Okay, so in our household watching television is a privilege and the children are well aware of this fact. If you are a good listener, respectful of others and their things, and listen to mom, dad, and teachers than you have earned that privilege (truth be told, they have only lost that privilege a couple of times). They are allowed to watch a half hour of television in the morning. They usually watch the Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout in the morning. Then in the afternoon, while mommy is getting dinner ready and cleaning up random objects throughout the house thanks to our little toddler tornado they may watch two television programs (half hour shows). They often watch Veggie Tales, Sponge Bob, Yo Gabba Gabba, and/ or an iCarly episode (We are practical with the television, moderation is the key).
So, yesterday morning while they were watching the Sunny Side up Show I came into the room and gave them the morning routine reminder (we usually have about an hour for the four of us to be ready and out the door so I try to maintain somewhat of a daily routine). I basically said they had ten minutes left then they needed to come upstairs when I called their names. So ten minutes goes by and I call my son’s name. He doesn’t come upstairs. I then call my daughter’s name and nothing. I go downstairs to confront the situation and both of them are staring at the television and not even looking in my general direction. I speak louder this time and still I am ignored. I go over and turn off the television. Boy did that get their attention. What followed was a lot of whining. There are two things I can not tolerate well and those are being disrespectful and whining. As they are aware there are consequences to our actions but of course being a mom I have to reiterate this at least twenty times a day. Case in point, that morning, so I did the mommy song and dance and long story short the consequence of their actions that morning would be no Television privileges that afternoon. That sounded like a solid punishment for the crime committed. I walked away feeling like a good mom, like my mom and other mothers before me would be proud of my decision.
Well, 4pm rolls around mighty fast. And after picking-up, dropping-off, and cleaning up, laundry, going through the alphabet, numbers, colors, patterns, games, and reading a slew of books in-between I had had it. Momma was ready for a little down time. I desperately needed the help of a tomato and a cucumber or perhaps a yellow sponge to take over while I prepared dinner. But wait, damn it! I had made that proud speech earlier in the day about television being a privilege and having consequences and yada yada yada. I knew I had to follow through so I suggested a few activities to occupy the kiddos time while I prepared dinner. Can I just say it is fascinating how many activities a kindergartener, preschooler, and toddler can go through in a single hour. I can honestly say that was one of the most exhausting hours of my life.
It started off with music and instruments then evolved into a band. They each needed to have their own drum to bang and bang they did. Five minutes into the “Jam session” and I was praying to God to please give me the strength to survive this punishment, for it was I, and my head, my throbbing head that were being punished, not the children.
Then it was onto make-believe box where they dressed as Super Heroes and princesses and for some reason they each had items that made noise. The toddler had tickle-me-Elmo (heeheehee….drove me crazy) and my son somehow managed to find these fake machine guns my in-laws gave him that I had hidden due to the terrible noises they made, and the kindergartener had her Barbie cash register checkout scanner going off, cha-ching . So every two minutes it sounded like tickle-me-Elmo just got shot down in the jungle and Barbie was in her glory over the whole thing, cha-ching. So the next ten minutes went something like this, Heeeheee….Chaggggggggg….Ahhhh…. cha-ching…. cha-ching. HeeeeHeee…Chagggggg…Ahhhhhh….Cha-ching..cha-ching. And who is being punished?
I stood in front of my pantry desperately searching for something quiet that the kiddos could all do together and then it was as if the angels started singing as I cast my eyes on the play-doh drawer. Hallelujah!
I have learned my lesson. Taking television privileges away means that mommy will be required to put some overtime in. Going forward, if something similar to this scenario arises again, and I am sure it will, I will not be taking television time away I will rather, require that they watch Planet Earth or another form of “boring” television as defined by a preschooler.
Remember moms, before you hand out a punishment contemplate all possibilities that might play out during that said punishment and ask yourself, who is really being punished?