While last week was the no-pacifier week in our home (still going strong thank goodness), somehow this week has become video-free week. I have posted about the kids and their video-watching habit before. We don't own a TV, but let the kids watch on a small DVD player, of which we have had numerous, because they kept on breaking them.
I was becoming increasingly frustrated by this DVD-habit because of 2 things. Mainly, it bothered me that my kids had become addicted to the video. They were constantly requesting videos and while I did not always give in to their demands, I still felt that they were watching too much and that it had become an obsession.
Secondly, I was unhappy with the way they treated the DVDs. They manhandled them, scratched them and threw them under the couch. I have paid numerous fines at the library (our main source of new DVDs because I don't want to buy them) for broken or lost DVDs. Not to mention the fact that they had actually broken the DVD players several times. I wanted them to learn some sort of responsibility, age-appropriate obviously. Meaning if you lose or break the videos or players, you will not get any more.
So Monday morning, when they woke up and right away asked to watch a video (which we never do anyway because Y needs to be downstairs for the bus by 7 40 and there is no time!), I decided something needed to be done. Taking my cue from The Berenstein Bears and Too Much TV, I declared "Vide-Free Week" and told them there would be no videos for a whole week.
I don't really think that Y. or M. really understand that concept, that they cannot watch for a full week. They just understand that, right now, at this moment, Mommy is saying no.
So far we have gone four days without videos. The kids have asked for it and complained, but I think they are getting used to it. While they have said that they are "bored,"
they are also finding other ways to amuse themselves and stay busy. And of course we are still at the park almost every day.
I am not really sure what I am going to do when the week is up. I think I will let them watch again but try to set up clearer rules and stick to 30 minutes a day max, if not every other day. It was also good to see that not only could the kids manage the break from videos, but that I could too. I was relying on the DVD player as a quasi-babysitter way too much, mostly to get things done around the house (laundry, cooking, etc) but also just to have a break.
I think that is okay sometimes, but I do not want to become too dependent on it either.
If anything, I hope this week helps both the children and me find a better balance and see that there are other ways for the kids to be entertained and for me to have a few minutes to myself. What are the TV/Video rules in your home?