We managed to get ourselves in the routine of having the television on when we ate breakfast, when I was having a shower, when I was washing up, when we ate dinner, when I was ironing.....the list goes on. I did not like this routine. Tor did.
I have to admit it was easy, that it meant I had time to relax or time to get things done but then on the other hand I found it over stimulated Tor and resulted in some not great behaviour patterns. What I did was on a whim, it was not planned but it worked. So here are my eight steps for cutting down on television time that helped me and have helped Tor.
1) Come up with a reason of why you should cut out television for a whole week. Now I was lucky, (ummm maybe not too lucky) as my reason just blurted out of my mouth without thinking. Tor had a pretty bad destructive behaviour day. I was at the end of my tether. I was fed up with the whinging, I was fed up with the answering back so it came out. "RIGHT, THATS IT, NO TELEVISION FOR A WEEK". And yes, it was said in capitol letters. So after the crying and the whinging he took it like a six year old boy/man and went with it.
2) Be ready to be asked if the television can go on the minute your child wakes up. Be ready to bite your lip and say no. I had to hide the remote from myself so I did not give in. Actually I forgot where it was for three days!
3) Come up with fantastic Mummy ideas of what to do instead. Or in the real world, panic and pretend you have thought about the whole thing and then come up with hair brained ideas. I only had one day of darting around the house collecting paper and pens and sellotape as then Tor started coming up with ideas of his own. So chances are you will be left off the hook on this one.
4) Audio books are your friend. Have a selection at hand to put on during meal times. Then laugh as your child seemingly stares at the cd player as if its a television. But, there is a warning, you will find yourself not wanting to nip for a shower as you want to find out what Bilbo Baggins does next. Its more captivating than Nanny Plum in Ben and Hollys little Kingdom!
5) Be ready to have your house looking like absolute carnage. You will have so much fun playing lego, making snakes out of cardboard and reading books that you end up with a who cares about the washing up attitude as you are having so much fun.
6) Make sure you have more than one audio book as Bilbo Baggins may get on your nerves after 8 cd's.
7) Ensure you find the remote control by the end of the week so you can cuddle up and watch and film as a treat to you both. I recommend having popcorn so that you can choke on the popcorn kernels. Yes, fantastic fun.
8) Have lots of fun. Your child may ask at odd moments to ask television but in my view they are so easily distracted from the lust of squeaky voices and annoying theme tunes when there are giggles along the way.
Now when the week is up and you have watched television again, try not to let yourself fall into the old routine. I say this with utmost confidence and amazing Mummy knowing as I have managed one whole day after the week ban of not going back to our routine. Its amazing hey?
This morning I offered an audio book to listen to and he jumped at the chance. After school I said lets play with lego and he was very excited. So today Tor has only watched 20 minutes of television.
I am sure that come thursday and I start to become tired that the enthusiasm and hair brained scheming will become laborious, I may crack. I may rely on the brain numbing powers of Power Rangers.
So I leave you with some great pictures of the silly things we have achieved when we said NO in very loud voices to television, for a bit!