Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 23, 2013

AE | The Weekend Lens And The Photos I Didn’t Take

Pretty quiet weekend with the kids here at home.

Actually very quiet when you consider that we had a no screen-time weekend. NONE. No movies. No TV. No computer time. No ipad. No iphone. It all started as a consequence for a behavior issue Simon had at school on Friday (and the established consequence in advance was the removal of screen-time).

If you are a kid and you wake up on Saturday morning and don’t immediately turn on the TV what do you do?

They found things to do: legos, games, books, playing outside, helping with the dishes, weeding, chasing each other, making up stuff to play.

I liked the pace. But it was also admittedly a challenge. I had to be more engaged. I (selfishly) didn’t get as much downtime and didn’t feel like I was able to begin the week rested. I think honestly there was a bit of withdrawal in this scenario for each of us. And it’s not even that we have a screen on all day during the week or on the weekends but we are definitely used to it as something to turn to – a distraction, a salve, a babysitter, an entertainer.

On Sunday afternoon I made the executive decision to unhook the cable box. I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite awhile and just hadn’t made the move – the experience this weekend pushed me over the edge. We’ll still have Netflix (via Apple TV and on computers) and other DVD’s as options so in reality it’s not that big of a move – but it is definitely “action” in terms of regaining control over screen-time.

And really, all this regaining control started with the chart a few months back. It’s all a process.

Here’s some of the other goings-on that I didn’t capture on film:

- Napping on the couch on Saturday and on Sunday. On Saturday Simon broke the no-screentime rule while I was taking a nap (found him in Anna’s room watching a movie on the ipad) with the consequence being the elimination of the planned movie we were going to watch on Sunday evening. My nap on Sunday included Anna and George (the cat).

- Attending mass for the first time in years. Both kids asked a million questions and fidgeted through the whole thing. The priest gave each of them as a fist-bump as he entered and exited.

- Yelling at Anna in the car about her not-listening-to-whatever-I-had-just-told-her-to-do and her complaining about listening to The Muppets. The next time we got into the car the only thing she wanted to listen to was The Muppets. It’s a constant push and pull between Simon wanting to sing/Anna wanting to sing and/or Simon wanting it quiet/Anna wanting it quiet. It feels really rare (and like something to celebrate) when they want the same thing. I posted that last image of Anna and I napping on the couch (took it after I woke up) on Instagram with the following caption: “Finally got her to rest with me on the couch. She’s busy and opinionated and independent and smart and sometimes I’m at a loss over how to guide her in the “right” direction and lovingly communicate with her best.”

- Melting-down on Saturday night before bed (both kids). Possible withdrawal symptom from screen-time or side-effect of the cold/allergies that seem to be plaguing each one of us to different degrees. Possibly just done with each other. I was super done with the day by that time.

- Reading Zero Waste Home, Sunset and Country Living (which seemed especially awesome thing month).

- Thinking about what it meant to have no screen-time for them and for me. Considering doing it again, or at least nothing during the day with one movie in the evening. Thinking about the ways in which we connect with one another. Thinking about how much I liked having them help me in the yard and that I need to invite them more. Thinking a lot about my own growing up – our down times (forced “quiet” times) around the house, the sports, working/helping/watching my parents work in the yard, playing golf, hot dogs and cokes for weekend lunches.


  • 1.
    A. Sanborn said…

    Love the – realness – of this post!

    Reminds me of the summer I took the TV away! Purchased a membership to a larger town library (still maintain) along with our local library. Since we’re not computer, tablet, X-Box, Wii, ipod/ipad crazed family we spend lots of time reading in the same room together, board games and Family DVD movie night/time chosen from netflix, personal collection or FREE from the library.

    Great move with disconnecting from outside distractions, Ali. It gets easier…

    Have a beautiful week!

  • 2.
    Jo-Anne from ZA said…

    Lovely post Ali!

