I have a strict “No More Than Two Hours of Screen Time Per Day” rule.
In my own head.
Some days, Ryan only watches an hour of TV. On those days – which happen about once a month – I feel like an incredible mother.
Most days, I stay pretty close to the two-hour rule. An hour and a half of TV + an hour on the iPad = I’m a decent mother.
And then other days, I let him watch three shows in a row. Even though he already watched three that morning.
Once in a while … every now and then … we have a day (ahem, Tuesday) in which he is a complete jerk and I take away all screen privileges for the day cuz whatisyourproblem. But then I realize it’s only 9:40 a.m., at which point I know I will recant and let him watch a show by 3 p.m.
So maybe that strict “rule” is more like a well-intended “guideline.”
Also, jumping on the couch.
There is to be no.jumping.on.the.couch.ever.
Except on long days where I’m tired of hearing my own “firm voice” and I just want myself to shut up, but he’s still jumping. On those days? Fine, jump, whatever.
You want to throw that stuffed soccer ball? Well, we have a “No Throwing Balls in the House” rule, but really, how much damage could that one cause? As long as you know this means you can’t throw a real soccer ball in the house, go ahead.
(I’m fairly certain he doesn’t understand that difference, which is why the real soccer ball is locked up outside.)
Consistency is so important for kids. They need to have boundaries, rules. I try. I really do.
But sometimes I don’t feel like waging war over every couch jump. Sometimes, I don’t care if a ball knocks a picture frame off a table.
I know it sends mixes messages. I know it makes him push even harder against the rules because he knows he can sometimes sway me.
It’s just that there are times when all of that logic is outweighed by my overwhelming desire to simply have a peaceful day. A day in which Ryan watches loads of TV while jumping on the couch and tossing around a soccer ball as I smile and nod at him.
You know what isn’t helping?
We’ve had too many preschool snow days, too much time rambling around our small home and not nearly enough time running around outside.
I’ve decided I’ll be a more consistent mother when the weather breaks.
I'm Meghan. I grew up in Ohio, came of age in Arizona and am now raising a family in Pennsylvania. I'm a freelance writer, an essayist and a stay-at-home mom to a spirited four-year-old boy. We're on a journey to adopt our second child through the foster care system. I'm told I am too organized and too sarcastic for my own good but I don't see how either is possible.
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