The TV got broken. It involved a teenager, a temper, and lack of impulse control.
We spend a couple of years without cable, but never without TV altogether. We watched movies and had a Netflix membership, and could watch shows through our PS3.
No TV is different. We actually are virtually electronic free right now- our desktop computer isn’t working, so no internet or games for the kids. The TV is down – and so is the PlayStation. My kindle is also on the fritz.
We’re are being dragged kicking and screaming into a electronic free world. Going cold turkey.
Although if you asked me about it, I would have said we don’t watch that much TV. Husband usually has it on but most of the kids don’t spend hours parked in front of it (maybe because hubs fave show is Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives- not exactly riveting for a 6 year old.)
But the reality is, we did watch a lot of TV. And I did use it as a crutch. When Miss A and Mr X started getting out of control, with wild horseplay- I’d ask one of the kids to find them a show. When one of the older kids grumbled about doing chores around the house, I’d soothe them with a promise that they could pick out something to watch. (When you have a big family, getting to pick the show is a high privilege, indeed!)
We were using TV as a medication, a bandaid to cover gaps in child training and character formation.
TV Free Week is a popular item on parenting blogs. If you browse Pinterest, you can find hundred of pins listing 10, 50, or 101 things to do without TV. Those things are useful, in a way. Smart mamas always have something they can pull out of their sleeve when the kids desperately need some sort of direction.
But, in essence, often the TV Free activities are merely a substitution. It’s replacement entertainment- instead of Phineas and Ferb, it’s Mom making paint out of milk and KoolAid packets on a cookie sheet, then setting up a pre-planned activity. The kids just need to show up.
Filler activities that still have no useful purpose. It makes Mom the primary entertainer, rather than the primary teacher.
Time spent with parents is a good thing. However, I am of the unpopular opinion that time spent with parents should not always be kid-centered. I think it’s vital for kids to see their parents at work, and to be brought alongside that work.
Mindless entertainment is like cotton candy. Occasionally a fun treat, but you can’t live on it. You shouldn’t have it every day, and too much causes ill effects.
It is not my responsibility to entertain my child. It’s my duty to teach them to become responsible adults. And so, I find myself rejecting the lists of Boredom Busters that require Mom (me!) to orchestrate grand projects, gather supplies, make templates, purchase special items (and then clean up after it all.)
Certainly, there is much value in child’s play. But I’m rebelling. I’m letting child’s play be child’s play. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy a tea party or two. Coloring? I’m all over that. But otherwise? I’m leaving my kids to their own devices.
To play their own games. Yes, this means that Mr X will have to be both the tan and the green army men in his game. This means that Miss V will have to provide voices for the Littlest Pet Shop bunny and the LPS dogs. The kids are more than welcome to devise their own milk paint experiments- doing it themselves, including cleanup. (That’s not mindless entertainment, that’s rudimentary project management and planning. Good skills to develop!)
And since I’m not handing them entertainment on a silver platter, it means that they will have to entertain themselves.
It means that my kids might just get bored.
Is there value to boredom?
I think so. Because essentially, boredom is space. Breathing room.
Room for the mind to wander. Room to create individual thoughts, form individual opinions. Room to grow.
Do you let your kids get bored, or do you avoid it at all costs?
Works for Me Wednesday