Trying to Relax About Resting

The Menchildren and I are taking the day off. We didn’t go running this morning (scheduled rest day). We didn’t go to music class (Manchild 1 slept in too late). We didn’t get out to do the laundry until 1:00 (Manchild 2 took a 3 hour nap — unheard of!). We are watching Ratatouille for the nth time (it is Manchild 1’s favorite . . . the rats creep me out). It is still hot out and still humid, and yet I still turned the oven up to 450 for 45 minutes just so we could have delicious bread for dinner. I have only had 2 otter pops today (actually, they are fla.vor.ice but otter pops sounds better), but I’m looking forward to some homemade pumpkin ice cream later.

Just fyi, I’m not a big fan of letting my kids watch movies very often, although I sometimes have a hard time remembering why. Like right now, Manchild 1 is completely oblivious to the fact that his little brother demolished his train of little cars, something that elicits shrieking and whining and begging for the removal of the crawler on most occasions. It is lovely for Manchild 2 to be able to wander and explore unmolested while Manchild 1 giggles at the antics of a cooking rat. Sure, I’d rather they play together, or that Manchild 1 draw pictures or build things, but it isn’t going to kill him to watch a movie once in a while. Imaginative activities are preferable, but so is peace, quiet, and sanity. If it is a choice between me losing my patience and feeling guilty about letting the kids watch a show, I’m going to pick the show. At least some of the time.

What are your thoughts on children and screen time? I grew up in a home where tv-watching was criminal behavior and planned to loosen things up a little bit for my own kids, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the balance. Any insights?

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5 Comments

  1. I hear ya on the balance thing. I usually let Anna watch one 20-30 min movie a day while I make dinner, or do sewing, or nurse Levi. But occasionally, it’s 2 or 3 little movies if I’m eager to get a project done or I just can’t handle her whining for one more single second. I think you’ve got the right idea. If there are other nice things happening as a result of the movie (the kids are happy and calm at the end and you either rest or get things done) then it’s a go. And I have no worries of you ever letting the TV get out of control.

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  2. This is for a little older, but I think I learned wonderful negotiating skills from my parents’ rule of one, thirty-minute show a day. FOR THE HOUSE. So, my brother may have used my hatred of vacuuming to get his way MANY times. I plan on following my parents’ lead.

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  3. lizzie

    August 2nd, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I think I do like the idea of a little bit a day . . . although it is kind of funny because I don’t know that at this point in our life we actually have 30 minutes a day to spare. And Manchild 1 doesn’t actually bug me about it every day . . . so I guess I count myself lucky and prepare myself for when he is older and it does become a daily part of our life.

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  4. I always let me boys watch Curious George at 8 am. It is part of our schedule. It gives me a little extra time to get myself ready and prepared for the day (or if I’m feeling especially lazy give me cuddle time with the boys). I see nothing wrong with it, and I actually look forward to a little “me time” Because if I’m not happy, neither are they. Sometimes during the day we stick on a 20-minute movie for a break and allows me not to feel like I have to be go-go-go all the time.

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  5. lizzie

    August 3rd, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I’m curious, Jodie, does having that time scheduled into every day keep them from begging you to watch a show later in the day? I wonder if we did a similar thing if M1 would pester me for more tv later in the day or if he would just know that he had is tv time and now he needs to do something else. I think it may be worth a shot. I always try to get him to draw a picture or play with toys before he watches anything, but if we just got that out of the way then maybe he would be more inclined to draw and build and whatever else.

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