Monday, June 4, 2012

Screen-Free Day

Somehow over the past six months or so, my kids have become completely addicted to anything with a screen.
They've always watched tv and played video games on and off, but lately, it seems to be CONSTANT. And the worst part is, when it's time to turn the tv off, or give up a turn on the computer, or the battery on the iPhone finally dies, the whining starts.
"I'm BORED!"
"There's NOTHING to DO!"
"I don't have ANYTHING to play with!"
Suggestions to clean or possibly start boxing up some of their unused and apparently unwanted toys are always met with cries of, "No! I still want that! I just don't want to play with it NOW! When is my turn on the computer?" Once I successfully convinced Princess to read a book if she was so bored, but usually I just get eye rolling.
So last night I warned them. Today was going to be a screen-free day. No PlayStation 3. No Netflix. No Leapster Explorers. No iPhones. No computer, even for school-related activities. NO SCREENS.
Needless to say, they were not overjoyed at the concept. "But what will we DO all day?" they cried!
When I got up, of course, they had already snuck out to the living room and turned everything on, and they were SHOCKED when I went around turning things off and collecting the small screens. SHOCKED,  I tell you! "You mean you really MEANT that????"
Distracting them through breakfast and schoolwork time was not too difficult, and I only heard small inquiries like, "But....if we do all our schoolwork, THEN we can have them back, right? What do you MEAN, no?" Then we headed off the initial round of boredom with a polymer project, followed by lunch, and then making rock candy.
But then....we were done with the planned activities for the day.
Princess and Puppy caught on a lot faster, and vanished into Princess's room, where I could hear happy squeals and probable jumping on the bed.
Little Professor wasn't having it. He couldn't think of a single thing that sounded like fun. Not one. He even tried just sitting on the couch and staring at me, waiting for me to give in. I don't know why he thinks things like that will work, but he keeps trying. He's persistent.
FINALLY, he decided that he might as well play with Legos, since there wasn't ANYTHING fun to do in the whole world unless it was playing Uncharted 3. Pretty soon, he was wandering out to show me his creations. Then the other kids wanted to play, and the next thing I knew, my living room floor was ankle deep in an entire Lego village! When they eventually tired of Legos, they all, unprompted, went to play in the boys' room, and when I peeked back to see why it was so quiet, I discovered a pirate ship built out of pop-up play tents taking up most of the room. All afternoon, there was only one fight, and NO whining about not being allowed to turn on the television. And they hopefully will remember that there ARE other fun, non-electronic things to do tomorrow...when we do it all over again ;)