April vacation is winding down. After today we just have the weekend and then it’s back to the grind of work and school (Little M. is really the only lucky one in this equation; he gets to spend a couple of days of his week with his lovely, play-based, Waldorf-inspired, guru Lori (I just can’t bring myself to call her his babysitter; she’s so much more!)).
April break has been a quiet one. We haven’t ventured off too far or been terribly busy. Other than a sleepover for E. and a trip with my mum and her friend to get pansies at a local greenhouse, things have been pretty tame. The biggest thing we’ve done has been to unplug, and it’s by far been the best thing we’ve done.
By taking TV out of the equation this week for the kids (with the exception of a couple of family movie nights) and almost entirely for myself and Big M., I’ve seen some major positive changes that, while unsurprising in retrospect, weren’t anticipated, but have been fully embraced. Here’s what I’ve observed this week:
- The kids have gotten along better. With no TV to fight over and no zoning out in front of a screen, the kids are more ready and able engage with each other in positive ways.
- Outside time has become the default for boredom. Instead of asking for TV, the kids have started heading outside. The amount of time they’re spending out of doors by their own volition has increased exponentially.
- They’re sleeping better. Admittedly, both my kids are pretty good sleepers, but lately things have been a bit more difficult lately, especially for Little M. But with TV out of the picture, he settles down for sleep much more easily and the battle of putting him to bed has lessened quite a bit.
- Instead of watching, they’re listening. We’re reading aloud more. Little M., at three, has suddenly keyed in more readily to books and is showing a lot of natural pre-reading skills. E. is more settled when we read our bedtime story, a time when she’s usually bouncing off the walls (literally). And we’ve discovered Sparkle Stories. I can’t say enough good things about this site. They provide seriously enchanting and sweet stories (without being too sweet), and as someone who enjoyed hearing stories as a little girl, I so, so wish something like this had been around when I was a kid. In the morning and afternoon we will settle down and listen to one of these stories in lieu of TV time. The atmosphere is so much calmer and less wired. Often times, in the afternoon, Little M. falls asleep. We love it.
- Play time has become so much more imaginative. E. and Little M. already have pretty great imaginations in my opinion. E., after all, is the kid who could take any object, from a rock to a paperclip, and turn it into a little person and send them on an adventure. But both kids have been creating their own games and worlds and characters, building with blocks, creating wonderful paintings with stories to with them, and generally keeping themselves occupied within their own little universes.
I love the changes I’ve seen in our home. It’s given me a glimpse of what our summer could be like and I couldn’t be more excited.