Sunday, 30 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 8

Today has been a PJ day! Lots of relaxing and playing together. The Lush paper arrived a couple of days ago and they found it on the side and ran off to make Christmas lists of all the lovely lush things they want!
LOOK!!! More writing from Brendan and all through his own choice!



We have had the Duplo out, Dr Who toys, Re-creations of last nights Dr Who treat and the end to poor Amy Pond :-(  The one bit of telly I allowed this week and it brought on nightmares in my eldest lol... he hasn't crawled in to my bed in the night in years!



We have had a friend over to visit this morning, and the boys Grandparents came, delivering a new temporary cd player for them to borrow and some junk modeling goodies and also a couple of new fish for the tank!

We did a spot of tidying and cleaning in the boys room. Brendan crawled under the bed with the hoover hose and cleaned the dust from the carpets and even the skirting boards!

We made chocolate cup muffins for pudding and made lots of funny faces while they gobbled it all up!





This evening we finished off the night with a game or 2 of "Guess Who" with Daddy and then played in a Glow stick bath!! Nice and relaxing before bed!



Saturday, 29 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 7

It's a been week today!

I have to say I am feeling very positive about the whole thing. I feel that we have got in to a rhythm of doing other things and that if tv was to be allowed again tomorrow, that they would be happy with an hour a day and the rest of the time they would find fun things to do.

This morning Kenzie woke early and crawled in to bed for a cuddle. This is something I am loving again. a few weeks ago he would sprint down the stairs and I would be woken to the noise of Spongebob :-(  Now I am getting a lovely cuddle and he is falling asleep again for a little bit as well as sleeping in most days longer than he has before. Not sure if this is connected but I think it is because he doesn't wake and think "TV" so he doesn't  jump out of bed so fast.

This morning I came down and made a cup of tea to take back upstairs. I explained to him that it is the weekend and mummy, Daddy and Brendan want a bit of a lay in. I got out some sun catchers to paint and his water colours. Once he was set at his task I went back upstairs to doze.


 Brendan woke about half an hour later and took his broken stereo downstairs and between the 2 of them they started to dismantle it to see how it all works and what cool bits they could find inside.


Once they had tired of dismantling, I called them in to the kitchen to come and make some dough for our Michaelmas Bread dragons!


 Then we got to the shaping of our Dragons. It has been lovely and flowed naturally in to the boys current interest. Since the new Dragon book arrived last night Brendan has been on a Dragon designing mission. He even dragged Kenzie in to his little world and he got him drawing a dragon too. He sat with him and carefully wrote the statistics down for his and Kenzies Dragons and included Kenzie in the process. Asking him how strong his Dragon should be? how fast? what special attacks did it have? It was lovely. Brendan wrote so much and so neatly as well. Not bad for someone who has only really been writing a year and does not tend to "choose" to write in his spare time! They used their designs to make their bread Dragons!



We left them to rise while Kenzie went to a Birthday party and Brendan stayed home with Daddy and he used the insides of his stereo to make ships for his Sklander figures. When Kenzie got home he joined in too! We cooked the bread and it turned out really well!




Kenzie ate that whole Dragon in one sitting!!!!

While we waited for Dr Who to come on and the first bit of telly for Kenzie in a week, we finished off the Sklander spaceships and played a few games of "Guess Who?"



When I look back over this week and see what has changed, how much the boys have played together, how much conversation has been shared and how much natural learning the boys have been doing in the name of "fun", I know that this change has been for the good. There is still a week left of our challenge and when tv and computers are allowed back, I know it will be much less than it was and with stronger monitoring. I don't want to go back to hours of mindless cartoons each day, and it will not be coming back in the morning before school. The cloth will stay close to the telly so that there is a clear sign of when the TV is off limits and I know that if the obsession returns, that we can detox again and the boys also know this will happen. Balance is the key.


SCREEN FREE - day 6

Should have got this posted yesterday but forgot! sorry!

The morning was lovely again. The boys ate well and then played Beyblades with their friend who walks to school with us.

