Monday, July 2, 2012

What do I do with my kids ALL day?


 Hello.... these are my kids..... and they are addicted to the TV.  I'm not proud of it but it's true. Being 4 and 2, they seem to have the attention spans of a flea. I  have had the best of intentions this winter, then spring , now summer to make a daily schedule of things to do so that we aren't in front of the TV all day. And it hasn't  happened.

It seems that everyone out there does activities with their kids all day. I hear things like " They only watch an hour of TV a day"  They seem to be entertaining themselves while the mommies are crafting, cooking, or cleaning.  WTF?!! what am I doing wrong?

My little cute monsters are on me like a pig on dirt all day unless I turn on the TV.  When I do think of things to do, they fight, or get bored with it after 10 minutes. Or only one likes it and the other one gets bored after 10 minutes. I'm not the kind of mom who can always be going somewhere or doing something outside the house. It's just not me. We definitely get out and about three times a week with going places and having friend time but not everyday.

How do you all do it?  How do you keep them occupied without a degree in kid time management? I feel like women I know who were teachers before kids have all these great ideas and ways to keep them busy. , I really want to see a hour by hour run down of what y'all do all day with your cute  little monsters. Maybe that would help me see that the rumors aren't true or help me figure things out.

My 4 year old still takes naps and the reason I still try for it is because I don't know what I would do with her for the 2-4 hours she sleeps everyday? I can't think of enough things for the 10 hours she is already awake all day. ( up at 6am everyday...sigh)

Please I need your help with this.  They aren't really into crafts yet except water colors and sometimes drawing with crayons. They don't like being outside unless I am 120% playing with them.I feel like the world's worst mom because I don't want to be the entertainment 10 hours out of the day.  I want to play with them but I want them to entertain themselves and each other. Is that so much to ask?

Help me with ideas...I'm open to almost anything. I'll read books, take seminars....is there a mommy boot camp?

tv portion of  image from sweetclipart.com
Monday
What is the Gunny Sack -Making the world Cuter -Debbie Doo -DIY How Off
DIY Shop - Lines Across My Face -I should be mopping the Floor
Great Fun 4 Kids

Tuesday

How to Nest For Less - Tip Junkie - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia -The Kurtz Corner
Sugar Bee - Romance On A Dime - Chronic Christian Crafter - Funky Polka Dot Giraffe
The Winthrop Chronicles

Wednesday
Oopsey Daisy - Thrifty Home - Someday Crafts - Sew Much Ado
- Junk in Their Trunk  - Southern Lovely


Thursday

My rePurposed Life - Beyond the Picket Fence - Somewhat Simple - Live Laugh Rowe
Loving this Crazy Life -Scrappy Crafty Happy - Fireflies and Jellybeans - The Shabby Cottage
Quality Cheap Home  - The Taylor House
House of Hepworths   Two in Diapers

Friday

Naptime CraftersStay At Home Nation
Young and CraftyMy Turn(ForUs)
Delicate Construction
Serenity Now
Family Ever After 

Here Comes the Sun

Saturday


Six Sister's Stuff
Be Different Act Normal

Sunday
Nifty Thrifty Things

Other Fun Blogs

62 comments:

  1. Love the changes to your header!

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  2. Well, I am right there with ya! We have never really had strict hours for tv watching. And my kids watch too much. But, they do go outside and are active and they read (well, one of them at least). But the TV is my godsend and the reason I am sane :-) I am so not a sit on the floor and play with my kids kinda mom. I don't want to play barbies. And there is only so much My Little Pony matching game I can stand (one. Ever.) I am so thankful that they are old enough to walk up the street to our neighborhood pool on their own. I am thankful that they hang out with their friends (here or elsewhere). But the tv - it's still on all the time :-)

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    1. Thank you for making feel like I'm not the only one. I feel like when they get a little older and they can take direction a little better we can to more activities. But listening is not their strong suit right now. Running around and making a mess is what they do best.

