It’s winter time, and we all just want to stay indoors. Staying indoors leads to sitting in front of the television. Or iPad. Or Xbox. Or iPod. Or Computer. Screens everywhere! Kids LOVE the TV. And video games. And social media. They’d be happy to sit in front of a screen and be a zombie all day, every day! But we, the parents, hate how much they’re in front of a screen. We want them outdoors! We want them interacting! We want them cleaning up their darn messes! We want our kids off the couch.
There is ONE thing you can do, as a parent, to get your kids off the couch.
It’s gonna be hard.
There’s going to be protest.
And possibly tears.
But it.will.be.worth it!
The ONE Thing That Will Get Your Kids Off the Couch
No screen time from Monday to Thursday.
It’s SUPER extreme.
It’s borderline mean!
Some would even say
really, really mean.
(Next Dr. Seuss right here)
But if you implement this rule in your house, your kids are going to spend less time in front of screens! They’ll be sitting on the couch less!
You can modify it for your home, depending on the ages of your kids, and what they’re using technology for. Maybe in your home, it would just be No TV from Monday-Thursday, or just Video games. Perhaps you think just a ban on Tuesdays and Thursdays would be helpful.
Don’t worry. This rule only applies to the kids, not you. Unless, of course, you like that idea for yourself. Truth is, you’ll get more done. You’ll have more pillow fights with your spouse (that’s experience talkin’). You’ll get more sleep. You’ll read more books!
I know what you’re thinking: But what about when they’re driving me crazy?
A lot of us use tv, especially for the younger kids, to keep our kids out of our hair. Like when you’re cooking supper. Or answering emails. Or making a phone call. Or wanting 20 minutes by yourself.
You’re going to need alternatives.
How to Make Dinner without Going Crazy
“Kids Have to Stay in The Playroom” rule
- Kids are banned from hanging out in the kitchen when you’re cooking (why do they always want to hover?). Make it a specific time of day. Or just declare it when you’re about to begin.
- Got toddlers or preschoolers? Use a gate people. Sure, they’re going to scream at you. But once it’s the norm, they’ll get over it. And, you’re the boss. So they’re just going to have to deal. Just make a quick, simple dinner the first few nights while you’re trying to implement it and you’re listening to screaming, k?
- Don’t have a separate space? Send kids to play in their bedroom. Tell them they have to stay there. It’s that easy. Siblings can play together in one room or you can separate them. Your call. ‘Cause, you’re the boss!
- Make dinner time reading time. While you’re cooking, the kids have to sit quietly and look at books. Make it a habit to visit the local library regularly so you have new, fun books available for them! Maybe even save this basket so it’s only used during dinner making. Trust me. Kids get excited over new books!
What about when you need 20 minutes to yourself?
- Have a Quiet Time. This can be the same time everyday (this will change your life!). Or, you can make it quiet time whenever you need it. They hang out in their room. Door closed, or gated, or locked. Set a timer. When the timer goes off, they can come out. They’re not in trouble, they’re just playing or resting. You can be making your phone calls, answering emails, drinking a hot coffee S.L.O.W.L.Y or napping in your room!
- Play hide-n-seek with your kids. Tuck a chocolate bar in your back pocket. When it’s your turn to hide, go into the hardest-to-find spot. Sit and eat your chocolate bar in the quiet darkness. Glory!
What about when there’s been a lot of snow days or rainy days and you’re all going a little stir crazy?
YOU’RE THE BOSS. Period. Remember that!
You can ‘reward’ your kids and tell them that morning that if they’re on their best behaviour, you’ll let them play video games that afternoon, even though it’s a Thursday. Your kids will be angels all morning, and they’ll be nominating you for parent-of-of the year for your generosity and kindness. Win-win! You can do this whenever you need to (as long as it’s not everyday, haha!)
Here’s what’s going to happen if you take this step of faith (it really is one)
- You’ll find out that it’s not that hard after all
- You’ll spend more time together as a family
- Your kids will start to play together better
- Your kids will become rock stars at entertaining themselves
- Your kids will use their imaginations
- Your kids will create things that impress you
- Your kids will spend more time outside
Screen time also becomes a reward that you can take away as a consequence
“I’ve been noticing that you’ve been ________ lately. If your behaviour doesn’t change, I’m going to have to take away your screen time on Saturday.”
This is an awesome carrot to dangle in front of them!!!! And I don’t mean that in a mean way. I mean, it’s just really effective at motivating them to A) change B) take you seriously. Just remember that they won’t take you seriously if you don’t take it away the first time they don’t change their behaviour. You have a back bone. Use it! Don’t worry. The world won’t end when your kid has a tantrum over losing screen time. You’ll just earn some R.E.S.P.E.C.T!
Now get out there and change your families’ life!
(Oh, and while your kids are off the couch, now is your chance to spray it with some Norwex Mattress Spray to get rid of the Dustmites living in it!)