Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Screen Month

I completely fell off my wagon of monthly resolutions when April came around. We got busy and felt like we were merely surviving life those weeks. Trying to get through each day with three cranky kids who were so over long work hours for Mike, I often just gave in and handed them an iPad or tablet of some sort in the afternoons to keep them calm and to keep my sanity in check. By the end of the month we were sort of able to get ourselves back into a routine, but our kids were crazy cranky, whiny, sassy and stubborn. They threw more tantrums than Mike or I could count. We tried making up for the loss time with special outings or one on one time with daddy whether it was playing legos or even going to the park.

Mike and I have always been pretty strict with screen time, but when the days got long it was just easier to say ‘yep here ya go!’ I used the tablets to keep them quiet so I could get some cleaning done or make dinner. However, I felt like I was going to lose my freaking mind with their attitudes and knew we needed to really kick our crap to the curb and do some hardcore discipline and routines. Knowing we had an upcoming trip at the end of this month we decided to get rid of the mobile devices: iPads, LeapPads and iPods...seriously anything that had games, movies, or shows. We're calling it No Screen Month. At first the kids felt like we had completely ended their world. After weeks of being able to use them in the afternoons and now nothing was pretty devastating to both of them. We had a lot of tears, whining and I can’t even tell you how many questions of ‘WHY?????’ and my favorite...”I can’t have it for FOREVER?!?!!”  I didn’t know what was worse...dealing with the tantrums before we cut the cord or after. Trust me there were plenty of times where we so badly wanted to GIVE IN!!!! But we didn’t. Somehow we stayed strong and it’s been AWESOME!

Our kids know the tablets aren’t an option so they don’t even ask any more! They’ve found ways to fix their boredom on their own. They’ve always loved reading books, but the level of their literature interest has sky rocketed. I’ve also been struggling to get Finn interested in puzzles, but now he plays with them every day. He’s also picking up more words which is a huge answered prayer and I’m so grateful! The playroom is in complete disarray every. single. day. But I don’t mind, because it’s getting played in. Together Kensi and Finn have come up with the most creative ways to play. Sometimes I can find them rummaging through the kitchen drawers and cabinets because they’re ‘building something super cool!” They’re more hands on now then they were a couple months ago and it’s incredible to watch.

I’m not condoning any parent who let’s their kid use a tablet, but I am encouraging everyone to try taking a break from them and just see what happens. We are much more connected as a family where we spend our down time playing games, telling stories or playing pretend which is so much better than letting a screen have our time. When we travel in a couple weeks we will have the tablets with us, but I have other options to give them first. I also know it will be another struggle once we get back home and getting back into our new routine, but I’m willing to do it all over again. So get unplugged and enjoy something real.

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