Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the “low maintenance parent” pattern. Letting the kids watch too much TV, a little too long on the iPad, all of us sitting there staring at a screen, totally disconnected from one another. I doubt I am alone in this. Modern technology is both a blessing and a curse. Definitely a blessing when you are sitting in a doctors waiting room for an hour and a half with a bored 3 year old. Not so great when you realise all of you seem to have killed your creativity and motivation from the constant entertainment that an iPad can provide.
Lately, I’ve realised we’ve slipped into some bad habits, and I need to lift my game a bit as a parent. Rather then have the kids ask constantly to use the iPad or watch TV, I said at the start of the week that we were taking a break. I made a conscious effort to ditch the technology, and spend better quality time with my children.
My youngest took it with surprisingly little complaint. She spent the days playing in her room, making a mess, then tidying it up, rearranging all of her special stuff. She helped me clean the house, taking great pride in dusting and packing things away neatly. She helped do the folding (folding things into strange little minuscule packages, but it’s a start!) She even helped me glue a craft project together, without making much mess. It made me wonder why I’ve started thinking it’s easier to let her watch too much TV when I need to get stuff done. Sure, it’s faster to just race around doing everything myself, but when I gave her the chance, she was actually pretty good at it.
My oldest took a little more convincing. Life without minecraft is tough, apparently. But he ended up getting out his lego, and building “real” minecraft instead. He helped me finish off the last of the craft project for the school art show, and then felt so inspired that he got out the scissors and made his own collage. We cooked together, and tidied up together. It was so much easier to get him interested, when the lure of minecraft disappeared!
I realised midway through the week, that I’ve fallen into that trap of being the mum who does everything. I’m not sure how it happened exactly. They used to follow me around the house “helping”. It was actually nice to have them engaged, interested and wanting to help again. It’s funny how something like an iPad, which can make life easier and more fun, can actually make things harder. It’s so enticing and engaging, that it’s hard for anything else to compete. So we will keep up this new habit, of limiting technology.
Here’s some of the nice things we did this week:
Making: I went into my sons classroom, and ran a craft activity. The children traced around their hands, and then decorated them. I cut the hands out, and then my children helped me glue then into the shape of angels wings.
Eating: My son helped me make schnitzel, and we made yummy schnitzel burgers with it.
Planning: my daughter helped me plan her 4th birthday. She asked me to make it a “surprise”. So on Saturday, she went out to the park with her dad, while my son and I madly decorated and got her cake ready. Her friends came over and all yelled “surprise” as she walked in.
Creating: my son and I cut up some paintings and made a collage together. He helped me come up with ideas for his sister’s birthday card while we were making.
Listening: to annoying orange song parodies. Not my choice! But my kids love dancing to them.
Reading: lots of library books, plus Harry Potter every night with the kids before bed.
Sewing: still working on a embroidery of my son
Drawing: I’ve been working my way through the 100 day project on Instagram, drawing and making birds.