This is a vent...probably directionless, but I need to work it through here.
I feel like I am failing my kids. I had all of these grand philosophies in my head about raising kids, and what I would be able to do with them, or how they would grow up. I just *assumed* they would be like me as a child, my two DDs (5 and 7). I grew up in a country with 1 tv channel, and even then, programming was not on throughout the entire day (we had hours of those coloured bars...) I spent my childhood outdoors tons (in the tropics) and READING. Reading EVERYthing I could get my hands on, and my parents supplied endless books.
Fastforward to today. I live in a northern climate. It's winter here. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease 8 years ago, and spent my DDs first few years in an exhausted fog where rising off the couch after BFing all night took herculean strength. We developed some REALLY bad habits in those 'lost years', a form of coping: tv. I don't actually watch tv myself beyond the news and a few shows on the upper channels once in a while (upper = the artsy, Bravo/etc. type channels).
My DDs are addicted to tv. We have a housefull of toys,and lots of books. They'd rather do the screen. I limit. I try to limit. Then I do the endless housework, or school work (I'm in school as well) and they've snuck back on the tv. "Just one more show...I promise!" and I get suckered in, especially if I am working on a paper or something. Then one show becomes three.
Their behaviour changes. They become lethargic and irritable, mouthy and fighty with each other.
They do lots of activities for their age (gymnastics, Guides, etc.) so it's not like they're lumps on a log.
I think of the opportunity cost of tv watching, instead of reading, learning or playing.
It's become so ingrained that I am at a loss about what to do.
Dh and I are doing reno, and decided that 'for daddy's safety, we have to unplug the tv when he's doing the reno'.
DH thinks we should get a timer and do it that way. I know that I'll just have to deal with the whining and tears and tantrums when it's time to turn it off.
I feel like I'm failing my kids by what I've done, and I'm scared that it's too late to undo it. I'm scared that I've permanantly warped their brains, and turned them off reading. I'm scared that they won't know what to do with themselves when I shut the tv off cold-turkey during 'reno' time (=detox time in my mind). i'm scared about my own loss of time to do my own work.
I really want to do this.
Thank you for listening to my vent.
I just wanted to give you a big hug.
I think that any parent who sticks to all of their pre-child ideals once they actually have children probably set the bar really low.
You didn't ruin your kids, I promise.
And, yeah, it will probably be an adjustment. But I'm sure they'll figure things out.
There are a bunch of books I've seen that are supposed to be tv-free activities for kids to do. Maybe buy them one of those? I have one called "Unplugged Play" that has a lot of fun ideas for games.
Don't worry. It's never too late. It's much easier to cut off when the children are young like yours are now, but it's never too late, and you certainly are not failing your children. Just keep trying to quit. If/when you fall off the wagon, then try again. Think of it like quitting smoking. You have to attempt to quit many times before you succeed, but eventually you will succeed, and it will be worth it. When you do succeed, you'll see the difference in your kids in a couple weeks, and you will know that you haven't damaged your kids permanently. :D You are doing just fine.
I think you might be pleasantly surprised at how quickly they adapt.
I'd say you will have to endure two really bad days of whining.
The real question is .... Can YOU adapt? You will have to deal with your kids much more ... If they are not on the boob tube. Pick a time to do it when you are not stressed.
Purchase a couple of KLutz brand books on how to do hemp bracelets and friendship bracelets, and perhaps borrow a few books on cd to listen to as they learn to do some fun crafts.
I suggest cold turkey as being easier than a constant negotiation of how much or when. A month later, you can reintroduce a movie night a week, or an hour a day ... And they will be grateful for it.
We have a pretty strict 1 hr max rule here. Though there are definitely days without any TV.
I find that if I have a really fun activity as an alternative it makes turning off the TV easier "Ok, TV time is over. Now we are going to make muffins and I need your help" kinda thing.
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!