I’ve been noticing lately how much time my child spends either asking to watch a movie/Netflix, or actually watching a movie/Netflix. You want to know what I found out? Here’s a hint…it’s more than I would said if you had asked a few weeks ago.
How much more?? A LOT! (Today a drawer got stuck and she asked if it had run out of batteries. )
I’ve been working on writing, crafting, sewing, and so forth…and time slips away from me. Which is not excuse, I agree. When I tell her she can watch ONE EPISODE I need to pay attention and turn it off as soon as the credits roll. Sometimes, even when I’ve been sitting with her for the entire show, I don’t even realize that the episode has tolled over into the next. My focus isn’t just split, it’s almost completely gone.
The bottom line is, I need to do a better job. I watch where she’s at and make sure she isn’t playing near or with anything that could injure her. Now I need to make sure she isn’t just on the television all the time. In order to do that, I need to set a better example.
I’m rarely watching shows at the moment. Usually when I watch a show, I’m crafting or writing at the same time. It’s background for me, and often includes an element that I’m writing about. But she’s just almost 3 and, while whip-smart and gorgeous (she takes after he mother!), she isn’t mature enough (at all) to understand that Mommy’s job is to be on technology, but hers it to play.
How do I fix that? Well, Mommy’s job is to write and to craft and to PLAY WITH HER MONKEY! All things I can do without the computer or the television.
I thought there might be another parent or two (or auntie, uncle, grandparent, etc) out there that could be struggling with this same issue. No matter the child’s age, you can find non-tech things to do with them. In that spirit, here is a list of things to do with your children that does not involve staring at technology.
Quick Note: Please don’t be afraid! I promise that public places, sunlight, fresh air, real honest to goodness hold in your hands physical toys and books, glue, glitter, paper, etc are all fairly safe for your family. In fact, before the past 20 or so years happened, they were ALL THE RAGE for hundreds of years!
Screen Free Activities:
1) Pull out that old CD player (or if you’re lucky enough, tape/8-track/vinyl record player), blow the dust off the old cases, and have a ‘retro’ dance party! Kids from 0-Adult will pretend to be disgusted and embarrassed, and then will begin to emulate your moves.
2) Play dress up! Get out your old clothes, silly party favor wiggly headbands, etc. and dress up. OR Pick out outfits for each other and then have a fashion show.
3) Take the kid(s) thrift shopping, downtown to the cute local stores shopping, or to some other area of shops you have either always wanted to check out or have enjoyed without the little whirlwinds. Make sure its not a china shop, and go for it! Thrift shops are a great source for dress up items and cool painting projects! Combine #1-3 for an EPIC DAY that will have everyone forgetting their lack of screens.
4) Find nearby museums, petting zoos, kid zones, etc. There are more than you think and they often go unnoticed in our day to day existences. Search them out, drag the kids, and watch the fun happen. They won’t even realize they learned something in the process.
5) Art projects: This can be as simple as grabbing a few large sheets of paper, several colors of whatever drawing utensil you prefer (i.e. crayon, colored pencil, marker, finger paints), and the kids. Lay out on the floor, and CREATE! Add glitter, cut and paste objects, etc to create something unique and special. Then either frame them or just tape them up in a display area. Make a habit of it, change the artwork out, and save what you take down to either make a memory book from, or have screen printed on material for quilts etc. Or just, you know, use material to begin with.
6) Purchase plain material, fabric markers or paints, and embellishments. Have everyone take a piece or a section of the material, and let them decorate! The material can then be made into whatever you want it to be.
7) Story Time: Make up stories, write stories, read your books. Take a huge bag of books, some water bottles, a few apples (or snacks), and a big blanket. Sit outside and read together. Read to each other, read to the wind, read to yourselves, but read together.
8) Make a blanket fort. read in there. Play board games in the fort. Sleep in the fort.
9) WATER BALLOON FIGHT!!!!!!! (’nuff said)
10) I don’t care how old the kids are…go play at the park. Seriously, Go. Now. Play. SLIDE
11) Go to the Lake. Build a fire. Eat S’mores. Crack Jokes. Sing Songs. LIVE
12) Learn how to turn a cartwheel. Think you still know how? Try. Now raise your hand if your kid needs to re-teach you when they can stop laughing and breath again.
13) Cook together. I know, I know. I can hear the toddler moms and the parents of teenage boys all lamenting about messes and knives. Here’s the deal…if I pick up after her, my Monkey forgets that she needs to pick up after herself pretty quickly. But the days I make her help me clean, she loves playing the cleaning games and she remembers how to put things away for a while afterwards. And the mixing, measuring, spooning, baking parts of how the mess got made? “Forget about it!” She created a baking song that she now sings when in her play kitchen. It goes something like “Mix, mix, mix, mix, OH I’M SO HAPPY! MOMMY AND ME MIX MIX BECAUSE I’M SO HAPPY! Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix” (she also begged until someone got her one of those little miniature wire whisks. She has to be able to mix in her mini-bowls you know!) Go, cook with them, teach them, learn from them. Make your own pizza and put down that take-out menu!
There are hundreds of ideas out there for things to do without using screens. I’m not saying you can’t ever watch anything again. Please, I’m on the computer, looking at the screen while I type this! Just watch what you’re doing, see how many hours you are ok’ing for your family. Make sure they (and you) know what the most important things are in life. Because I promise you, the screen can be replaced if it breaks. It’s probably going to be a lot more difficult to replace the bridges we burned while everyone concentrated on the smart phone, tablet, laptop, and television instead of on their family.
May your life be blessed and full of love. May your inspiration never run dry, and your bridges stay firm.
I look forward to hearing from you all!
You them all over the place, lists of the Top 5 Reasons/Things/ETC. Here is my contribution to the madness…
The Top 5 Things that I love the MOST in my life!
