Well, its been a week since I took a no TV stance with our kids. I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results. Little Leo, at 20 months, is like a whole new kid. It took him a few days to stop asking for "ToomiZoomi" and "Yabba" (Team Umizoomi and Yo Gabba Gabba in case you were wondering). I told him that the TV was broken, and he pretty much left it alone. He will now go and draw, or play with his blocks, or feed his doll while I clean up in the kitchen instead of wailing nonstop. Of course he still wants me to play with him, but there is a new calm about him that wasn't there before.
Finn, on the other hand, seems about the same with or without TV. We've decided to allow him to earn the privilege of watching a show with safe/respectful/kind behavior toward his brother and parents. So far, that is working really well for everyone. Once he earns 10 "stars" on his behavior chart he can redeem them for a half-hour show to be watched whenever Leo is next asleep. It is also turning into some extra snuggle time for he and I, which is hard to come by with baby brother around.
LESSON: Sometimes, you just have to do that hard thing to get the desired result.
The fallout from our trip to Mexico has been pretty intense. Leo (20 months) has been crying and throwing more tantrums than usual. Finn (5 years) bit a kid at gymnastics and hit a kid at school. Not cool. Time for mommy to come up with a plan.
I've been reading the book Simplicity Parenting and giving some thought as to how the ideas might apply to our family. One of the big messages is that children need simple, orderly, calm days (punctuated by occasional special activities). I'm starting to wonder if there has just been too much going on in Finn's life. He gets so excited to see his grandparents, but perhaps 5 days of nonstop activity with Grammie and Pop Pop was just too much. So in an attempt to balance the scales, we are turning off the TV for a week. We are staying home and playing, cooking, and reading together. We are taking a vacation from stimulation. Day 1 is going pretty well so far. Wish us luck.
Derick and I just got back from a 5 day trip to Sayulita, Mexico. Aside from partying and attending the most amazing wedding ever (salsa band, fireworks, pinatas), we took a little time to relax and unwind. There were many times during the trip that we said to each other "We should just stay here." And I got to thinking about what is so wonderful about being on vacation, and how I can incorporate that feeling into our everyday lives.
I think what it comes down to is this: on vacation we have fewer responsibilities, we spend more time outside, we try new things, we expect to spend time together, we live in a clutter-free zone, and we have fewer decisions to make about our food and clothing.
What do you think? Are there ways to make our everyday lives feel like vacation?