Monday, August 26, 2013

pulling the plug

We're changing things up around here: No tv during the week. Zip, zilch, nada.
Some of you are probably a lot smarter than I am and had this going on from the get-go. I, on the other hand, always foolishly thought,  we've always had a nice balance... no need to get drastic. ;) 

You see, my kids didn't used to watch too much tv. 
But as they've gotten older, it's gotten to be more and more... and now they don't like to watch the same things, so that's more and more time that the tv's on... mostly, I blame it on the all-things-screen obsessed going-on-eight-year-old boy in my house. 
Regardless, however we got here, it's gotten out of hand. Waaay out of hand.

The two biggies right now:
My kids didn't watch Spongebob until lately.  And now suddenly Sawyer is obsessed. OBSESSED.
And Savannah is likewise preoccupied with watching every single Full House episode known to man.
She'll get up at 6:30 in the morning on the weekends to watch the reruns.  And have the DVR record it when she leaves for school.
Meanwhile, Sawyer discovered that he gets a little taste of (his idea of)heaven with the fact that Spongebob is in fact on one certain channel for hours straight every afternoon when he gets home from school, making it so convenient to kick off his shoes, grab a snack and relax after a hard day at school, soaking up all the Sponginess... and losing all track of time in the real world.

Add to those tendencies suddenly fuller schedules and a big handful of things that need to get done each day... and we're in trouble. Sorry, but summer's over kiddos!

Sawyer has a tiny bit of homework (practice work) most every day... that is a huge fight to get him to do.  I'm hoping that snapping him out of his Spongebrain er, Bob coma will help with that. Also, his teacher moved him up to the highest spelling group (he's in the highest reading group, but his spelling is a struggle we've had going on way, way below that) wanting to really push him and see how it goes, so he really needs to spend a good amount of time on his spelling list every day of every week.  Plus, you know, actual reading time each day.  And how about actual childhood playing and oh yeah, eating.  And soccer on Thursdays. And we still enforce enjoy early bedtimes. ;)

But SJ is actually the one who is a little more crammed for schedule.  She gets home an hour later now that she's in middle school, so her home afternoon time doesn't even start until almost 4:30.  That will leave three short hours 'til bedtime (that's reading in bed time for her) to do any homework, spend 30 minutes each day practicing multiplication facts (a stickler for her, so we're spending some real time working on it), practice piano, practice for band, and of course eat dinner, and oh yeah, it'd be nice if she could help clean up and hopefully relax and actually spend some time with her family.  Oh and Mondays are minus an hour to go to actual piano lessons.  Luckily, she doesn't get on the bus until 8 in the morning, so she has a extra little leeway in the a.m. as compared to Sawyer.

Anyway, all that to say... I made the executive decision to unplug the tv during the week. 
[not literally. this is only as far as the kids are concerned. the grown-ups?... are you kidding?  all the new shows are about to start up for the fall!]
I also made up some little magnetic charts for the kids to "plan" their own afternoons each day... handing them the responsibility of looking at their time and fitting things in to get everything done that they need to get done.  They have to slot in time for homework and practice and so on and so forth.  And of course snack time and free time...
...that doesn't include the television. 
I expected that little detail to be met with an uproar... but surprisingly, they agreed to it easily after I showed them how it just wasn't smart to waste time with tv right now... and after I reminded Sawyer especially that it was making it really hard for him to be cooperative with getting his spelling and homework done the best that he could.
Dare I say, they actually agreed with me. And got busy planning their Monday afternoon ahead of time... ;)

So, we had talked (and agreed) about it over the weekend, but I was braced for complaints this first morning as well. (tv has almost always been on first thing in the morning around here... kind of some brainless wake up time for me the kids)
But complaints never surfaced.

So it makes this choice a lot easier.  So far. ;)
Check back in with me when I have a fussy baby, I'm trying to get breakfast made, lunches packed, dinner ready, I have the two bigger kids at each others' throats, Ryan's working late, and I'm ready for the day to have been over at 4pm.

How about your house?  Do you have to regulate tv during the week vs the weekends? Are your seven-year-olds kids as obsessed as mine with screen time?? What works for you?


Chrissy said...

SO OBSESSED!!!! How did you make the magnets? What a GREAT idea!

heather said...

Chrissy, I just cut up colored cardstock and (planned on using the strips of sticky magnets, but couldn't find mine) cut up a flat magnet(upwards sports car magnets we had)and glued a small square on the back.
I really like this little chart... the kids love that they get a "say" in their schedule and taking responsibility for their time. It's made a big difference so far. Sawyer -who despises homework and practice- is on top of it and eager to do it now that he can delegate it himself. :)

Chrissy said...

It is brilliant. I think I know my project for tomorrow.

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