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  3. Thankfully mine are a little bit older so they like to play pretend with their Legos and their LeapFrog Explorers are my BFFs, I swear!

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    1. Erin... I can't wait until they get to that age. And those may be on our upcoming Christmas lists. Every mommy I know likes them so who am I to disagree?

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  4. Good luck breaking the TV habit. It will be a tough one to crack, but you can do it!!!!

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  5. Hi there...welcome to blogging and newbie party. thanks for linking up your beautiful blog. I hope you enjoy meeting some other of the participants. Happy 4th!

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  6. i would print all the ideas you mark on pinterest and try one per day. find those teachers, home-schooler, and SAHM pins. hopefully the kids will like one project so much that they ask for it again later.

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    1. Do what I pin on Pinterest? That's so crazy it just might work! LOL. Seriously, that is a good idea. No w I just have to find them, write them down, and then go find the stuff.

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  7. My daughter watches too much too. I'm in the same boat with ya but it's hard to change. We love going to the park but that's not happening in this heat. We do play, she's into make believe but that'll be in small chunks of time, maybe an hour or two total in a day. We color but that's not time consuming. We are trying to save money so some activities are out of our price range. Good luck!!! I'm sure it's even harder with 2!

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    1. I'm sorry to say I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks for being right there with me. It's so crazy. I didn't know I'd have to be the social director/event coordinator every day. It's a bad habit of mine that I just like having the tv for background noise even when I'm home by myself. I wish my husband could program it to not come on from like 10-4.

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  8. Hey Emily... I feel ya.
    So I thought I would give you this link to a post I wrote way-back-when... "Confessions of a Lazy Mother".
    http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/2009/05/confessions-of-lazy-mother.html
    I'm not the entertainment committee either. My kids have always had to entertain themselves - which often has meant TV/DVD's
    Of course making sure WHAT they're watching is crucial. Free to air TV with all that advertising = not good. DVD's = better.
    Recently (like only THIS YEAR) I have discovered the power of PLAY - child centred play where they have 10 minutes of your complete attention to play in a game led by them. Completely do-able even for a play-phobe like me.
    Here's that journey...
    http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/2012/02/what-difference-play-makes.html

    So yeah, we all do what we can to get through the day and do the things that need to get done. Mothering is not meant to require a degree in child psychology, so chuck the guilt out the window OK??
    Hugs to you Emily.
    Loved the post, loved your honesty.
    xxx

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    1. First of all ....YEA... You are like me! and secondly your posts were great. It's so nice to hear I'm not the only one. Those classes sound amazing but they don't look they are free here :( I guess I'll see what I can do. As we all do, I want to be the best mom I can. Thanks for taking time to write me.

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  9. Emily, I love this post! I watch too much tv and have cut back considerably. My daughter, as well, watches quite a bit now that it is soooo hot. I've decided all of those moms out there who say their kids Never watch tv are lying. lol. Anyhoo, thank you for sharing. Visiting from Beyond the Picket Fence. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2012/07/make-it-pretty-monday-week-4.html Wishing you a grand evening. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn. And thanks for the invite. I'm all linked up. And I'm super impressed that you used to sing opera. I wish you lived near by. I've always wanted to sing better. It's on my bucket list.

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  10. LMAO!!! Many times (most) the TV or DVD saved my children from me. Not to worry, you will be a happier mom when you have your time and they will eventually learn to entertain themselves, so relax and do what you want and let those other moms raise their own kids. No, I am really not sure I believe about the "perfect" moms that have a "perfect" house and make everything and their kids are totally playing and crafting on their own and never watch TV. Dude! I used to give my kids a choice: either go clean your room or go play in your room, Lol. And I let them watch TV. Another issue: I always thought that a mom with only one child had no clue but I was wrong. When my girls were little (two years apart) I could tell them to go play. But when my son was little (11 years behind the girls) I felt bad telling him to go play by himself. So you just can't win. So remember Happy wife (mother) Happy life! (to quote my sweet hubby who keeps trying to train these young men he worked with). So make yourself happy and your whole family will benefit. Your kids will be fine, they are loved:)

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    2. God love you. You're like an older sister?aunt ( you pick which one you want to be ) I never had. I wish you lived around me so we could go have a drink/coffee. Or you could watch my kids. My husband does follow you're husbands rule often but not all the time. sigh.

