iphone and powered it on and was excited to see what I had missed. NOT A THING. Proving to me that the gazillion times each day I check my phone nothing has happened then either but I still check. In 5 hours I really hadn't missed anything except stressful facebook posts from my American friends hastily preparing for Thanksgiving.

I do wish we had kept going until 5:00. As soon as kid shows came back on I realized how annoying the background noise in this house can be.

Tomorrow and Friday we have busy days and the screen time opportunities will be few and far between, in which case I don't mind as long as everything else they need to do has been done. It's days like today when we don't have much going on and I have jobs to do that I would prefer to complete alone and uninterrupted that I rely on electronic babysitters which I am not proud of.

I hope my kids have realized that they can manage to be home, just us with an empty rainy day, without being glued to screens ignoring their toys and each other's company at least until Mom caves.....