    I have a 2 year old who gets VERY EXCITED when i say ‘Do you want to watch a DVD?’ To be honest it is a relief becasuse that frees me up to start the cooking etc etc. You are right, it is definately more challenging and exhausting to switch the TV off and engage ourselves. But i truly believe in the end it will definately pay off in regards to the relationships we have with our loved ones and the quality time we spend with them. I know it is hard work:-)

  • 3.
    Gaele said…

    My kids (two boys aged almost 5 and 8) can only have screen-time on no-school days, which means Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. And the rule is that they get to watch ONE movie OR documentary (tv or DVD) per day, and NEVER in the morning, it’s usually after the shower and before dinner. They have to choose what they want to see, and more often than not they fight over a DVD. I understand that they do not like/want to see the same things, so we have a small tv in our masterbedroom with a DVD player that only serves that purpose. They sometimes complaint because they never get to watch tv before school/after school, can’t watch cartoon networks. Yes, we are very strict on the subject of TV and screen time. So far we haven’t allowed WII or playstations in the house. But I introduce them to different kind of movies, the ones I used to watch when I was their age, we go to the movie theater twice a month, we watch documentaries on animals together. It’s definitely not easy and I often find myslef explaining again and again to them our choices as parents. I’m glad spring is finally here; it’s a lot easier to forget the TV when you can play outside. Isometimes used TV to keep the kids quiet when I had to grade papers this winter. My 8-year-old told me last Sunday “I didn’t even think about tv because I had too much fun playing outside with my bike/my football/ my skateboard”. If it was up to me I wouldn’t even have tv in the house but I have a husband who likes to watch sports or news and doesn’t want to give up on the tv. But we chose to have a separate TV-room that no one enters except for that purpose… it’s a lot easier to forget about it when we don’t see it everyday!


  • 4.
    Jo-Anne from ZA said…

    When i think back on my childhood memories it’s not the ones spent behind the screen that come back to me but the happy one’s spent outside with my family, playing in the wendyhouse (we were 4 girls), swimming and playing under the apple tree in the garden pretending we were swimming in the ocean.

    We can only do our kids a favour by spending less time behind the screen and more time building wonderful memories together as a family. Hard work i know for Mom but definately worth it:-)

    Love the photos by the way!!

  • 5.
    Gaele said…

    Oups, my eldest is eight years old!!

    Ali, is that a new corner of your house? love the map

    • ….
      Ali said…

      It’s Chris’ old office. Now it’s a nice little reading room.

    • ….
      Nicky from Okotoks said…

      Love the reading room – love the orange and green

      Wonderful life sharing

  • 6.
    Thea said…

    When our 2 were in primary school, we had a no TV policy during term. It was great! They got on so much better together. We would notice a real increase in tension, spats, etc, when the TV viewing increased. I would be so much happier to not have television at all. I would also like to get rid of computer games, too. I know I would be much more productive and engaged if I got rid of my Internet access, too, and maybe I will, one day.

  • 7.
    Andi R said…

    We cut cable 2 years ago and it’s awesome. We have Netflix and Hulu and because we live in tornado alley (I’m in Oklahoma) we have an attenia to get the local channels. We never looked back. Best decision ever! Saved us about about $50 a month too.

  • 8.
    Judy Webb said…

    Love the map and colors and sofa cushions that match.
    Seeing your garden boxes reminded me that you show the boxes and planting part, but I do not remember seeing them or harvest later on. . . .Also, love seeing Anna, independent and looking out for herself (filling up her water bottle). Happy Spring

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’ll have to be more intentional with posting the results this year on my blog. I know I included images in Project Life last year.

  • 9.
    Lisa W. said…

    The picture of you and Anna are priceless…so many memories of the push and the pull’s of raising a child. Tiredness it sure is, but all so very worth it when you see them come into their own and be responsible kind, hard~working loving adults!!!

  • 10.
    Pidgen said…

    I don’t know if this is the same situation, but my middle sister and my mother always had a strained relationship {not bad, she lived at home until she married} but she was super inderpendent and my mother just wants to, well mother. Once my sister got married, their relationship budded. They always loved each other, they just struggled with “appreciation” from their point of views. I guess I say all of that, to say this: tension does not mean that she doesn’t love you. And even if it becomes harder to see, but it’s still there – and it’s obvious in the little things.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      My hope is to not create that kind of relationship by the words I use and the way I treat her. Working really intentionally to find a way to connect with her – just like I’ve done/continue to do with Simon.