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  11. i love your post. At last some honesty. My son watches a lot of TV so I know how you feel. I try and get him out of the house at least once a day so we don't have a 12 hour stretch of TV. I am quite lucky though because at 2.5 years he is quite good at entertaining himself and will often go out into the garden and make up games with bean poles or mudpies or what ever he finds out there. I find trying to avoid saying No or being over cautious helps - otherwise i'd never let him play with half the stuff he finds.
    Also have you tried sensory bins. They are really easy to throw together and they keep my one going for an hour at a time. The most basic one we have is just rainbow rice and he will play with his diggers for ages in it. Also playdough and a garlic crusher seems to amuse him a lot. Sometimes i start the play with him and leave the TV on. Usually by the time an episode of fireman sam has finished he is so into his play that i can turn the TV off without him noticing.
    Good luck.

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    1. The sensory bins look cool but then all i can think about is when the little one decides it's more fun to pour it on the floor and mommy has to clean it up. I'm always thinking about the clean up. I'm kinda lazy like that. I do need to branch out and worry less about that though. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

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    2. i get that concern, We play on a giant plastic sheet that is easy to pick up and pour the stuff back in the box afterwards, and I usually make clean up part of the game - My son likes playing with the vacuum cleaner.
      I did a post on dealing with the stress of messy play if you are interested http://tamingthegoblin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/stressed-out-by-messy-sensory-play.html

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  12. Thank you for being a REAL mom!! I feel like such a jerk sometimes when other moms tell me how much their play with educational toys and only watch shows that teach them other languages... I'm like, yeah, my daughter just watch three Yo Gabba Gabba's in a row! LOVE your blog! Stopping by from the blog hop! Am now a new follower:) Would love if you could follow me back!

    http://crazy-mama-drama.blogspot.com/

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-Mama-Drama/259491484156846

    https://twitter.com/LoveMyMamaDrama

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    1. I love Crazy People! I know this because most days, i am one of them too. We must be part of the same crazy tribe. You're blog is awesome. Let's just keep telling it like it is. I'm following you right back.

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  13. I'm in the same boat! Trying to keep a 2 year old busy while I feed/change/etc. a 3 month old means lots of movies at our house. I have a big problem with making messes though too. I can never bring myself to let my daughter paint, or play with markers, or even beans because it feels like I'm just making more work for myself. The time I spend trying to dig bits of play dough out of the carpet isn't worth the 5 minutes that she actually played with it!
    So far the best things I've found are lots and lots of stickers, and these things called aqua beads. You soak these tiny beads in water and they grow into something like a squishy marble. They do break if you squeeze them too hard, and you have to watch that they aren't "tasted", but I put them in an empty bathtub and she stays busy for more than 2 hours if I really need a break. Just so you know, you aren't the only one who wonders how the heck some women "do it all". Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks Toni. I need all the luck I can get some days. You're right. My two are into stickers now as well. The older one has even started playing "mail" and taking envelopes and putting stickers all over as stamps. And I nevr thought about the mess thing, but , you're right. I hate cleaning it up too. A mommy's work is never done. :)

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  14. Thanks for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you again on Monday! And, anytime you're in Houston, I got a free voice lesson for you!! lol. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse.

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    1. Sa-weet! I have a friend that lives i College Station so if I ever have a lay-over. I'll take you up on that.

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  15. This post was the most-viewed post in my link party last week! I will be featuring it! :)

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    1. Thanks again, Stephanie. Or can I call you Steph?

