Friday, January 18, 2008

"Never Underestimate the Power of the Dark Side"

I didn't realize how many people were going to be curious about our little experiment! It has been interesting for sure. I am glad I planned some outings for the kids during this time, that helped quite a bit. The toughest day was Tuesday for sure. We couldn't leave the house and I just didn't seem to know what to do with myself at first. So I started a novel, and did in fact, read two whole books in the course of the 3 days! Ha. So here are some highlights of the things I learned from the Dark Side. (yes, Star Wars references are becoming ingrained in me after 7.5 years of marriage, and that is OK with me. Erick has always told me Star Wars relates to everything, and now I see he is right! :-)

*My kids actually enjoy playing together, even for extended periods of time.
*Not answering the phone all the time makes it possible to finish some tasks.
*Kids are capable of listening, and following directions, the first time you ask.
*Yelling constantly is in fact, NOT necessary.
*Without background noise, my kids hear what I am saying.
*Bedtime without TV is better.
*TV as a reward works more effectively than TV as a baby sitter.
*Quality family time makes everyone feel good.

So overall, I did very much miss the television for keeping the kids entertained. I really missed the computer as it is my lifeline to the world. It was a challenge to break these habits and I confess, I cheated a few times, checked my email once or twice. But I never looked at the message boards. Not having the TV on was the biggest change. The kids were happy all throughout the day. If they started arguing, it was very easy to simply reprimand them and we all moved on. No one told me they hate me, or hate Christmas for that matter. No one was sent stomping to their room. No one got a spanking - (except maybe Ella at bedtime...different issue). Without the interference of the TV, I was able to busy about doing chores and cleaning, and the kids busied about doing kid things. Come to think of it, Ella didn't get into things she shouldn't, and I had no major messes to clean up.

I found myself feeling content and happy. I smiled and laughed with my children a heck of a lot more than usual. Yes, I admit, I am generally a grumpy mom. Sorry but it is true. Not so much now though. This was an eye opener for me. Erick and I both noticed how I was affected. I did no yelling, I was never short tempered, and life seemed a bit more manageable. WOW. Erick and I really enjoyed each other's company as well. We were not both off doing separate things. We talked about fun topics and issues. Dinners were nice and enjoyable. We did take the kids out for some fun in the evenings and did a couple things with them we don't usually do. We also went to bed abnormally early! I think 8pm was the time one evening! Paying attention to my family wears me out!

I highly recommend this experiment for your family! See what happens. And, I had planned to photo document it all, but forgot. (I hate the batteries in my camera right now.)

Still, I can't live without my Internet, and I love a great TV show. So do the kids. So now we plan to allow TV time as rewards for getting chores done, helping around the house, and behaving, instead of just having it on for no good reason. I am excited to turn the TV off more often now and if that is what I have to do to keep the kids feeling loved and happy, than it will be a piece of cake! Now I have to master the art of creating and following a schedule, so that I can have that cake, and eat it too!


My name is Samantha said...

Becca, I fully understand the references to Star Wars (we are a 2nd generation Star Wars Family) in fact there are religious classes that relate to Star Wars, so maybe Yoda is not all wrong!! May the Force Be with You!!!

wendy said...

Good for you and that is a great lesson learned for your entire family :-)!!

michelle said...

wow! that's great. I think I may have to follow your lead (one day). maybe start w/ no electronics for a few hours. that would be so nice.

Tricia said...

I am so way proud of you and your family! I will definitely follow your lead. We have already shut the tv off during the weekdays and yes, my kids actually PLAY with their toys!!! Amazing!!!!

Sheila said...

That is a experience to remember!!!! I'm glad it worked out for you!!!

rjones said...

That is great...and what a great lesson learned for everyone. I am trying to talk dh into doing this too. I have been trying to do it during the day anyway.

Laura said...

Over the summer we removed the TV from the family room. It was great the kids played together all day inside & out. They got lots of exercise & so did I. We went for 2-3 walks a day!! Once school started Adam wasn't around much to help de-stress me so we got into the habit of watching a movie after dark(6pm), then it turned into when ever it was too cold to play outside. Now we are in a rut. After reading your blog it gives me hope that it is possible to do during the winter. Once Adam is out of school I can see us spending more time as a family, not in front of the TV.