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Thursday, September 30, 2010


By and large, I believe I am a pretty good parent.

I do all the usual things that most involved parents do:
get involved in the kids' schools, spend time with my kids,
transport them to their activities, monitor their lives.

However, there has been one area that I have struggled with
and that is limiting my kids' access to electronics.
In some ways, it has been purposeful:
I feel that after a day of being at school,
"chillaxing" with a tv show or two, or playing the Wii
or whatever is fine for a time.

With my older two, this wasn't a problem.
However, with my youngest, being able to "turn off" the electronics
was an issue.
And because he also tended to be my most active, least focused
and most likely to require my attention kid, I let it go.
As long as he was getting his schoolwork done, I didn't monitor it much.

But deep inside, I knew I was being lazy.
I knew that he could probably do better in his schoolwork
and I knew that this child who didn't really like to read probably would read more
without the competition from the TV and video games.

Last week, after the lying episode, I imposed the consequence that hits Trey the hardest:
I took away all his screen time from that Wednesday until Saturday.
No TV, no DS, no Wii, no computer. Nothing.

The change in him was nothing short of remarkable.

What I saw was this nervous energy in him just dissipate.

It was almost like this constant refrain in his head of wanting to get
to whatever the electronic thing just evaporated
and suddenly, he was able to do so much more.

I know this isn't rocket science.
Most of you are probably thinking "Well, DUH."

But really, it was much more of a profound change than just saying
he had nothing else to do.
It was as if all the noise in his brain just shut off.
Like he was coming out of a hibernation and was blinking into the sun.

I had no idea how much the CONCEPT of playing electronics had been affecting him.

After seeing this, I had no choice but to make a change in our home.
Effective this week, there is no electronic usage before 7 PM.
Then, assuming all homework has been done and approved,
chores done, dinner eaten, showers taken and teeth are brushed,
then electronics are allowed until reading time at 8 PM.

I am really so pleased at this change in him.
I am disappointed in myself for not doing something sooner
but glad that I am able to change this course while he is still young.


Gina said...

Wow. It must have been a very dramatic issue for you to be able to see change so quickly. Good for you for making the hard choice (and I do know how hard it is!) to limit access.

jen@odbt said...

I try to limit electronics too during the school week. I'm glad the change has been positive for all.