It’s summer vacation (at least here in the Philippines), but my little girls are not watching TV, ironically. I had to impose the rule of no TV for a week after I have noticed that they seem to have gotten addicted to some programs that they usually watch, to the point that it would take them about an hour to finish a meal and we’re usually late for appointments because they’re glued to the screen. Last Easter Sunday was the last straw, when we came to church late (again) for the nth time.
At first, I thought the rule would be very difficult to impose for in the past they used to sneak while I would be asleep or reading in the bedroom. I was actually pleasantly surprised that they have been very cooperative. They did not plead to have the sanction lifted, although they would assure me that they would not interfere if I watched TV. Once or twice, however, they asked me if their late grandmother had banned me from watching TV when I was their age and how I felt about it, as if to make me feel guilty for rule I was imposing on them. That question was quite easy for me to answer though, since in the first place, I didn’t like watching TV that much when I was their age. I was usually playing or reading and coloring books, especially that I learned to read even before I started going to school and my mother always made sure that I have books and crayons to keep me occupied for hours.
They looked for ways to entertain themselves, nevertheless, and it’s amazing how they seem to have gotten closer to each other the past week. They did not seek to play with other kids, but were content enough to be with one another and attend to their six-month old puppies as well. They checked out their bookshelves and started reading their old story books, even reviewed some textbooks, rummaged through their toys, brought out their art supplies and created a lot of stuffs, including games. Sometimes, they would invite me to play with them too, or become their audience as they make their own videos using my iPhone.
I felt very accomplished that we were able to pull it through with no tantrums at all. Sure, I was tempted to turn on the TV and watch some programs myself, but I refrained from doing it to make things easier for them. I’ve also thought that the money being paid to our cable TV service provider was being wasted, but seeing the end result was worth it. Aside from the renewed bond between them, it has become so much easier to talk to them now that they can focus on my words.
Since they have behaved quite well without TV and the week was over, I guess it’s time for me to give them back that privilege. However, I have to be careful this time that they no longer spend so much time with it or they would just revert to their old ways. Two hours of screen time, i.e., including the use of computers and iPhone, should suffice as the experts say. I believe imposing such rule could help teach them to prioritize things and organize their schedule, starting with the kind of program that they want to watch and when.