Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fighting the computer games....and winning!

I'm sure I am not alone in the fight against the computer games take over!  To be sure I've read the 1,000 articles that talk about the negative effects of computer games, too much TV watching, etc.  I'm on their side. But over the past couple of years, the computers have been winning in our household.  It's not what I wanted, nor was it something we needed.  It was survival.  Being in survival mode is not pleasant.  There are many other people who seem to be in survival mode, and yet still make their goals happen.  Not me.

The good news is that I am moving on from survival mode.  I am shaking off the dust, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  It has been difficult to face the damage that has been done.  I am hopeful that the damage can be reversed.  Currently the damage looks like this:

**short attention spans
**behind on school work
**bad attitudes and foul language
**laziness, chores not being completed, or started for that matter!
**everyone off doing their own thing, hiding in their rooms
**fighting and squabbling all the day long
**eyes glued to the computer screen, even if it wasn't their turn, they would sit to watch their siblings play on the computer
**too much phone time for the older kids

That would be a big overview, though I am sure I could list a ton more!  And this list does not do the 'picture' of our problem justice.  It's bad people, bad.  I'm not the only one who sees it or feels it.  It hurt to realize that my kids were looking to me to do something about it, but I didn't have the strength to carry out a plan.  And so I decided to skip having a plan and to just do **something**.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  It would be better to take steps in the right direction, than to stay stuck in the mud.  

For me that something turned out to be as simple as renewing our library card, and making computer time the last thing they could do in the day, right before bed.  I've read the research on how screen time before bed time is not good, but for us it will most certainly be the lesser of two evils!  And for my kiddos, they can sleep in if the blue screen is affecting their sleepiness sensors.

I had tried making it a rule that you can only be on the computer for so many minutes.  However, during the middle of the day, when they would have computer time, I am pulled in many different directions.  I have to take kids to and from things.  I have work that needs doing (laundry, dishes, dinner prep, etc.), or kids who need help with their school work.  I didn't have the ability to 'babysit' the computer clock.  We had problems with their games not working, so they needed more time.  Or possibly one of their siblings took over their turn, so they needed more time.  Now, at night, since bedtime is have 30 minutes and that's it!  Now I can come back with, sorry, but bedtime is in so much time, you have to get off so your brother can have his turn before bed.

This also means that all day long, they have the option to go outside (thankfully they've taken this option up more so), they can have a book read to them, they can color, play with toys, make plans for some game or some such, put on a play, paint....and so on.  It's not been all easy peasy.  Lots of, "How much more time before I can get on the computer?"  But I am hearing that less now.  Especially since I can point to outside and say, "Is it even dark out yet?  No?  Well then it's not even close to your computer time, so run along outside now."  

We've taken walks, visited the creek, read the Boxcar Children (now they want to read the series!), are reading The 39 Clues, played Heads Up (a phone app), and watched homesteading videos (which they really watch, ask questions, and talk about afterwards).

Most of their time has been spent outside, building their own empire....or fort....or a big open space of their stuff:

Directions to their get up.

Lots of hammering going on.

Lots of weapons, mostly handmade.

Other supplies, just in case.

You never know when you may need a bucket of small sticks!

The only girl allowed in their area.

Bug finding and storing.

I keep telling them to pick up all the nails...or they are going to regret it.

Not sure what this is supposed to be, besides a hanging sheet.

They even hung up a swing.

Outdoor dining available as well!  Or maybe a space to do some school work outside (shhhhh).

Must buy more hammers, as the one we have is a very prized item.

Aubrey and his weapons.

Not sure how the trees feels about all the nails!  :-)

Exploring the woods.

Merida needed one of these sticks before we ended our visit.


Jennifer said...

The fight is real. Thankfully not all of my children are really into computer games so that makes it easier. I love all the things your children have been doing outside.

Sarah Faith said...

Great job!

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

I am glad that you have some that don't seem to be so attached!!! After the boys, I will need to reign in the girls :-)


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