  • 11.
    Lachalle said…

    I started last yearwith no screen time (no video games as well)and only borrowed movies for library and from our stash for the whole summer. It was the BEST decision I ever had made ever. Yes I found it very hard at first .we had the royal melt downs at the start as well ,it truly I believe is a addiction and they do go through withdrawal .crazy yes but I found that’s just what happens. I showed my kids the world of exploring , reading deep(they were already book lovers), board games and outside time went off the wall I was begging them to come in at the end of the day . They were better little people for it. Then the problem I had was this was our summer thing when fall came I didn’t know how we applied bring it back with out overwhelming us all. So we decided not to bring back out TV program although we have decided to buy and try Apple TV . Which I love for there is no commercials brain washing my children with their advertisements and the screen time is limited its on a every day thing and honestly they know how to live with out its probably more like 4-6hours a week at this point. I love your REAL life sharing .

  • 12.
    Ruth said…

    My 6-year-old boy (with high-functioning autism) loves YouTube videos on the iPad and recently I took the step to say no iPad during the week and I’m convinced he’s better for it.

  • 13.
    Alicia said…

    Love the truth in here! Thanks for this post and reminding us that we are not the only ones who have those days where we are ‘done’ by the end of it.

  • 14.
    Kathy said…

    I think every mother can relate to your weekend and the highs and lows of tv/screen time. We had been experiencing the sibling bickering that it seriously was driving me crazy. I ended up buying monopoly (the old fashioned original game) and we set it up and played the same game over a week of the school holidays. It really helped bond and be a family since there is only the 2kids and myself in our home as well. If at all possible try bringing the bedtime routine forward by 15 or 30 mins for a few days in a row and it does make a huge difference to their being able to cope. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    • ….
      Ali said…

      We do a pretty early bedtime – between 7:30 and 8pm already (definitely think that is important).

  • 15.
    Karen S-R said…

    I just turned 47 and as I look back on my childhood the most memorable moments for me were not those spent in front of the TV. Riding my bike, climbing trees, playing with my dolls and cat were the fun times. Even the activities I didn’t choose (and actually hated), like camping with the family or working in the garden, were beneficial to me then and now. I learned about nature and having an appreciation for fresh food. As much as I hated getting up at first light to pick vegetables, shuck corn, and help my mom can, it WAS character-building. I also read a lot which improved my vocabulary and allowed me to experience many things that expanded my views. I’m a voracious reader to this day. I was lucky to grow up in a time when parents could send their kids outside and we were safe. We had to learn to entertain ourselves all day. Kids now always feel like they have to be entertained and can’t stand a minute of quiet. But that’s so important. That’s the time to think and wonder, dream and hope. Those are the best gifts you can give your child.

  • 16.
    Christine said…

    We had a screen-free week a couple of years ago in my family. Next week happens to be screen-free week. It was an interesting challenge.
    The fifth-graders at my school are showing signs of being “done” and wanting to leave elementary school asap.

  • 17.
    Felecia said…

    LOVE this…we turned off our cable over two years ago. It was an experiment at first. Like you, there are other entertainment options if we so choose. But honestly, the most used entertainment in our house is now Pandora. While my children do get TV at grandma’s house, they don’t have an expectation after all this time. Their first move is to get a book, turn on some music, play cars, play legos, go outside and swing or play baseball, or the house favorite, color and create at the kitchen table. The pace is most certainly different – for ALL of us. Less garbage in. We like the vibe.

    We have that singing “tug of war” in our car too – I often try to tell coach myself that its a high quality problem when the children fight over who will be the next to sing in the back seat. BUT sometimes, we have to institute silence or conversation.

    This post brought a RUSH of memories for me…about my own childhood and about the last 6 years of being a parent myself. THANKS for your transparency.

