Since my son broke his leg a month ago, he has been bedridden. Or, rather, couch ridden. He spends his days on the couch, moving across the living room via crutches to his bed sometime around 10:00 or later at night. (I have more or less rescinded his bedtime, he’s not going to school so, really, whats the point?) In preparation for a very important math exam that he took today, he has spent most of the past week revising. However, every other minute of every other day the TV has been on. Constantly. On. Stupid kids show. Wii. Playstation. Movies. Stupid kids shows. I hate it. Really hate it. And since Dev is spending his days in front of the boob tube, the other two are getting accustomed to spending all their spare time in front of it as well. My 5 years olds favorite toys lay forgotten in his room and my daughters books are gathering dust.
Every 5 minutes I hear complaining from one child about how another child won’t let them A. play a game B. let them watch TV or C. share the remote or D. some other crime. My Sky planner is full of absolute crap from the Disney channel and MTV like “Zeke and Luther!” and “Pimp my Ride!”, which I keep having to delete in disgust.
So, I finally snapped. With Rafe hanging off me and demanding to play the playstation not 30 seconds after walking in the door following the 30 minute walk to his school and back to pick him up, driving to the shop to pick up some groceries, driving to Devons school to pick him up post exam, driving back to the younger kids schools to pick up my daughter and just then frantically searching for my pasta cookbook with the recipe for spaghetti sauce in it, I shouted that he needed to go upstairs and play with his toys RIGHT NOW!
Much crying ensued. Giving us both time to calm down, I started the spaghetti sauce, then went to talk to him. He apologized, I apologized, and then I explained to him why I was upset, and reminded him about all the great toys he had in his room. He then spent 45 minutes quietly and happily playing with his rocket ships.
I realized that I had been a lazy parent. Letting Dev get away with watching tv all day because what else was he going to do, and letting the others fall into the habit as well, because it was easy I guess. So, I explained to the kids that the TV and associated bits were now a privilege to be earned. They needed to read and play with toys and study and go outside. If they wanted TV they needed to do their chores and act kindly and just…earn it.
In the meantime I have started reading Watership Down aloud to them and they seem to be enjoying it so far.