Saturday, July 29, 2017

Screen detox's where I lay myself vulnerable.

Here's where I show you a triumph.

I've been feeling quite convicted lately about screens. With our whole family in general, but especially with my kids.

What started as "background companion noise" when Adubya was a baby has turned into a full-blown lifestyle.

TV on all the time, 

tablets the go-to anesthesia.

Then MiddleC and LittleL had their tonsils out a month ago, and we hit deafcon 5 slothdom. TV was on all.the.time, charging cables were in every outlet.

You guys, it was bad.

Two weeks ago, we were taking Adubya to camp,  and I took the opportunity to plant a seed with the kids: I explained my concern about their behavior now, what it means for their future, and the sadness it brought me. 

They all actually thought about it.

We decreased screens quite a bit while Adubya was gone.  Then, the day we picked him up, we left for camping.

Sunday to Sunday my boy had gone without any screen. So, I was time.

Monday morning, the screens went silent.

We went Monday through Friday without any screen of any sort.

(Exception: my phone. I used it to contact people to make play dates and coordinate some of my commitments).

I'm going to do my findings in list form:

- With the exception of Monday morning,  every morning thereafter was blissfully silent. I came out to both boys reading on the couches. Now, if LittleL was up before me, I HAD to get up since she requires adult supervision,  but even toward the end of the week, Adubya was pouring her cereal, and MiddleC was reading her books. (Bless me!)

- Both boys made themselves goals to finish books. MiddleC finished 3, Adubya finished a long one and started on another. They both enjoyed reading these books, and were excited to tell me about what they were reading. (Not super exciting stufd, but they wanted to tell me, so I'll listen anyday!!)

-Errands were fun. Yep, you heard me....FUN. Why? Because no one was trying to rush me through anything to get back home to screens. At one point, Adubya said "yeah, let's try there too...we've got nothing but time..."

- The boys worked together. Monday, they came up with the idea of a cardboard fort. They put their money together to buy a roll of gorilla tape, asked me to drive them around looking for cardboard, and built a fort. This was not without artistic differences, mind you, but after a little FOB time, and a quick talk from mom, they quickly joined forces again and built a fortress.

- We had a total of 4 meltdowns this week. Four.  (Bonus! None of them mine! Ha!). You guys...coming off screens ends up in daily meltdowns from each kid. Multiple daily meltdowns for one specific kiddo.  Four. Blissful four. What a difference!!! (FOUR!!!)

- I stepped up my parenting game. I almost felt like a teacher: planning out our days ahead of time. I was careful to have a little bit of fun time with friends,  physical activity time, quiet time, and then unstructured play. I was present. I was engaged.  Guess what? I liked it. And I have some pretty amazing kids with some great things to say.

- I became an authority in their lives again. Not a problem with LittleL,  but with the boys, they had started untying apron strings on me. They were listening to their bloggers more than me- this week, they reengaged with me too. While they do listen to me, I think the dialogue changed this week. It was more open, honest, fun, and encouraging. 

- Chores got done. Timely and completely.  It was great! We did less chores at the beginning of the week, and kept life fun to encourage us to get to Friday. We did more and more toward the end of the week,  but they were motivated because there was the promise of ice cream and a movie on Friday night.

- We had fun. Structured and unstructured fun. Talking, swimming, laughing, board games, fun.

So, going forward, what does this mean?

Well, we're going to try to let them have some screens, but nothing close to where it was before.

I remember once,  a mentor of mine, Cheryl, called screens a theif.

She was right: they steal.

They steal attention, brain cells, time, parental control,  imagination.

I let that theif keep stealing things until I had little left to give.

No more.

So, we're going to try to do light screens for now, and if the meltdowns come back, if the time gets stolen, if the obsession returns, then they all go off.

For good.

And I'd be totally OK with that!