If you follow Secrets of Heaven on Facebook, you may already know about our attempts to survive without screens after school. This is not something my husband and I have taken lightly. We decided that it was the best thing for our family.
I drew up a list of things I could suggest that my children do when they said they needed a screen. I wanted to make sure I didn’t weaken when I was tired or the nagging became too much. It’s not that I mind them being bored – quite the opposite. However, I felt I needed a fall-back position.
I’ve had some great suggestions of other things to add you the list. Thank you, everyone! I’ve also had some lovely conversations in the school playground. Lots of parents are in support of the idea, and wish us well. There are others who are relieved to hear we are doing this do that they can reassure their families that they are not alone when screens are removed.
I’ve had a couple of interesting responses. It is almost as if the responders were feeling judged by my actions. Let me put something straight. We are not a “perfect” family, and we are not trying to be. My kids still have screen time before school and at the weekends. Screens aren’t off the agenda totally. My children don’t respond well to being given a time limit. They won’t nicely stop in the middle of a game and start playing with their toys. One of them in particular will yell and scream and will beg (and I do mean beg) to have the computer back. By giving them this restriction I am avoiding a battle.
They have been playing in the garden more: creative, make-believe games. They have seen the wonder of nature in the animals and birds that visit us. They have been amazed that we have runner beans growing on our plants, particularly after we thought they had all been devoured by rabbits. (That’s another story.) Toys that haven’t been touched in a while have come out to be played with. They have taken to eating their tea at the top of the climbing frame.
So, I am not judging anyone about their parenting choices. This is something that we have decided we need to do for our family. It is not meant to be a slight on anyone else.
We make judgements all day, every day. We judge whether or not it is safe to cross the road. We have to decide if a plate is too hot to pick up. We consider the weather before hanging out the washing. We make decisions all of the time based on what we see others doing. We judge as to whether we would behave in the same way. Will we bring our children up in the way we were brought up?
We form opinions on what we see. Just because we have decided that our children will not have screens after school for the time being does not mean we are critical if yours do. Yes, we have had to make a judgement. Just because it is right for us does not mean we think you are wrong.
Well, we are in good company. Kirsty Allsopp is also receiving some flack for her parenting decisions.
If you have any ideas or encouragement for us, I’d love to hear about it.