Following on from last Sunday’s howling success (or maybe just ‘howling’) we decided to do No Screen Sunday again yesterday. Here’s nine tips from the day about what worked and what didn’t:
- Getting up early for Junior Park Run – great idea.
- Dozy parents failing to notice that the junior park runner, having eaten her early breakfast and got into running gear, then spends an hour playing Minecraft on her phone until it’s time to go – not so great.
- Following a brisk 2km run in the morning mist, coming home to crumpets, hot chocolate, brioche, bacon and eggs and all other Sunday-morning-type indulgence, then an hour-long bath for the weary runner!
- Parents being available but not at children’s beck and call. Both girls have lots of toys, books and general “stuff you can do stuff with” (loom bands, colouring books etc) in their bedrooms, which never see the light of day. So yesterday morning I strategically positioned myself and the ironing board in my own bedroom, in between their two rooms. Result was a good hour of playing with dolls and lego for them, while I got through a pile of ironing. In between lego creations, 4YO wandered in and out of my room to watch me ironing, which gave us the opportunity to have a chat about steam, water and ice, boxing off a bit of KS1 science for next year!
- Scrambling over rocks: yesterday was one of those glorious sunny autumn days, so after lunch we headed out of the city to a climbing spot out in the dales,where lots of grown up climbers were doing their stuff dangling off cliff edges, while families with younger children scrambled over the smaller stuff. We had a lovely afternoon. Climbing over rocks is just as much fun as going to the playground!
6. Cooking: Husband is on a health drive/ following a faddy diet at the moment, which meant that our evening meal consisted of two different types of fish, two different types of carbs and different vegetables. So I enlisted the help of 11YO as she really is getting very good at cooking. With minimal supervision, she managed to produce some pretty tasty home-made tuna burgers and vegetable crisps, while I concentrated on hubby’s salmon and steamed millet…
7. Family games: my new year’s resolution (am I the only person who makes resolutions when the school year starts in September?) is to encourage more board games, to practice those much-needed skills of co-operation, sharing and taking turns! Last night we played Zoo Who, a very simple game aimed at children 3+, where you choose cards with food pictures and match them with the Zoo animal who eats that type of food. The winner is the first person who gets to feed all his or her animals. The last time we played this game I seem to remember that 4YO threw all her food cards at me, but last night I actually won and there were no tears or tantrums. Let’s hope this is a sign of progress!
8. Teamwork: I read a great blog recently about how the most healthy family dynamic is children against parents, so just before bathtime I set a challenge against the clock to see if the two girls could work together to get both of their rooms tidy. Result was two very tidy bedrooms and no falling out. I suspect after a day of TV this kind of activity would have resulted in an almighty meltdown about who was/ wasn’t doing their fair share, so this was a real bonus.
9. Getting creative: after 4YO had gone to sleep, 11YO spent an hour before bedtime designing and sewing a Christmas decoration for the advent calendar we’re planning.
Originally she held it all together with sellotape as she’s convinced that sewing is too difficult. But with a bit of encouragement, and me threading the needle for her, she managed to put in a few stitches as well – which was both a great boost to her confidence and such an effort of concentration that she was ready for bed by the time she’d finished.
All in all, yesterday was a pretty good day. I think No Screen Sunday could become a regular thing….