The afternoon was rather busy which keeps the mind off telly related things. We were going to do our traditional tea and cake at the local antique center for the Macmillan coffee morning fundraiser. But this year they had done it a week earlier for some reason and we had missed it. Thankfully we had organised a gathering for parents at school in the hall. There have been so many new families joining our little school recently that the head teacher thought it would be nice if some of us could set something up. My friend did all the hard work bless her. She made cakes and iced biscuits and set it all up. We popped a donations dish on the table and wrote a note saying any donations would be given to Macmillan, so still felt we had done something to raise money.
I also had my friends 2 boys after school while she went to a family funeral. The boys had their tea pot on the table and enjoyed pouring their cups of tea and eating cakes!
Unfortunately the 3 boys with ASD had come out of school in a rather "volatile" mood and several times it either kicked off or needed an adults quick intervention, so once the tea was all gone, I did a quick tidy up and then had to do a runner to get them all to mine.


Once in the house and less children around, the 2 kids with ASD that were with me calmed down quickly. I sent Brendan upstairs for a shower and his new "how to train your dragon" book had arrived. This gave him something to do and focus on and he stayed in his room till he was ready to join people again!
The other little boy played Knights and forts with Kenzie and then Beyblades!

I dished up dinner for all which they did eat despite the amount of cake that had been consumed earlier!

Then they all went outside to make potions in the mudpie kitchen!



Once everyone had gone home and the house was tidied, we sat down to read the new Dragon book together. To start with Kenzie chose to listen to a dragon story cd on Brendans bed and follow the words in the book, but sadly after about 2 minutes the stereo packed up.... it had been struggling for a few days and it has now gone to silicone Heaven! So he came down to join us for story time on the sofa! And then it was bedtime!




I did get told off by the little boy who came to play for not allowing telly time.... he had apparently been looking forward to playing Skylanders. I gave him a hug and made a deal that he could come another day and we would play it. He thought it very silly to have a TV that we are not allowed to use!! I did try to explain but our deal cheered him up again!

And that was day 6!

 Today is 7 and so far (although early) the boys are finding interesting things to do while i drink a cuppa in bed. Brendan is dismantling his CD player that packed up last night and Kenzie is painting sun catchers!

Today is also Saturday which means Dr Who day! Kenzie is excited about this but I am pleased to say, he is not obsessing over it as he was a week ago. This might be having the desired effect!!




Thursday, 27 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 5

As always the morning is lovely. Breakfast is eaten before anything else is done and then the boys move on to playing with toys. This morning it was Pokemon battles with little Pokemon figures on the living room floor!

This afternoon was after "school club" for Kenzie. Brendan chooses not to stay and so he came home and talked the ear off of anyone who would listen (mainly my friend Anna who came over for a cuppa) about Dragons and Pokemon, while sticking stickers in his Pokemon book.
Once Kenzie came home the real fun started. lots of giggling and running about with the toddlers.
The sun was out so the back doors have been flung open again. it was lovely to see them running around outside, throwing balls to each other and rolling around in a tunnel tube. Kenzie turned himself in to a woodlouse!






















When the rain came down it wasn't heavy and they all enjoyed running around in it and then getting the umbrella out and dancing in it!

After some lovely feed back from friends yesterday I changed our routine and Kenzie had a bath and played with some of his plastic animals in there. This kept him relaxed and occupied for half hour or so.

Brendan and I cooked dinner together. He chopped peppers for the Fajitas we were making. Brendan's favorite meal as a reward for working hard today.


Kenzie has got a bit of sneaky computer time today at after school club and said he played a game with a friend. He hasn't asked for tv once today and the only time it has been mentioned is to ask how many sleeps till Dr Who! 

So that's day 5



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 4

Well...... not sure what to say about today.

Neither of the boys are interested in the tv very much now. No one is really asking about it. Far more imaginative games are being played.

Brendan came home from school and set about working on his Warhammer figures and creating a rather complex game of Skittles in the hall way!























 Kenzie and Little "E" and our new little girl (another little "E") all worked together on building an animal rescue center in the play room. It is wonderful to see them creating their own entertainment.





