I am a huge fan of play. Why? Well, it’s fun, for one thing. AND if you teach your kid to have fun and play BY THEMSELVES you may ACTUALLY get to finish that game of Candy Crush you’ve been stuck on for a week!
That’s right. You can get stuff done, maybe surf the internet, check your Facebook status, read my newest blog post and have a happy kid to boot!
I know. A lot of kids have a hard time playing by themselves. They want someone to play with and they want someone to show them how. It helps if they have a sibling to take over the role of person they are going to argue with about who is going to have the purple crayon. It especially helps if they have a younger sibling they can boss around and make up rules to games so that can always win. Because I don’t let my kid win. Nope, Sweets better learn some strategy quick, because I don’t throw a game for ANY.ONE.
It’s really hard to get kids to give you a second, much less an entire 30 minutes to do something like, make their dinner. It would be really easy to just sit Sweets in front of the TV and let the built in babysitter do its job.
But we decided not to do that. Nope. We are “that” family that doesn’t allow TV.
Okay, we DO allow TV but there are strict rules. No TV on weekdays and only an hour on the weekend days.
Friday Sweets gets to pick a movie (the current fave is “Secret of the Wings” with Tinkerbell. I can recite it). Saturday and Sunday morning she gets to choose from select shows that we record.
And that’s it.
BUT. Rules are made to be broken. We’re not crazy, y’all. On rainy days we’ve had marathon Bubble Guppy sessions. We’ve had multiple movies and we’ll stretch the hour rule on occasion on the weekend.
But as a family we made the decision to limit TV.
Why? Because I see how much fun she has doing other things and if the TV isn’t an option she will choose to play.
Why? Because I don’t like the Zombification of Sweets- she watches TV and you’d be lucky to get a response from her if the house was burning down.
Why? Because there are a lot of books to be read.
Why? Because I said so. HA!
But really- learning to play on her own has been one of the best things we’ve done for her. She draws, she builds with blocks, she digs in dirt, she paints, she “reads to her animals”, she has tea parties. She has fun. I can cook dinner, return a phone call and sit with Pi on the patio and decompress after a day at work. And have a Cupcake.
Yes, sometimes we walk into the room to a disaster of a mess. Yes, sometimes we get the whining for “one more show”.
But for me, for her, for OUR family, it was a good decision.
Do I think anyone is a bad parent for allowing TV? NO.
Do I think I am a better parent for NOT allowing TV? NO.
I grew up in the summers in a beach house with no TV. And I mean NONE because we didn’t have one. Did that stop us from going to the neighbors house on rainy days and watching soap operas all day long? No. But more often than not we played and when we said we were bored our parents- who by now I am realizing just made rainy days into early happy hours- said “well, find something to do.”
And we did. We listened to our Muppets record and danced. No, that is not a typo. We were listening to RECORDS, like, the vinyl version.
We got out the construction paper and crayons and scissors and made a really huge mess on the kitchen table.
We came up with different skits we would perform for our parents to enthusiastic applause (remember: early happy hour. They would clap at anything at that point I think).
So I KNOW from experience that Sweets won’t die from boredom. She’ll find something to do- she always does. And so far NOT ONCE has she told me she’s bored. (Ugh, jinxed it. What is my problem?).
In all fairness to Sweets, I stopped watching TV during the week. And that gave me TONS more time…but then I got an iPhone and Candy Crush goddammit….
Have a great crazy day!