T.V. Free Monday
I love television, so I can’t fault my kids for enjoying it, too. Some days, however, I know the T.V. is on far too much and by bedtime my little ones are bouncing off the walls and it feels like I am well on my way to a major momma meltdown. This past August I decided to make a real effort to reel in the T.V. consumption in our home and we embarked on a family experiment: T.V. Free Monday.
On Mondays I power down the house. The televisions (we have two) are unplugged and the playing begins early. The first time I did this my 3 ½ year old daughter begged and pleaded for close to an hour.
“Pleeeeeeeeeze!” she groaned, oversmiling. Not understanding why I have not hopped to and popped on a Scooby Doo. “I asked nicely! “PLEEEEEZAAA!”
Tugging on my legs, begging and pleading…more tugging…making deals. But we made it through the morning. I kept the kids moving. First, a messy round of cupcake baking, complete with flour in our hair and icing everywhere else. Next, we headed out to the garden where my daughter tasted every herb and ripe veggie she could find and my son noshed on some soil. We rode our bikes, dug holes in the driveway, fed the chickens the worm pies we made in the garden, played on the swings, took a nature walk, collected leaves…and then it was time for lunch.
Being inside reminded my daughter of the beloved television, so the begging began again. I needed a fun distraction. School had not started yet, so we headed to the playground at the elementary school. Man, oh, man! Those slides are seriously fast!
Back home for more play. Puzzles…two…no, three…then putting away the puzzles. Barbie dolls filled about an hour and tired out my boy. Too bad his sister no longer naps. Okay, one down. My daughter accompanies me to the kitchen where I arm her with a spray bottle of water and a towel. She gets to work shining up the house (wetting it down, actually) while Momma does the dishes. Vacuuming can be fun, right?
My boy is awake. Time for reading. We choose a pile of books and read every one, taking quick breaks to grapple over who gets to sit in my lap, who gets to turn the page, who gets to choose the next book. They start playing on their own and I inch away, enjoying the moment.
Every T.V. Free Monday has grown easier since the first, and by November it has become a regular weekly event. It is clear to me that our days without television are more peaceful, more interesting, more playful and more loving. My children are happy and calm at the end of the day, and we all seem to sleep a bit better. Dare I suggest T.V. Free December?