During the first week of those forty days, John would get really crabby because he wanted to watch a show and I realized that I had been using that TV time to get things done. Essentially, it was babysitting John for me - something I vowed would not happen when I became a parent. But it's such an easy thing to get in the habit of! It turned out to be a great Lent and my eyes were opened to see that I can get things done without having the TV on for John. After Lent was over, we started watching shows again, but it's different now. He typically watches TV once a week and it is now a family time, where we all watch it together (minus Peter of course!).
If you are a parent who wants to reduce the amount of TV your children watch and still have time to get things done, here are some tips that helped us make the transition:
--- 1 ---Set up Play-Doh or another craft that isn't too messy at your kitchen table. When he was younger, I would put John in his highchair to contain him and the mess. This works well when I am making dinner.
--- 2 ---When your children are playing alone, use your time wisely to get important things done - this could be anything from relaxing to scrubbing the toilet - whatever is most important to you! In my experience, if I am deliberate about what I do in my "free-time", there is plenty of time to get things done without having to use the TV as a babysitter.
--- 3 ---Audio books can be a great alternative to TV because they are entertaining, don't require parental involvement and still utilize your child's imagination. We have Strega Nona on CD, read by the author, and John LOVES it! Be sure to check out the audio book section at your library!
--- 4 ---Keep your kitchen sink clean and empty so you can pull up a chair and have your child play in the water with some plastic toys (another good activity during dinner prep). I put a towel on the chair to make it less slippery and use it to clean up any spills after playtime.
|Hard to believe this was over a year ago!|
--- 5 ---Have kids "help" with the chore. Some examples:
- Dusting: give your little one a cloth so they can help
- Sweeping: give your child a little dust pan and brush
- Vacuuming: give them the attachments so they can pretend to vacuum also
Check out this post for ways kids can help in the kitchen at every age.