Monday, July 10, 2006

Who Knew The Kids Giving Up TV Would Be So Hard... On Me?

...And not in the way you might think.

So, I had this brilliant idea at the beginning of summer to cut down on out the kids tv watching and video game playing. It sounds great doesn't it? Yep, I thought so too. Reading! Yes, there will be reading this summer. After all, my soon-to-be-third-grader will be required 30 minutes of reading per night in third grade as opposed to 15 minutes in second grade. I will train him now. And math! Yes, there will be lots of math review for the soon-to-be-sixth-grader whose 5th grade math scores left a lot to be desired. And writing! There will be daily journal writing for all! It will be fantastic. They will go back to school with fully stimulated little brains.

So, I got the necessary materials for my "summer of no t.v." We already had plenty of reading material. Woody has three C.S. Lewis books that he got for Christmas. Buzz has several Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse books that he inherited from Woody. I bought some math workbooks and a journal for each boy. Then, I made the schedule and laid the ground rules:
rule 1: NO television or Game Cube during the week.
rule 1a: (because we need to clarify these things) the week is defined as Monday thru Friday
rule 2: you will read a minimum x amount of minutes each day.
rule 2a: unlike mommy's phone plan, your minutes don't carry over
rule 3 you will do "x" amount of pages in your workbook per day
rule 4 you will write "x" amount of journal pages per day.
rule 4a: single spaced, normal sized writing.

Things were a little rough at first. For example, the first week Buzz went to a soccer camp from 9 to 12 instead of the all day camp with his brother. Hubby took half-days all week so he could be available to pick him up Thanks Hubby! (who doesn't read this blog!). Hubby would feed him lunch and then have him do his reading, writing and workbook. And? When I got home from work, he had nothing to do ((((sigh)))), because he had already finished his stuff! On top of that, twice I came home and found Woody asleep in his bed...where he had been "reading." I also caught Buzz sitting in front of the t.v. a few times, because "he forgot."
Some tweaking of the rules were in order:
rule 5: Start work after mommy gets home.
rule 6: No reading on your bed.
rule 7: Re-read and adhere to rule #1 (and 1a).

The second week went much better. Books were being read and alternate t.v watching activities were being thought of each day.
Anyway, I had a point... oh, the T.V. It used to be that if I told the kids to do something (pick up their clothes, take out the trash, take a shower, etc. I always had the power of turning off the TV if they weren't listening (or worse, hearing but choosing to ignore). And the threat to turn off the video game? Even more powerful, because, OMG, never (ever, under no circumstance)! Yeah, big cardinal sin. We go to mommy hell for that. But? They both know I'll do it if provoked. It was an ace up my sleeve, so to speak.

However, after two weeks of the "summer of no t.v.," they have adjusted. But I, on the other hand, have lost my edge. Why? Because suddenly I am without the almighty power of taking the t.v.. away if they are misbehaving or not listening. The rule was I tell them once (for example), "go pick up your clothes from the bathroom." If get no response, I would turn off the t.v. It was like a non-verbal cue for them. T.v. off? "Oh, time to get up and do what mommy says."
Now? Where is their cue? Why did I think "summer of no t.v." also meant summer of suddenly listening to mommy the first time she says to do something? Is it me or does it seem wrong to grab a book out of your child's hand when you want something done? Saying "Stop reading right now young man and clean your room," has no oomph, you know?
Yesterday, I wanted them to start taking their showers, but they were in the middle of an UNO game. After the third time telling one of them to get in the shower and the other to pick up his stuff in the garage, I actually (out of habit) took three steps toward the t.v (fully intending to turn the power off).... that wasn't on.
Yep, they're fine. Me? I'm still adjusting. Seems the t.v. is more of a crutch for me than I thought, and not in the way that I thought!


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Must be hard good for you I think in long run you will be happier. I don't have a tv but my daughter will watch dvds time to time. Hard thing to do when the tv can give you the rest you need. I am so impressed.

Jen said...

Why doesn't your hubby read your blog? Mine doesn't either, but that may be because he doesn't know about it! LOL! I think if I knew he was reading it, I wouldn't have as much fun...I'd be worried what he'd think.

Crazy MomCat said...

I'm in total awe of you that you deemed a summer of NO TV! I try to be pretty strict with the amount we're watching, but all summer it's being inched up and up and I hate that. This makes me want to crack back down on it and keep it to a minimum.

Babaloo said...

Momcat-Don't be too in awe. Weekends are a virtual t.v./video game marathon. That's when I clean and do laundry...hee hee. It's a trade-off.

Jen-hmm, quick synopsis-hubby didn't know about the blog, found out, reads it off and on, but hasn't come out and told me he found it or reads it. I posted a little bit about it on 6/24 titled "Busted" if you want to check it out!

sw/fm-It is kind of hard, like I said, in ways I didn't anticipate. But, I know it is good for them. Thanks!

Nicole said...

I'm impressed with you and I understand your difficulty. I get so tired with the kids that I often have to talk them into watching TV so I can take a break this summer. What does that say about my parenting??? It says I'm tired. Yet, you're working and still holding fast to your plan. You're my inspiration!

Babaloo said...

You give me waaaaaaay too much credit! My kids are a little older than yours, but when they were younger, t.v. was my salvation too. We all need a break this summer!

Bonnie B said...

Before I had kids, my husband and i didn't have a TV and we'd spend the evenings hiking and reading books out loud to one another.

I admire you. As much as i hate to say this, without the TV I'd get nothing done. I'd spend my days strapped to a rocking chair and watching my kids carve circles into the culdesac with their bikes.

Valerie said...

Congrats to you for doing a no TV summer, I don't think I could do it.