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  16. Thank you for admitting this! My oldest son loves tv and would watch ALL day if I let him, which I sometimes do if I'm sick or pregnant. I was a a nanny and then an elementary school teacher, though, so I do have some tricks, thank God, or else I would probably pull my hair out being home all day with three.

    Today I squirted some shaving cream on the dining room table and we practiced drawing our letters in it. There's also making a tent out of a sheet thrown over two chairs and putting lots of books and stuffed animals in there. Or a bowl of water on a towel in the kitchen with a few cooking utensils. My kids are total hams so sometimes we break out the video camera and dress up clothes and make music videos. We are also trying-not very successfully since I don't know how to play myself- to start learning to play Piano with the My First Piano Adventures books. Or we'll make collages of stuff that starts with a certain letter. (I usually cut out the pictures from magazines myself so I don't have to worry about the mess of them cutting up paper)

    One of my favorite investments is a Story Reader I got super cheap at Ollie's. It reads books to the kids so you are free to get mommy chores done and my three year old will sit with it forever.

    You will noticed, I promise, that this time next year will be easier. 5 and 3 is so much better for us than 4 and 2! Good luck!

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    1. I'm just glad I'm not he only one. I just need to buckles down, go to the store with a list and get enough supplies for a month of new things and hopefully one of them will stick. I do look forward to when they will play more together instead of fight.

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  17. Thank you for sharing this at The Taylor House! I am featuring it tonight! Yeah!!

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    1. Yippee! Thanks Chrissy! I'm so excited.

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  18. Even though my kids are all in their twenties I remember those days. I played with my kids but I guess I had a short attention span because I couldn't stand it after 30 minutes or so...
    I don't know if this would work in your situation but I 'hired' my next door neighbor's little girl to come over an entertain my little ones. She was about 10 and home for the summer. She didn't baby sit because I was there but she would play with them for a couple of hours each day. Her mom appreciated the fact that she had something to keep her busy and it was a life saver for me.
    Don't feel bad. My kids all turned out fine and they even seem to like me:-)

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    1. LOL! I hope mine still like me too. I just seem to have the shortest fuse lately. I wish i had your situation but alas I have tow boys that live by me. They are awesome kids but they are 14 and 11 and don't want to be over here.

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  19. Thanks for being real! I used to be a mum who spent ALL my time with my son as he was such a handful and never slept. He couldn't play alone, and needed constant stimulation. I now know he has ADHD and ADD, but those years before he started school were an exhausting treadmill of baking, playing cars, crafts, waiting around in playparks (I hate playparks!) and any other activity I could think of. The house was absolutely disgusting as I rarely had the time or energy to clean! Thankfully my three year old daughter is more laid back, and although we try and do one fun activity a day the TV seems to be on a lot. Especially as the summer so far in the UK has been dreadful! I do feel guilty about my daughter sometimes, but she starts nursery in September so I know that the extra time I will have child free (YAY!) will translate into more quality time with her (translated: I will finally have a chance to catch up on all the sleep I've missed over the last 7 years and so will not be such a grumpy mum!).

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    1. I hear you, Emma. Us mommies are so stretched as it is. We need two of us, one for each kid most days. I hate to admit that I do kinds look forward to when they will both be in school at the same time.

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  20. Haha! This is SO true! It really is difficult to keep kids entertained so many hours a week. I made it a goal to do at least one new craft project or outdoor activity a week with my son as well as one game and book a day. This still means hours upon hours of tv time but as long as we get some play time in together I try not to feel too guilty about the down time. He is school age now so we just have to get through the summer and then he will have school to fill up most of his time which is a huge help. If you ever figure out how those other moms manage to keep their kids away from the tv all day long while still getting stuff done around the house and not loosing their minds - let me know. Though I personally don't think they really exist. :)

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    1. That's a good way to look at it. Maybe I shouldn't concentrate on all day activities but a few a day. And no, I'm starting to think they don't either.

