Getting Back To The Basics
Updated: Oct 24, 2020
In raising my son I think about my childhood a lot. My mom was adamant that outdoor play was a must, we were limited to one hour of television a day, our toys weren't fancy electronics, there was lots of music and dancing......I had a great childhood.
When my son officially became a toddler and was paying more closely to his surroundings, I started to notice how he always asked for the TV to be turned on or for my phone. He also hated car rides so my husband had set up a tablet in the back of the car for him to watch whenever we went out. All of it was bothering me and I knew it had to change and I had a feeling that the longer it went on, the harder it would be to implement these changes.
The first thing I started with was changing my behavior. He's at an age where he does whatever he sees me doing and so I make it a point to pick up my phone very little when he's awake and now he rarely even asks for my phone because he doesn't even see it.
Quickly thereafter, I nixed the tablet in the car. I took the tablet holder right out and handed him a book instead. That one wasn't actually that difficult for him to adjust to and now he looks around at his surroundings more, he points things out and tries to say them as we go by, he truly enjoys looking at his books and doesn't typically mind the car. As long as we're moving, haha. He's not a fan of red lights!
The next thing was the television. This one was more difficult for him to adjust to, but I greatly limited television time to an hour or so of Sesame Street in the morning while we nurse and cuddle and then it gets turned off. We play a lot of dancing music and I was utilizing Pandora through the tv, but the screen was still on for him to watch and I felt it needed to be turned off completely so we use a tablet hooked up to my ION Block Rocker. The television isn't turned back on until my husband gets home from work in the evening, but even then my son is so excited that daddy is home that he just wants to play and doesn't watch the tv much.
In implementing this change I have noticed two very significant changes. Usually my son doesn't even want to watch Sesame Street for an hour in the morning now, instead he asks for dancing music to be put on. The second change I noticed right away was that he interacts with his toys a lot more which is so important for development.
The next thing I did was to re-evaluate his toys and I boxed up a bunch to be passed along. He likes simple toys. Sure light up musical things might grab his attention at first, but they don't keep his attention and they're not teaching him anything. On top of that, some of his toys weren't even accurate! For example, for Christmas someone gave him a book that had a bunch of animal noises to match pictures in the book. Great. Except that it included animals like a caterpillar, butterfly, fish and more that it applied musical tunes to. Here I am trying to teach my little one all of the animal sounds and this book is applying musical tunes to these types of animals instead of just leaving them off as options. That book is in the "boxed up toys".
I love Melissa and Doug toys because not only are they simple and practical, but they're also truly educational without utilizing screens and bright lights and such. Whenever I vacuum, my little one grabs his vacuum and goes right along beside me. Same thing when I mop. These are some of the behaviors that I want to encourage and reinforce. Another great company that I absolutely love for toys is called Fat Brain Toys. If you haven't heard of them, I highly recommend you check them out, really neat yet simple toys for kids and they make it easy to sort through by narrowing down by age or category.
If you've considered making some of these same changes, I truly can't encourage you enough because the difference in playful interaction, awareness of surroundings and behavior has been remarkable. I challenge you too to ditch your cell phone whenever your little one is awake, give them your time and full attention instead of browsing Facebook.
How many times have I nursed him and has he been staring at my face and I didn't realize it because I was looking at my phone? How many times has he perhaps tried to get my attention and I missed it because I was on my phone? Have I caused frustration or temper because I missed whatever he was trying to communicate to me? Have there been times he was just trying to get me to pay attention?
These are days we'll never get back with our babies and I'm already kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Ditch the phone, you won't regret it ❤❤❤