I love media. I use it for just about everything . . .communicating with family, teaching lessons, reading books, looking up information, you get the picture. That commercial where the mom is looking on Google about a president for her daughter's costume would be typical day here. "Mom, what is such and such?" Out I whip my Tablet like some cowboy's six-shooter to find the information.
Every once in a while it gets to be a bit much so I call a truce and tell the kids "I declare a no media day!" There are no banners, no message on the wall, just me walking up to the t.v. and turning it off. This went over REALLY well with my kids who were looking forward to spending Sunday morning watching new episodes of Ninjago.
"No "buts", you guys have to find something else to do to occupy your time rather than watching t.v."
No sooner said than Sam pipes up with, "Can I play the Wii or the computer?"
"No, that's still sitting behind a screen. You need to find something to do like reading a book or playing with the gazllion toys sitting in your room."
For Liam, this is not a problem. He quickly ran to his room, pulled out some Star Wars toys and then ran next door to one of his friends. So that Ayden had someone to play with I told them to conquer the galaxy in our back yard. Though a bit cold and a LOT windy, Liam, Ayden and two of their friends spent practically the whole day lost in imagination. Later on, when the temperatures started to dip a bit too much, Liam brought everyone into his room for a pirate adventure with their Playmobiles.
What did Sam do? He walked over to where we keep the Wii games, grabbed the playbook on Zelda, Twilight Princess and started reading.
"Why don't you go play with the kids? They are having a great time playing pirates."
"No, I'm fine here by myself," which has become the norm for Samuel. Sam, who used to be so social when he was a toddler is now becoming more and more of a loner. I'm chalking it up to the pre-teen age. It's not that he doesn't like people, he just likes being alone. I can't say I blame him as I am much the same way.
In this house it is nigh near impossible to have alone time (trust me, I've tried) so when he comes complaining to me that his little brother won't leave him alone I just smile and shake my head. "Dear one, you still do the same thing to me when I need my 30 minutes practice time (I play the cello) or when I'm trying to wash my face, or brush my teeth. We live in a small house with five people. Privacy is probably the last thing you are going to get here. You might as well invite him into the game and see what stories you two can create."
Eventually 5 o'clock rolled around. Liam and Ayden's friends had to go home. Here is where they started squirrming.
"Can I play the Wii?" asked Sam, with Liam and Ayden chiming in that they want to play too.
Five minutes later . . ."Can I play on the Tablet?"
"But Mooooom, there is nothing else to do"
"Sure there is. You can read a book."
"Can I play on the computer?" as if somehow approaching me with all the different media types we have in this house will make a difference.
I don't normally like to watch my kids squirm . . . okay, maybe I do, but my husband and I were having a good chuckle over how much our kids felt deprived because they didn't have access to all the media devices in our house. The only allowance we made was for reading books. I've been reading C.S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy on my Kindle. I told Sam that the only way he'd be able to get his hands on the Tablet is if he sat next to me and read a book too. He chose Rick Riordan's "Red Pyriamid" series.
What was the end result of a no media day? Today is Monday. We are taking a school break today because Sam has a bad cough. Both Sam and Liam are sitting on the couch reading. Liam is reading Rick Riordan's fourth book in the Percy Jackson series and Samuel is still persuing Riordan's Red Pyriamid. Ayden is running around collecting various cars, making stories out their endless adventures.