<<This is what is stopping your kids from looking up at the world.
Today is the day before Thanksgiving. No school, no camp – lots of together time. And I could avoid most or all conflict if I let the kids watch TV or play video games all day.
But I like to keep things interesting.
In our house, we have a “no screens policy” every other day. That includes us. While the kids are up - no screens of any kind for anyone (unless it's work related). We instituted this well over a year ago and the kids were MAD about it.
Guess what? I don’t care. I’m in charge. You’re not. If you complain again about every other day being a no-screens day I’ll make it be every other week. How’s that sound? Hmm? You’re not saying anything.
On no-screens days there’s more fighting. There’s more tattling. There’s more sneaking snacks. It can be exhausting. And the first few days we started this no-screens policy they ALMOST wore us down. LPP and I would approach each other and say quietly, “What’s one little TV show at like 7:30? Settle everyone down?” And the other one’s eyes would light up, “You think? They are really driving me insane right now, could help…”
This looks about right.
But we forced ourselves to stick it out. I just couldn’t bear to think my kids’ entire childhood memories would be of playing a video game on the car ride to somewhere or watching ten hours of Spongebob. I wanted them to get bored. And figure out how to get unbored. WITHOUT ELECTRONICS.
And they did.
On no-screens days there’s conversation. Storytelling. There are requests to play board games. There’s wrestling. There’s fort-making. There’s quiet time playing with legos or Halo guys. They look at us more. We look at them more. I remember they have blue eyes. I get to see how they’ve grown. We make them laugh. We have nerf gun wars. They also play outside. Ride bikes. Have battles outside and build forts outside. Play with remote control cars. They exercise. I teach them how to cook or fun things like fold laundry (hey, just because it’s a no-screens day doesn’t mean it’s a Disney perfect day with Monopoly and making cookies. They still have jobs to do – because so do we).
When we made this decision to take away electronics it was originally for them. To stop them from growing up always looking down at what's in their hands. But then what I discovered was that I often relied on the screens. To keep the peace. To stave off boredom. To free me up to get stuff done. SHAME ON ME.
Because the change we’ve made has totally altered the way they will grow up – in the best way possible. By forcing them to look up. And figure it out. AND THEY HAVE. I know that some of you are sitting there thinking, “Not my kid.” Well you’re wrong. GIVE THEM A CHANCE. Don’t let them wear you down – because they will try. And then one day, they will accept it. And that is the day that you realize that you’ve talked to them for like ten minutes with no interruption. And it was AWESOME. Sure, it might be all about the latest version of Minecraft and the cool village that they built – but WHO CARES!
They are talking to you!
And honestly, that changes with time – they still talk about what they are interested in but they get other interests when they aren’t looking down all of the time.
Bring your kids back to life this year. Give them a chance to look up and see the world around them and to FIGURE IT OUT. The change you will see in your family will be life changing for the absolute best.
And that’s definitely something you will be thankful for.