But on a down point, one of Kenzies teachers came out today and said he has been rather difficult this week. Snapping at the children and not cooperating with what he is asked to do at school. She doesn't know if it is connected to the screen free or just a coincidence that it has been the same week.
 Although he has seemed happier and we have had less arguments, I have noticed his growing snappiness towards the children around him. His school friends and also towards me at times. I have sat him down tonight and told him it has to stop. I will not tolerate him being snappy with people and I will not tolerate him answering and arguing back with me. The one thing I would have done in the past is take away telly or gadget time...... now I don't have that bargaining tool to use, I am finding it hard to think of a consequence for his behaiour.

So I am going on the approach of pleading to his empathy and his "wanting to please". I have told him that it makes me sad to hear him speak to people the way he does. I have told him It makes me sad that he answers back when I ask for his help and that if he doesn't work hard at school I will be disappointed. This approach has worked in the past so I am hoping it will again.  I am spending time with him, playing with him and chatting with him and walking away from him when he is rude or snappy. If he is snappy to others then he gets sent upstairs till he is in a better mood..... When he is kind, thoughtful and uses kind words towards someone he is praised and thanked. I don't know if it is the right way to deal with it but I am hoping......

I did have to giggle though. He told school he was not alowed to to do his ICT work as he is on screen free time. lol Bless him. Maybe I should have made it clearer that it does not apply to school time and school work. We have now made that point a bit clearer!



Tuesday, 25 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 3

Not much to report. Less asking for tv and more playing.

I did have a moment this afternoon where I felt like putting the telly on. I had 8 children after school. ranging from 1 to 10 years and at one point the house became very boisterous and loud! The rain was like a waterfall so I couldn't throw the doors open and let them out. For a moment I just wanted to put a film on and tell them to all sit down while I cleared up some of the mess that 8 kids can make in a very short period of time!
But I resisted that urge! and we got through that moment...... "This too shall pass" as they say!

This evening I was a little pre occupied with some things I needed to sort out, so Kenzie asked to ring nanny for a chat. And chat he did... for ages. He talked about the shrinky dinks that he and Brendan had made this evening and the baby fish in our tank.

Kenzie decided that he would like to listen to a CD in bed before bed, so he went up a bit early and listened to a Dr Who story.

It's all going very well....... so far......

Here is a pic of the boys working on their Shrinky Dinks together!


Monday, 24 September 2012

SCREEN FREE - day 2

Well i don't have any pictures of today's screen free time sadly but I still want to record it.

This morning both boys got up and got dressed. They both had breakfast before doing anything else! This might not sound like a big deal, but is something i have been "Nagging" them to do for over a year. I have been getting cross that they are sat watching tv when they haven't eaten, despite our rule that telly does not go on until they are all ready for school.  But today it was not problem. Both of the boys had eaten, before I had even finished getting dressed this morning!

The second lovely thing about our morning was the no arguments! Not one!

Kenzie and I had a couple of games of "guess who" and then, while I made the pack lunches, Brendan started to teach Kenzie how to play chess! The house felt calm and stress free!

This afternoon has been a bit different. Kenzie has asked about when TV is coming back, but excepted much quicker than yesterday that it was not for some time yet. Brendan was allowed TV as soon as Daddy came home from work. He had a visit to secondary school and it did not go well. He came home in a right state and needed calming quite quickly. I sent him outside with fire building materials and the chimnea and that soon brought him back round and before long he was mesmerized by the flickering flames and crackles. Sat out in the Autumn cold with no shoes on, but warm by the fire. He stayed there till the fire burned out and then came in to shower off the bonfire smell. Then he curled up with daddy for a film in our bedroom.

Kenzie an I however enjoyed story after story! He read so much more than normal. I read to him and then he read to me again. I didn't feel like the evening was rushed, trying to fit in everything. TV was taking up so much of our time even when it was only on for a couple of hours a night. We cuddled and chatted together until bed time and then I took him upstairs and tucked him in for the night.

So that was day 2!


AUTUMN PLAY!

Today we are back to full capacity! It is lovely have all the children back here with me and together. Its been 2 months of one or the other being away and while the reduced numbers have made a nice change, the routine has been missed.


This morning we started our day with our new topic. Autumn! I had hoped that we could go for a nice Autumnal walk, but sadly we had so much rain yesterday and then another Tsunami this morning that we just decided against it.

