As Hubby and I are starting to think about Christmas, and what we’re going to be getting the kids, we find ourselves really not wanting to look into any more electronics. While we were living in the camper for a month the kids had their Ipads and 3DS but, I noticed they hardly used them. THe weather was beautiful. Instead of sitting around inside they were out playing. We did school in the morning. Then with the rest of our day we rode our bikes, walked the dog on the beach, and swam before bed. It was great not having the Wii and all the other gadgets distracting us. I could tell my kids were bonding, using their imaginations, and using their bodies instead of being zoned out on a couch allowing a device to numbly entertain them. The largest difference was that the screaming and fighting and temper-tantrums were down to a minimum.
Well, we have been home a total of 24 hours now and our first day was a rainy one. We got unpacked and the first thing out of little Yin’s mouth was ” Yang, I have a great idea! Lets go play on the Wii and totally fry our brains on games!” She runs upstairs, so excited to turn on the gaming system, and was completely zoned out. Yang was sitting on the couch reading a magazine, which he loves to get in the mail Zoobooks, and laid it down went up to join her. It broke my heart to see him lay down that magazine. He was content reading to me about the exciting new facts on Kola Bears, but he laid it down to go and play a mind numbing game.
So, being the wonderful mom that I am, I walked upstairs and told the kids “NEW RULE IN THE HOUSE!” They both stop what they are doing to stare at me with fear. ( You see when Mommy and Daddy say NEW RULES, that means NO FUN is about to start flying out of our mouths).
” Mommy has noticed a lovely trend that makes me sad. You would rather play on your devices and be entertained than to read books and use your toys and imaginations. Winter is here and that means grey skies, lots of rain, possible snow and very cold weather. I know in the past we have allowed you to play your electronics during the winter since you can not go outside but, this year there will be a certain amount of reading to do to earn your time on Wii and TV. Yin’s eyes get huge at this time and she looks like a trapped animal in a cage. Yin struggles with reading and to have to read to earn electronics is like telling her to climb a mountain cliff without a rope. She relies on electronics to entertain her brain and satisfy the urge to go all crazy when she can not get outside to play. I usually make her play at least an hr a day of Wii fit just to get some of the energy out. In the past I have not counted that as her electronic time. THis year that all changes. SHe will need to learn other physical outlets to getting out her energy and I will have to come up with games and strategies to help.
I go on to tell them that Yin will earn a minute of electronic time (Wii, apps on iPad, Tv) for every page she reads. THe book level she reads now (Magic tree house) will give her an hour for every book read. Yang on the other hand being older and a more fluent reader will get 15 minutes per chapter read. Mommy will keep track of all the pages read and will let them know when they come to me how much time they have and deduct what they use. Yin immediately runs to the bookshelf and starts counting out books that she is going to read to earn her time. She then goes to her room with about 10 books and begins reading. Her goal is to read them all today so she will not need to read anymore for the week. She opens her first book scans her finger through the pages and pretends to read quickly through the first book, throws it to the side and grabs another. Yang and I lose it! Thank goodness our laughing snapped her out of the panic she was feeling and that she will have to tell me about each book in detail so I know she read it. She lowered her head and sighed, this meant she was going to have to work for her play time.
When hubby got home, I told him about the New Rule and he loved the idea but he decided to tweak it just a bit to make it easier. I love it when my husband takes my ideas and makes it more simple for me to do. He always says I am full of great ideas, I just need someone sometimes to help reel it in. At dinner he suggested No electronics until Yin has read at least of min of 30 a day, and Yang 2 chapters. Then at bed time, after mommy has read their bedtime story, Yin will take another 15 minutes to read before lights out and turning on her audio books. Yang will read for 30 minutes. Sounded great! I know longer have to keep track of pages and times, only tacking is on an app I use called Timer Timer . It is a great App to show kids how much time is left in a task. THere is a catch though, if the kids fight me on the reading or they do not do the reading at night, it will be added to the next day. THis will keep them honest, especially before bed :).
I will let you know how it goes. We will start implementing the begging of this on Monday. Not sure yet if this will be something that is just done M-F or if we will make them read on weekends too. Wish me luck! I am sure I added a few more bumps to my already bumpy ride ;.)