Want to really freak your kid out? Try this.
Surprise! Give your kids what they want before they ask for it.
With great fanfare and exaggerated intensity, I’ll approach the boys and say, “Mom and I have been talking and we need you both to get on your iPads for the next hour, not look up from your screens and play whatever games you want. No questions, no comments, just get to it. OK, go!”
Do try this at home.
I usually get blank stares and little recognition of reality. Then they’re certain I’m kidding and/or that it’ll cost them eating a bundle of green beans or raking the autumn leaves–from the entire neighborhood.
The real fun begins when they realize I’m serious but they’re so incredulous they hesitate to act.
It might sound as if I’m a Screen Nazi, ready to pull the WiFi plug at a moment’s notice and struggle on a regular basis to find the balance between fun and fanaticism with screens.*
It works for smaller items as well.
My youngest son could eat fries three times a day. I’m pretty 4 out of 5 doctors recommend fries 1 time per month. We know he loves them, we know he always wants them.
The surprise on his face when I suggest that we should really have some fries for dinner is worth the extra 829 calories he’s going to chow down in the coming 16 minutes.
Surprises are surprising when they don’t happen that often. Use them wisely and find an opportune time (like when they really don’t expect it) and surprise them with your kindness–even if it pains you.
* OK fine, that’s me. Any screen solutions welcome.