Turn Off The Tube

I recently finished a research paper for one of my classes, and I was able to select the topic.  It had to fall into one of our areas of study, and had to include resources from at least one scholarly journal.  It was suggested that we select a topic we found interesting, so the topic I chose was the effects of watching television on children.  My hypothesis was that watching television has a large impact on children and the way they behave and think.  I also thought that watching television had an impact on children’s ability to concentrate.

I went into this project with a certain mindset, but what I found took me by surprise.  I am not going to go into detail, but the idea was that children were impacted not only by what they watched, but the fact that they watched television at all.  I was not surprised by that, but I did find it interesting that only an hour of TV a day had a large impact.  The impacts ranged from symptoms consistent with ADHD, difficulty learning, and violence that continued or worsened as an adult.

My wife and I don’t let our children watch much television anyway, but after doing this research paper I decided to cut out television completely for the week.  What I found was that in that little amount of time, not only did my children become more well behaved, but I was feeling better myself.  I had more of a desire to play with my children, and I enjoyed the time I spent with them even more.  I also found myself to be more productive around the house.  For me, this week long trial is going to continue and hopefully become the norm in our house.

Like I said, I’m not going to go into detail, and won’t go into specifics about the studies I found, but just give it a shot and see what you discover.  Turn off the television for a week.  Spend more time with you children.  And let us know what impact you saw.  Depending on their age you may get more complaints, but I didn’t get any complaints from my children.  They even enjoyed playing together even more than they did before.  If you are interested in those studies though, let me know and I can put those out if anyone wants to see for themselves.

Kids Are Funny

We all know that kids are funny, but what about when they say something funny when they are doing something you just told them not to do?  I think all parents have been at that point where they are trying to keep a straight face while holding back laughter.  It is important to keep your ground, but where do you draw the line?

My son, who is not quite two and a half, has already realized that he is extremely funny.  He was picking his nose, like many boys do, and wasn’t listening when I told him to stop.  His final response was, “Me not picking my nose, me getting a spider.”  How do you get upset about that?

Only a few hours after the nose picking comment, my son gave me another reason to laugh when I probably shouldn’t.  He has been potty trained since the beginning of the year, but he can’t handle everything on his own.  After going to the bathroom, he told me he was done.  I went in to wipe him, but he didn’t want me to.  I explained that if he wanted to get down, I had to wipe him.  He then told me, “You don’t wipe me, mommy wipe me.”  I explained that mommy was at work, despite his arguments earlier that mommy was just upstairs.  He finally got over the fact that mommy couldn’t wipe him, but being a stubborn kid, he still didn’t want me to wipe him.

He then asked if his five year old sister could wipe him.  I told him no, but he insisted.  My daughter then also explained that she couldn’t wipe him, and my son was content with that.  Should I be upset that he is more apt to listen to his sister than me?  I don’t think so.  He is two, and he will learn more from his big sister than his mom or I could teach him.  At least he has a good role model.

After accepting the fact that my daughter couldn’t wipe him, my son then told me he wanted the dog to wipe him.  I explained that the dog couldn’t wipe him because he is a dog.  At this point my son knows he is just being stubborn, but he’s starting to think it is funny.  He then looks to the side, taps the wall, and says, “Wall wipe me.”

“You want the wall to wipe you?” I asked.  My son reassured me that he did, with a snicker on his face the entire time.  “Well, you’ll just have to sit there all day,” I explained to him, and started to walk away.  He finally agreed that I would wipe him, and that was it.

So here is the question:  Should I be upset that my son disobeys me when I tell him not to pick his nose?  Should I be bothered that he insists on being stubborn when I tell him something needs to be done?  I don’t think so, not in this situation.  You need to pick your battles.  If he doesn’t want me to wipe him, he just needs to know the result is sitting on the toilet all day.

If you have read my story Life from my other blog, you may understand where I am coming from on this.  Sometimes we need to let the little things go, but stay firm on what you believe is right.  Laugh with your children.  Stories like these are what you want to remember.  Are you going to look back and be glad that you disciplined your child for not listening, or will you tell the story about when he was “getting a spider” out of his nose?

Laugh with your kids.  Pick them up and hold onto them.  Teach them right and wrong.  And be thankful when you have time with them.  Enjoy the things you will be able to look back on and laugh about.  Don’t look back with regret.

Back to School

Well, it’s that time for the kids to go back to school.  Is it a sigh of relief?  Do you find yourself missing them?  Or is it a little bit of both?  Now that it’s time to go back to the grind let’s make the effort not to back to the usual.  The children will want to go back to what is comfortable for them, as will you.  It’s easy to look back and say, “That was a nice Christmas, but now we need to get back in the routine.”

Instead of the routine consisting of getting home from work, heating something up for dinner, and sitting in front of the television until it’s time to go to bed so we can get up in the morning and do it all again, let’s change what our routine is.  Now is the time.  I know everyone has different schedules, and it’s hard to get everyone together, but lets find the time.  If the kids have an hour between school and basketball practice, or whatever their event may be, take that time with your kids and put something together for dinner.  When you get home leave the TV off, heat up the dinner you already put together, and enjoy it as a family.  The kids will enjoy it more if they had a part in making it.  You also have the added benefit of increasing their self esteem if they helped make something the entire family will enjoy.

This is my quick thought today, but let’s see if it works.  Can you alter your routine to spend more time as a family?

New Beginning

So now that Christmas is over, what do you do?  Do you go back to the same routine?  Or do you continue spending more time with the family?  It is easy to get back into the same routine as before.  With the new year comes resolutions, and some people may have added “spend more time with the family,” to their list.  But as with every year, this will quickly fade and we will go back to what is comfortable and what is easy.

This year let’s not make a resolution.  Instead, let’s push ourselves beyond what is easy and make time to spend with our families.  Spending time with the people you love should not be an obligation, but if we make a conscious effort to spend time with one another, what now seems like a forced effort will soon turn into what comes natural.

Take those gifts you gave and received this year and make something of them.  Did the kids get some new video games?  Take the time to show some interest.  Sit down and watch your kids play.  And I know this is a little ironic of me to say, but if you force them to turn it off all together they will only resent you for it.  But take that time with them, and slowly take a little more time away from the video games and redirect that to time with the family.

Did the kids get some new dolls or some new building blocks?  When was the last time you sat down and played dolls with your daughter, or built something with your son?  I will admit that I have spent time crunched up on the floor being both the dad and mom while playing dolls, but I will be the first to admit that I threw in the towel too early because I wanted to do something else.

Let’s take this opportunity to spend more time with our families.  Let’s push ourselves beyond our comfort level and not just do what is easy.  Let’s take the time and show our children that they really matter to us and that we really do care about them and what they do.