I totally hold my hands up here, my kids do my head in regularly. I love them, they’re awesome, I love homeschooling and I love having all this amazing time with them, but when they fight and are grumpy, angry little horrors they do my head in. I’m normal, I admit that.
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Don’t Think You’re A Bad Mother If They Do Your Head In.
It happens to everyone. You’d have to be Mother Theresa to not have your head done in at least once per week.
In my extensive research, consisting of chatting to 2,000 or so other homeschooling mums on Facebook regularly, head-doing-in is a totally normal occurrence.
You are not weird and you would not be better off sending them to school. Regularly schooling parents have their heads done in with similar frequency.
My Solution: Screen Free Days.
My kids fight when they are bored, screens can make them bored.
My kids fight even more when they can’t agree on what to watch or what computer game to play.
Screen Free Days Aren’t Just For the Kids.
This applies to you too! Put down the i thingies, switch off Facebook and fully engage, for a whole day or an afternoon. Just see what a difference it makes to your family’s happiness.
I get that it’s hard, I struggle, the internet is my work and sometimes I have to keep the kids occupied with a movie or game, but maybe half a day isn’t so difficult to achieve?
Sometimes we only manage an evening, but we all go to bed much happier and feeling more connected.
I Don’t Care What Other People Say About Screens.
In my experience, screens make my kids miserable. They cut them off from the real world, they become over stimulated yet not really engaged, bored, but unable to step away. It makes them unhappy. Sometimes.
Sometimes they are happy as they can possibly be, when they get really into something, but other times they’re just killing time in the easiest way. The trick is, to spot the difference.
When they’re getting feisty and to the head-doing-in stage, they want attention, love, distractions and input from their parent. They want to feel important. They do not want to be shoved in a corner with a screen to occupy them while mum finishes the blog post that’s been overdue for 2 days. Sometimes I just have to stop. Unless they’re truly engrossed in Minecraft or some new video. If they are, they can stay there most of the day having fun their way, that’s cool.
We try to have at least 2 days a week out of the house, full days of exploring, no screens allowed. It recharges our batteries and is just something different, a break from the computers that suck all three of us in.
No phones, no tablets, all that stays at home so we can focus on each other. I particularly love walking or eating out, they’re when we get our best chats going.
Screens are a fact of modern life, adults NEED them to function in the world. The kids are learning skills that will see them into the future, but not ALL the time. My two need a break.
So What to Do on Screen Free Days?
Go out, that’s the easiest option, all temptation removed.
Teach them a card game.
Start them off with the Lego.
Get the craft gear out and instigate some drawing or collage.
Take them out in the garden and plant something.
Go for a walk and have a really good chat.
Go for a bike ride.
Do maths! Even that will go better if the screen option is removed.
You don’t need me to give you suggestions, do you?
You’ll notice that all of my ideas involve you, or me, because that’s who I’m talking about here. I need to get the ball rolling, I need to model the drawing, making or digging. They often don’t have their own ideas, it’s much easier on them, and me, if I model a new activity.
So here ends my rant, prompted by my own kids being obnoxious at times. I KNOW it’s the screens. We used to have tablets for them, they broke, everything has been better ever since. I also know it’s my fault. I’m putting too much time into work and not enough into them.
I’m starting to realise their childhoods will be gone in a blink of an eye, my little boys will be gone. I’m going to make the most of this time.
It’s often said that childhood is about making memories. What would you like your kids to remember? Hours online or finding that interesting bug as they walked hand-in-hand with mum?
Give it a go, and if you’re considering buying a personal screen for your child, don’t cave to the advertising.