Recently David has been traveling a lot for work. I'd say that at least two weeks out of every four, he's spending a few days per week on the road. Right now, we're in the middle of a four-week stretch where he's gone at least two and up to six days each week.
There are a lot of ways in which this simply isn't a big deal for me. Nate is, after all, only one kid, and he's long out of diapers and isn't particularly needy in the night. But the downside of his being only one kid is that he has no built-in playmates, and so when I need to get a few things done and he won't readily play by himself, it's all too easy to turn on Netflix or hand him an iPad.
Last week we were in Georgia visiting my family, including my sister's darling new baby, and between the 10-hour drives each way and my family's tendency to leave the television on all day, it was pretty much non-stop screen time for a week. By the end of the drive home, poor Nate was in full-on meltdown mode, and I knew that this would have to be a screen detox week.
The weird thing is, it's somehow generally easier to cut the screens for him altogether than it is to limit them to only an hour or so each day. Am I the only one whose kid works like this? I already try to wait as late in the day as possible to pull out the electronic entertainment, because once it's turned on it's a battle to turn it off. I know plenty of moms who can do a mid-day 30-minute TV break to make lunch or do a chore or even--heavens!--just have a few minutes to themselves. It works perfectly well for them. I don't know whether my kid is just more headstrong or somehow reacts more strongly to this sort of stimulation, but dang does it change his behavior. And not for the better.
Right now he's happily sitting at the kitchen table, playing with his approximately one gazillion LEGO minifigures and listening to the Nate the Great books on CD. I discovered during a previous TV detox that he loves listening to books on CD, and will happily listen to certain chapter books over and over while he plays. In addition to Nate the Great, which we were borrowing from the library so frequently that I finally suggested that the grandparents get them for him for Christmas, he is also a huge fan of the Magic Tree House series. (Any other series recommendations? He seems to like to hear stories with the same characters over and over.)
There's a part of me that for years has wanted to get rid of our TV altogether. I know it will never happen, though for a number of reasons, but primarily that my husband is a big sports fan who would be terribly unhappy to lack access to football and hockey. I also watch a fairly large number of TV shows. (It's always weird to see how many I really watch, because now that television series don't always adhere to the older September-May season scheduling, it's never that many shows at once. But I watch Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Episodes, Homeland, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, The Americans, and Call the Midwife, and I'm committed to see Grey's Anatomy through to the bitter end even though I'm behind by several episodes.) On the rare occasions when I turn on the TV just to have something on, it's almost always something from HGTV or Food Network.
I don't actually think that TV is bad, but I do have a tendency to use it as a crutch with my kid, which I know becomes bad for my particular family when it's on too much. I know it'll creep back into his days before too long, but it really is strange to me how much easier it is to give him a consistent "no" for a while than it is to cut back on how much he watches.
Am I the only one who has to detox her kid from television sometimes? Do you do a full-on stoppage like we do, or are you able to simply cut back? How do you know when it's time for a break?
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