Small changes is a theme of parenthood. From the newborn days when you spend days trying to parent perfectly only to find out that once you have found your stride something changes to the constant changes of routines and schedules of school-aged sports playing children.
Last year, I wrote about a change in routine of walking to school. This fall, I’m working on the extra screen time that has been creeping into our schedules. The children are early risers (as in sometimes before 6 a.m.) so starting the day with a tv show was a routine that we fell into because it bought us all time to start our days at our own speed. With computer games, and time running away from us, one 30 minute tv show has turned into two or three times that on any given morning. Then again, in the afternoon as I was making dinner somehow extra screen time wriggled into the schedule again. In addition, I don’t think screen time is the best way to start the day. Last year, we did no screen time in the afternoon because they had it in the morning but again, after homework and activities somehow screens made their way back on.
Last week, I prepared the kids for a change. I mentioned that we are shifting routines to start our day without screen time. There were fears, there were tears, there were negotiations, and there were tweaks. There will be tweaks as we go. I started the week with no morning screen time on a Thursday to ease into it. Weekends are more flexible. Yesterday, as I picked up pretzels and frozen vegetables to do a quick re-stock in the house, I also picked up an activity that I thought the kids might enjoy doing together in the morning. Crayola to the rescue! I got the new Crayola kit where kids get to create their own marker colors. It was pretty cool!
The best thing about this morning is that we were all ready early, so we walked and rode scooters to school. While I was packing lunch, my little guy, who is usually running around telling everyone to hurry up because we’ll be late said, “This is so great, we have so much time and we can even help get things ready.” Wait what?! Not only did my heart melt, but I actually had two kids in the kitchen willing to help out. Isabelle packed her own snack, and Henry packed up the bags.
I am no fool. I know this is the honeymoon period and we’ll be back to tears, fears, negotiations, and “You are the meanest mom in the world”s, but for now I’m going to take it and run with it. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for those rougher mornings. I’ll keep you posted as we continue along with this and other little changes.