I set up our book corner with some seasonal books.......


I set up a lovely Autumn sensory tray......


The girls had a lovely morning of exploring! We read a couple of the books and talked about the changing leaves, colours that we could see, the animals in the books and the pumpkins!


They explored the sensory box and added their own things. There has been a lot of transferring and transporting going on. Lots of things put in bags and taken on walks around the house!


The girls helped me set up an Autumn garden scene. We added wildlife, some people and lots of leaves! They ran back and forth to gather nuts for the Squirrel and sticks to make nests for hibernation! 


They have returned to this several times this morning and seem to really enjoy playing with it.

The girls then chose to get out the musical instruments. So we had a sing song. A great chance to practice some of our new Autumn songs. Little "R" noticed that the rain was hammering hard on the playroom roof and watched it flowing down in to the gutters. She asked for "incy wincy spider" I was very impressed that she made this connection! So we sang a few of our old favorites too, accompanied by clashing cymbals and the recorder!


Just before lunch we moved on to some construction with the wooden building blocks.





Todays play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional
  • Communication and Language
  • Literacy
  • Expressive Art and Design
  • Understanding the World

Sunday, 23 September 2012

SCREEN FREE DAY 1

So day 1 came, and has gone.

This morning Kenzie came in to our room and gave me a cuddle in bed. This is quite normal. But the conversation was very much about not being allowed telly. How many sleeps? is that a long  time? what can I do?

I talked through the plan again with him and gave him a few ideas of things he could do. I said it was a bit early for mummy and daddy to be getting up, he could stay here and have a snuggle or go down and play something quietly or read a book. We talked about what I did when I was little.  How reading a book can feel like tv because the pictures in your head are like watching the story you are reading.

I left him to settle for half hour and then went downstairs to join him. We had breakfast together and decided to play "Guess who". So that's what we did. We had a few games and then Brendan woke up and the boys played that together for a good long while.


We popped in to town so that Brendan could do his War hammer and I looked for a few cheap and fun things for them to do over the next couple of weeks. I got some shrinkles to make and a new card game and a couple of tins of watercolours.

We stopped at our usual cafe and had Fruit Frappe's and lunch and then set off home.


The boys played with Bayblades once home.The rain has been falling ALL day... non stop! So very little chance for a trip to the park :-(


Every now and then Kenzie would come and talk to me about "No screen time". If he is a good boy will he get it as a treat. I again reminded him of what is happening and why it is happening and then asked him if he would like me to help him with his homework.
So that was our next activity. Looking round the house for Cylindrical objects to draw and label.


After that he asked to do some painting. So I set that up in the kitchen and then made a cup of Tea and read my Childminding magazine. He painted some lovely pictures!


Kenzie went upstairs to make a den under his bed. I think we needed some space at this point as he was getting a bit cross about our new set up and was not being very kind in his tone, when speaking to me. So he made a den under his bed and chilled out for a bit while Brendan and I played a new snap game all about the UK. Very good fun and educational too!


Kenzie came down with his Dr Who board game and asked if we could play it, so we had a game of that too. It is quite a fast paced game as the board keeps moving and changing!


By this point it was time for me to finish making our roast dinner. The boys had showers and Brendan did his homework, all on the Battle of Britain. He seemed to really enjoy this homework. Then they got out the wooden building blocks and skylander figures and a couple of Tardis's and a sonic screwdriver and created their own imaginary world with it all. This carried them through till dinner and then again for a good hour and a half after dinner. It was lovely to watch, They became so engrossed in it. lots of cooperation, sharing and conversation.


Before we knew it, it was time for bed..... just as the power went out. Typical of this village. We only have electric here and it's always cutting out in bad weather. Todays torrential, non stop rain was bound to cause problems. So we all settled down to rest in candle light. Very relaxing!

Not a bad 1st day. We have  had a couple of moments which is to be expected. I have had to guide Kenzie at times but Brendan seems to have found all sorts of things to do with his time. Once they have been settled at something though, the play has flowed, easy and free! They have such wonderful imaginations and are so creative! It has made me even more determined not to let them loose that ability to mindless tv shows.

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