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  21. Thank you for sharing on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back this week.
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com

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  22. Thanks so much for linking this great post to my say G'day Party! I can see you have already received some good suggestions. I have featured this post at my blog today so maybe some more people will share some of their wisdom! I'm also sharing this post on my Facebook page.

    I hope you will be be able to say g'day again this weekend at my very first Let's Get Social {Media} Linky Party!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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    1. Aww...thanks Natasha! I have gotten some awesome ideas. Now off to shop for the pieces of those ideas. And I 'll be at all of your parties this weekend. Wouldn't miss it!

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  23. mine are addicted to the wii and tv lol. they are aged 5, 4 and 2

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    1. We're in the same boat then. Let's have some cookies or dessert and they can all watch tv together.

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  24. ha! I was just writing a mental post about this in my head the other night :)
    My kids are 13,11,7 and 6 and they are all pretty much STILL addicted to the box. It's what they enjoy. and it's how I stay sane (ish). And as I was laying in bed thinking about this the other night I thought it's actually fine. they are all still bright kids, they all excel in an area outside of couch potato-ing, really what more can I expect of them!?!
    I know a few families that only watch DVD's on their tele, so time is limited, big ups to them, and I have felt bad about how much my kids watch t.v for all these years because I've compared mine to these families, but I'm NOT GONNA DO IT ANYMORE!!
    once they are school age, that takes up 6 hours of their day ;) get them in a sport or activity and then the t.v time is fully justified.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that. I'm always afraid I'm messing them up for life. I know I watched my fair share as a kid but they didn't have kid shows on all day like they do now.

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  25. Hi, thanks a lot for your honesty! You're very brave to put yourself out there where you potentially could be criticized! Thankfully, you seem to have a lot of support in the comments as well as a lot of useful suggestions! My kids also watch way too much TV, especially during the weekends, when they are home all day. I generally time them (I actually have a timer!!), so that they don't watch too much at a stretch!
    I was wondering if your neighborhood has kids of the same age with whom you can organize playdates? If you offer to take the first round, I bet there will be lots of moms who would jump at the idea!

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    1. Thanks. I Know I could have been but people seem genuinely helpful. I think we all try to say we are perfect but I'm finding that ( through the internet ) no one is. My subdivision isn't too gathering friendly. I know there are kids around here but you never see them. I should try to start something but that's alot to take on.

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  26. It's hard not to let them sit in front of the TV all day if that means that I can get things done around the house. In our house I've restricted TV/video games quite a bit as I noticed if my 5 year old watched too long then he would be a little out of control once the TV was turned off.

    I think you have to teach kids to play by themselves. You could set the timer for 5 or 10 min to start, put out some picture books, dolls, whatever your kids like to play with and tell them it's quiet time and they have to play by themselves until the timer goes off. Maybe start with even less time if that's too hard in the beginning. Try to do it every day, slowly increasing the time. But remember too, watching TV is not the end of the world :P

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. I think the timer is a good idea. Even for when school starts back up. I think I need as much structure as they do sometimes.

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  27. Found you on the link up today---and don't worry we all have those feelings! And sometimes, you just have to have those days:) I have a 3 1/2 and 20 month old---and we have to usually get out every morning from like 10-12ish for our own sanity. The pool, library, walks, park, even just the bagel store. Before that, we usually watch a little tv, get dressed, and free play/help do chores/tear apart the house. After naps (at least the younger one), we head outside, play in our playroom, read books, etc. I usually have to keep them busy from about 4;30-dinnertime. I find that if I play a good solid 15 minutes with them, then I can have a few minutes to get things done. So the whole day is rotating between playing with them and trying to get things done. Hope this helps, but I totally know what you mean. Somedays, one wants to pull their hair out and yes, a little tv isn't going to hurt anyone! (Especially with all these educational shows out there:))

