The Power Of The Jar & How It's Helped Our Sons Summer Holiday Boredom

in #family2 years ago (edited)

In Spain schools break up early, around the middle of June. So we are now into our 3rd month off school as my son doesn't start until mid September. It's mainly because it gets really hot here and the kids just can't concentrate and be expected to be shut indoors in searing temperatures.

I have a super active 6.5 year old boy, who has LOADS of energy and LOADS of love to give. But it has been a struggle keeping him occupied for this time, especially as we have a 9 month old baby crawling around the place.

My son's been getting frustrated because we have cut out his screen time. It was getting waaaaay too much and I was almost starting to use it like a babysitter, just so I could get stuff done! Although he's pretty independent, he still wants me to play with him, read to him, paint and draw with him. Sadly I just can't do that all day, as much as I would love to. So on the days I couldn't sort out a play date for him, he had a lot of screen time.

We were noticing a real change in him. He was screaming and shouting at us when we took the laptop away from him. He was getting obsessed and asking all day long if he could watch. He was withdrawn and unresponsive and in his own world. So last week after a weekend of HUGE meltdowns we cut it out completely.

The first few days were like cold turkey for him. He was very emotional and hurt that we had taken his beloved screen time away. He was lashing out at us, asking why could we do this to him. He was hitting himself and kicking things in his room. He was also being mean to his baby sister by teasing her all the time.

By day 3 things were getting better. We had spent more time together as a family and he was coming back to us. It seems crazy talking like this, but he was really addicted! He was starting to understand the reasons why things had to change.

Time we spend all together as a family is limited at the moment, due to work and baby, but I began to recognise that when we were came together as a family to do an activity, he came alive and was buzzing with energy and smiles.

We had a chat about screen time and agreed to have a movie night on Fridays and make some popcorn and snuggle up together. Then an hour on Saturdays and Sundays.

To combat the boredom and no TV blues I had an idea to get a jar and fill it with ideas on things to do as a family.
He LOVED this! We busily started to fill the jar with notes. Some big things like "Go to the beach", some little things like "make a den together". The ideas were flowing and he was so happy.

jar.jpg

We picked one out and it was “Have a picnic by the river”.

So at sundown we packed a quick picnic dinner and walked down to our nearby river and settled down for some food. He was running into the water laughing, rock jumping and making mud cakes. It made me realise just how simple it was to help him feel entertained, included, happy and loved.

river1.jpg

Sometimes it's the most simple of things that work. Step outside your house....go for a walk...find your little spot in nature to play...that's when the magic happens.

So we are going back to the river tonight when it cools down to frolic and play and to come alive again.

In my next post I am going to talk about another really amazing tool that has helped our son feel connected, wanted, loved and most of all grateful for the good things in his life.... I can't wait to share it with you.

BIG love,
Star xx

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Excellent - it was great how this helped him to change his moods :)

Why do we fall..? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.

@starwarz thanks for stopping by to comment and using such an awesome Batman quote!

My son will freak out over screentime too. They have no idea how grouchy it makes them. Total addicts :)

It's kiddie crack!

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love the jar idea, I think I'll do it with my girls xx

Great! We put little and big ideas....stay up late and star gaze, play dress-up, write a silly song, paint a big painting together. Enjoy making lovely memories xx

Great idea! Following.

Thanks @wstanley226 x back atcha!

I can relate with my son acting out that way before and sometimes still does. The idea with the jar is brilliant. There is still 13 days left before school starts for 2 of my kids so there's still time to do this plus the weekends.
I love your post!

Lovely to hear you are going to give it a go. Let me know how you get on! xx

I swear to God cutting screen time is probably the best thing you can do for your child. I'm a teacher and as much as I hate to admit that I'm using it at the moment too backup my claim that increased screen time affects literacy and numeracy and brain development and all sorts of things. I think you guys should be really proud of yourselves for doing this as I know it's not easy either especially with the pressures of the modern world and the fact that we use screens in our everyday lives too and it must seem hypocritical for children. That photo of Dad and boy in the river is so cute. Love it

That's great to hear thank you, comforting advice when it's needed from someone who knows! Today we shared such a closeness, we laughed so much and play fought and read together . He is so more open and happy. It's like we are both at ease now. Crazy the control TV has over the young mind.

I can so relate to the screentime.. only mine is much younger.. we made the stupid (damn us!) mistake buying a cheap tablet for her, so she could look at cartoons or informative nice childrens videos we put on there. but boyfriend once forgot to turn of the wifi and she found Youtube (can you believe that!) and the last thing in the history was a video I watched with here (cartoon) .. so she clicked (2,5 yo) and then found all these other videos.. As soon as I wanted to turn off the wifi things got ugly. We allowed it for a while (because it was an convenient babysitter sorry I admit that I was desperate a while for some quietness lol) and then I got sick of her tantrums. It also took a few days before she didn't ask anymore, but now she doesn't even seem to remember about "the thing" lol... I know she won't be getting it back the next year or longer .. no way ... :) biggest mistake ever we've made with her to allow that.. wrong wrong wrong haha...

I love the jar idea although this little girl is a bit too young for that idea but I'm going to remember for when she can read ;)

Our son was asking for a tablet not so long ago and I was thinking hmm maybe - but that's probably just my conditioning as I have an ipad and use it all the time "ah it won't be so bad, he can use educational aps and listen to audio books" but you know it will be for watching total crap on youtube...they will find a way!! Love the fact you got rid and she doesn't even remember. I am sticking to my guns and it's really working! xx

What a great idea!

Thanks to @anouk.nox, this post was resteemed and highlighted in today's edition of The Daily Sneak.

Thank you for your efforts to create quality content!

Great! Thanks X

Fabulous idea! I feel your pain as far as screen time goes. Once in a while, I let it get away from me as well, and have to deal with cutting way back and the kids all end up with screen-withdrawal. Its worth it, though! The fun things you do together and the bonding time are wonderful!

Totally! It's really been an eye-opener this time. It's been a week and a half now and wow what a change. Especially in our relationships, we are much more connected as a family. The element of TV has been taken out of the equation and he has relaxed loads. We must stick with it this time!!

Absolutely! Stay strong, it is better for everyone to really limit that screen time! :D
I notice the difference in mykids as well... It is tremendous!