1) My God.
Without sounding too preachy here, there were a lot of times in my past that I felt alone, unwanted, useless, etc. My God helped me deal, carried me through, and brought me to where I am now.
2) My Daughter.
I will admit that I started out on this path scared senseless and it hasn’t gotten much better. I mean, raising a child ‘on my own’ (without a partner anyway) was a daunting, frightening, and sad thought. Now, I adore my Monkey and couldn’t imagine a life without her, or sometimes even with a partner. Someday I hope to find the man God wants us to have. Until then, she’s my one and only and I couldn’t be more blessed!
3) My Family
I cannot begin to describe the amazing family that I’ve been given. My parents go above and beyond what even some of my friends’ parents would do. They are the embodiment of good role models and Christian teachers and having them here in our lives is amazing. My grandparents, both sets, are interesting and love my daughter to pieces and all of the aunts and uncles are completely amazing to us. We are surrounded by love, laughter, and light.
For as long as I can remember, I have been telling stories. Characters, lines, themes, and settings swirl through my brain like food in a processor. Their voices and images interrupt everything I do and I am (usually) happy to oblige their insistence. Happily, I seem to have been blessed with a bit of talent to go with the drive.
5) My Friends
To be honest with you, I almost put nature(i.e. the BEACH) in this spot. I have very few friends at this point in my life and the ones I do still have are more family than anything else. However, I am blessed with some amazing people in my life. People that have been with my since early childhood, elementary school, high school, college, and now work friends. Though there are only three or less from each category that I speak to anymore, I know that I am loved, accepted, and put up with no matter what! That is at least as good as the ocean…Ok, it may be even better.
What are your top 5 things? Is there another list you would like me to make? I can’t wait to hear from you!
My Q&A a Day journal has some deep and meaningful questions sprinkled throughout its pages. Yesterday’s was the incredibly thought provoking “Write Down the Cure for a Broken Heart.”
I was stymied for a minute or two before coming up with this answer:
Pray it out, Write it out, Cry it out, Cuss it out, and burn it all back together with chips, salsa, and action flicks.
Now I want to know what your advice would be. Since the journal only allows for two or three small lines per answer, I want your response to be condensed into just a few short sentences. I hope none of you are currently dealing with this issue but…let me have it….How do You Cure a Broken Heart?
I know that I am a mere character in someone’s book. I have suspected for some time now that I might be; all the signs point in that direction. No memories of my early life until, SUDDENLY, it appears…a perfect flashback. Mainly, though, I seem to cease for long periods of time. I just hang there, suspended in the middle of whatever activity was going on at the time. I once lay in the grass and looked at stars for 86 hours. How in the world do you explain that? No bathroom breaks, no conversations, no changing of the light and fading of the stars, and no movement of the earth on its axis: just me, laying in the itchy cold germ infested grass for 3 ½ days. That’s just not natural.
One day, though, it ended. I was buffed and polished and given my own version of happily ever after…or as happily ever after as the best friend gets (seriously, she got the man of her dreams, a huge wedding, and a new castle-like home, I couldn’t even get a bridesmaid to look at me, the emotionally damaged best man). So I went on, living in the pool house, working a wonderful job, and they all lived… Until it started over. Dozens of ‘me’ are jotting around being read by random people. Sometimes a few pages and then shelved and started over days later by someone else, sometimes more, sometimes much less.
I learned to survive with my own company, sometimes even being so lucky as to be suspended in time while with my friends so that we could at least converse and make faces at each other. But then, she arrived. The woman who would change my life and allow me to soar…the woman who bought my book.
She is beautiful, with long dark hair that softly tickles my story as she reads and glintingly golden eyes that shine with her emotions each and every time she pores over the tale. The first time she read the book, my woman (who I would later learn is named Alicia) immediately called her own best friend to share her find. “You have to read this Sar,” she gushed, “I think I’m in love with Carl, the best friend. I wish I could find a funny man like that!” I smiled, sitting in my end position of pool side bliss, and thought “I love you too my dark haired beauty.”
The second time she read the book she called her book club president to beg for a discussion on my story, the next month there were 8 women and 3 men who clutched their own shiny new copies of the book, 11 people sighing over the story and touting the characters; Alicia the most vocal.
The last time she read my book, she had just broken up with a horrendously boring and sarcastic man. Alicia poured over the book, slowly reading any scene that I was in and crying in all the levels of sound possible. I wanted to reach out and wipe her tears, I was desperate to tuck her hair behind her ears, I stretched and pushed….I would be this close and then a page turn would happen. So I wished, and hoped, and tried, and prayed. Late that night, as she was finally snoring peacefully, I realized that the book had been left open beside her. I wasn’t in that part of the story, having gone away for the chapter, but I just KNEW that if I could there; well, I could get to her.
I was right. It took most of the night and all of my concentration, but I finally felt a pop in the thin veil that keeps our worlds apart. It was like moving through Jello, but I made it just in time for Alicia to punch me out.
When I came to, Alicia had me hog tied and covered by a police man…but she was more concerned that half of her book seemed to have been blanked out. That was all this morning, and I am now sitting in a tiny cell, in a tiny jail, waiting for my love. We’ll see how long it takes her to believe me. All because I fell in love with the woman who read my story, instead of my best friend’s.
A good friend of mine shared this link with me earlier as an almost joking way to ‘find my muse’ for the Stone Dragon Saga stories. Well, the joke is on her because these little guys are AWESOME! I am not only inspired, I am excited AND there’s an Owl cam I can check out later on tonight!
This is a great site to look at many types of videos, live camera feeds, snapshots, etc. Take a look, show the kids, pass it on to a teacher who may need some science/social studies clips.
Have fun, crack a smile, saw ‘aww’, and share the joy! Have a Blessed Day!