Thursday, February 07, 2013

Screen-Time Detox

Over the last few months I've become painfully aware that Silas is a full-on screen-time addict.  If it's not a TV show or a movie, he's asking to play on the computer or the Wii.  And when we're out shopping or waiting during ballet practice, all he wants is to play on my iphone...  

I think the problem really escalated in the last months of me feeling exhausted and nauseated 90% of the time.  Silas wakes up at 6 am like clockwork, so I of course turn on the TV, give him his milk and then head back to bed.  And then while the older kids are at school and I'm muddling through my day, I don't have the willpower to turn off the laptop or the TV after he's obviously had enough. 

Now, as soon as the screens are turned off, Silas proclaims that he is B.O.R.E.D!  The kid has forgotten how to play.  So now that I am feeling much improved and more energetic I've decided it's time for some screen-time detox.  

It's not easy, let me tell you.  The boy has a short attention span for anything that does not involve staring at a screen (that he could do for hours, let me tell you!)  This morning we played with play-dough for all of 5 minutes before going on to the next thing - painting.  I really resist taking out the painting stuff since it seems overwhelming for such a short amount of play, but he stuck with it for about 20 minutes and actually enjoyed rinsing out his paint container at the end so it wasn't really that painful.  Then we read our new library books, but that didn't take much time at all.

At that point I really had some stuff I wanted to get done and that's where the true test comes because when he is asking for screen-time and I'm really busy, it is just far too tempting to give in.  But today I had resolved to be strong, so I pulled out an idea from my Pinterest board.  All it takes is baking soda, vinegar and food colouring.  It also helps to have a medicine dropper (took me awhile to track one of these down since we haven't administered infant tylenol or vitamin D drops in a couple years!)

Mix the vinegar with different colours...

And give your kid a plate full of baking soda.  After that, they can drop away and create colourful little volcanic eruptions.

Silas loved the sound of the "fizz".

This activity didn't last 2 hours (like it apparently did for the pinner's kid).  Not even 1 hour.  We're talking 20-30 minutes tops.  But hey.  It gave me a chance to make the mango salsa for tonight's delicious dinner recipe so I call that a success.

And to keep things real, I did let Silas watch TV after managing to hold him off for a couple of hours.  But that too, I consider a success.

Baby steps people.  Baby steps.


kelly ens said...

Funny that the baking soda trick is what the girls did at school today ;)

rachel joy said...

what a great activity! I'll be pinning it and homeschoolin' it!

Wenona said...

TV time is a bit much at this household as well. It's when my kids finally stop fighting lol. But with nicer weather around the corner, I am vowing to wean them from their screens as well. Great idea with the baking soda -I'll have to try that!