    -Julie
    http://www.thechirpingmoms.com

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    1. Wow..it's like you love my life! I wish there were two of me sometimes. One mom to play with them all day and the other mom to do the mom things that have to get done. Maybe you are right about the 15 minutes of time with them uninterrupted. Maybe they would even gt sick of me for a while :)

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  28. It's so frustrating, isn't it?? Mine love TV too and we don't have a set time. My philosophy for mine is that as long as they would rather play outside than watch TV, we don't have a problem. Lol. Those days that we are around home we do a lot of play-doh, painting, coloring, playing in the kitchen sink full of water, sprinklers out back, etc. By the way... those girls are DOLLS. I'm SO happy that you linked up with the Mommy-Brain Mixer, friend! I hope to see you again next week! :)

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    1. Thanks. We kinda like them too......most of the time :) I'm just not used to being an event coordinator. When there was just one, it was so much easier. Now it's doing things that they both can enjoy and not destroy the house. Those are my two main goals. I know I'll get it but it's nice knowing that everyone isn't as put together as they seem.

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  29. I just came across your post. This is the story of my life. I have a 10 month old and a three year old. I am in the same boat. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. Ps: I try to involve my kids in everything including washing dishes. Park the littlest one in a stroller (yes, in the house!) and do something with the older one. How else are we supposed to keep those kids from getting into everything they shouldn't?!

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  30. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. I just discovered your post and I too am struggling with keeping my 10 month old and 3 year old off the tv. I am just so tired and it seems like it takes so much work! I also like to do things by myself every now and then...like go to the bathroom, know what I mean!? Recently, it has worked to have my daughter pick her own crafts and projects from my pinterest list and we just added one or two items to our grocery list for that week. I also park my youngest in the stroller with a snack (yes, in the house!) while I do projects with my oldest. Now, if I could just figure out how to get the laundry put away.....

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    1. Oh Sharon. Where do you live? We could hang out and then the kids could play with each other while we have bon bons :) Just Kidding about the bon bon part.

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  31. My kids are a lot older (15 & 11), but the need to limit screen time and engage them in exercise and more stimulating and creative pursuits never goes away, and it never gets less challenging! The thing is - and I am far-far-far from doing this perfectly, I assure you! - but what I've learned is that, if they spend their time being "artificially" stimulated, they won't know or remember how to do it themselves.
    My kids have gone through periods where they've read voraciously, made stop-motion movies with their Playmobil toys, had Nerf gun wars outside with friends, etc. These things WILL NOT happen if they have the option of playing video games (their drug of choice). Unfortunately, it is up to us to make the video games stop. But we must, so that these other things can happen. So we do. And after 10 minutes they will whine that they are bored and have nothing to do. That's the hard part. But that is exactly the point where the harder choice has to be made - forcing them to find out what to do instead of video games (or watching TV).
    Your girls (who are adorable, btw) have learned how not to entertain themselves. They are not going to know automatically when you turn off the TV. You will need to plan for this transition. You will need to help them get started with other activities. And you will have to put up with them arguing as they do it (that's another thing that is actually good but is hard to put up with... It's how they learn to deal with people in general, for the rest of their lives).
    Anyway, I really encourage you to push through the first few very challenging weeks of limiting screen time. Don't think you will always have to play with your kids if they're not watching TV. They will have to learn how to play on their own, but it is an amazing skill for them to master. Imagination can only come out to play when the mind must create its own playground. Truly, the rewards will be plentiful and I promise that you will be so very glad you did, when you see the amazing, creative ideas and games and creations your kids come up with out of their own minds!
    I know you wrote this in July and don't know where you are in the journey, but I wish you all the best. I hope this hasn't been too preachy! Please know that I am on the journey of raising creative, capable people, too, and have a lot to improve on... in fact, I need to take my own advice and reign-in the game schedule we slid into through the holidays :~|
    May the force be with you, Mama Emily! All the best, Marta


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