Thursday, February 27, 2014

TV Casualty

I haven't written in a while, mainly because things have been crazy. And when things get crazy a lot falls by the wayside, blogging (already a back-burner type thing for me) is the first to go. Another thing that I completely give up on is the tight restraint I want to have over my son's screen time. Screen time is something that's always vexed me. I have a smart, caring, good kid. What's the harm with a little TV? I grew up watching TV, maybe even more than the average kid, but I was also spending tons of time playing outside, drawing, riding my bike, entertaining myself in my room, etc. I turned out fine and I had a great childhood! In fact, the TV memories from my childhood, if anything ENHANCED it!

So why do I beat myself up about screen time? I guess the reason may be as simple as that as parents we can ALWAYS find something to beat ourselves up about. Part of being a good parent is questioning whether or not you're doing the right thing, right? I know plenty of kids that get ZERO screen time, but I knew I could never go that route. #1 because I honestly don't think TV is that bad and #2? Well, let's just be honest, I'm lazy and I need a friggin' break sometimes. The problem lies in the times that I'm overly stressed and mentally exhausted and I turn my parenting responsibilities over to Sponge Bob or Team Umizoomi.

Another component to this is Finn has never really been the kind of kid to play by himself, and as an only child that's an important skill. As much as I love playing pirates and marble track there comes a time when I need to get some shit done around the house. Oh, Hello, Pup Control! I was caught in a trap of 'play with the kid' or 'let the kid watch TV'. This concerned me because I didn't want to raise a kid that always needed to be entertained. I didn't know what to do so I relied on the TV to keep him occupied while I worked, or did laundry or made dinner. It was too much TV. This became clear to me when he began singing jingles from commercials "like a good neighbor statefarm is there!"

After a particularly stressful period of family illness, school vacation and snowstorms TV was at an all time high. School was to begin again on Monday, back to a normal schedule. The perfect time to make a change. Expecting a major backlash I told him that starting Monday he could pick ONE show to watch in the morning. "But what will I doooooooooo?" I told him he'd have to figure something out. And you know what? HE DID. Without complaining (too much) he's been looking at more books, drawing more, playing up in his room (alone), playing outside with the dog, and crazily enough: asking for chores to do around the house. All the while that I'm getting all the shit I need to get done done, which in turn also leaves me more energized for a round of Playmobil pirates vs. schoolchildren.

I hope we can stick to this, as I really can't believe how well it's working. Maybe next time I feel like TV is the only option I should just give my kid a little more credit and let him figure out something to do.
Dry Bones Bowser shoots tape, drinks lava and gets his power from the sun.