  • 18.
    Teresa Cotterman said…

    During the school months it is an on going rule that there is no TV on school nights. This starts at dinner time on Sunday night and extends until all homework and chores are completed on Friday night/Saturday morning. The kids know that if there is something special on, or we want to do something as a family we parents are in charge. It is difficult, but seems to do the trick. It is getting a bit harder as the kids are getting older (my son eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball), but we can reward them for good behavior etc. as needed. We also have the right to declare a “No TV Day” (weather and behavior dependent) on the weekends. We are still figuring out our new technology in this process. Always seems to be a work in process.

  • 19.
    Debbie S. said…

    I struggle with screen time, too, with my two kids on the weekends. And my husband and I aren’t very good models. It’s a tough tough tough one. And I can relate to your struggles with the independent little girl. My youngest is the same, and sometimes I am afraid I will end up being her only friend! :D But I’m in it for the long haul, and at 7 she is getting a teensy bit better. Happy week to you!

  • 20.
    Latrice said…

    Love this no screen time. I need to try it. Yes I selfishly would feel the same way. You’ve hit it under control and i love that. Thanks for sharing.

  • 21.
    Kris said…

    I’m so happy to read that you went to mass. And, it seems that the priest didn’t scold you or the kids – he was happy to see you there! So – please put away whatever reason you had for avoiding mass and continue to attend!
    I’ll be praying that a closer connection to your faith will help you through your family issues.
    God Bless!

  • 22.
    molly said…

    Ali, the fact that you said mass and priest makes me think Catholic. If so, welcome home friend. Listen to that call. Also, getting rid of cable was a life-changer for us not only in terms of how we spend time, but in taking back the influences on our family. I love the photo of Simon’s foot on the shovel. What a great post!

  • 23.
    Suz said…

    We just had the very same discussion yesterday as our media package is about to expire and the new package will increase our bill substantially. I am ready to completely stop the media package and just utilize Redbox and Amazon Prime/Hulu when we want to watch something. I think my DH and I have come to a compromise and may drop down to local channels only and re-evaluate in a few months.

    Thanks for sharing Ali. Great stuff. Real stuff. Always appreciate your authenticity and honesty.
    Take care you.

  • 24.
    Ruth G said…

    I can totally relate to how hard life is without any electronics. You have to be engaged, you have to watch behaviors more (since they are likely to be more active and thus getting wound up!) It’s much harder especially when it’s just you and the kids. So glad you all survived and I’m sure the next time it’ll be that much easier. And what a great idea to get back into attending mass. You give me courage and inspiration, Ali! Thanks for that!

  • 25.
    breeoxd said…

    Good for you! We cut the cable box recently and I am so excited. The odd thing is that I think I actually watch more tv than i used to, but I am more connected with the tv choices I make. Because there is less random noise with commercials and random shows we are much more conscious of what we are watching; we talk about everything and how we are liking it. Don’t know why the strange side effect, all I know is that we are bonding with our family/tv better than ever. Plus the saving 180 bucks a month ROCKS!

  • 26.
    Debbie said…

    My husband came up with a wonderful plan that has worked for our daughter. For every minute she reads she is able to watch TV or a movie. In the beginning she would have us time her and keep track down to the nano second. What we discovered was wonderful…she no longer asks for tv, movies, etc. She loves to read, paint, and play board games and listen to music. I love that you are encouraging them to work with you in the yard, I have fond memories of the country life on a farm working in a huge garden with my parents. Love your post and pictures!

  • 27.
    Kristen said…

    I love this idea…and I know it would be an easy thing for myself to do, but the hubs on the other hand…anyone got any advice on getting the man to come on board?

  • 28.
    Elizabeth said…

    Loved reading this. I know we are going to have some work to do along these lines when Matt is done with command at the end of June and we have some reconnecting/relearning how to function as a family properly again. Also: I bought the most recent Country Living (sucker for chalkboard design) and thought the same thing… and, have you seen this?

  • 29.
    slmnontec said…

    As a parent of a now grown daughter, I reflected on what you said in your post. We, as mothers, often suffer along with our children when we are trying to do the right thing, as in no screen time. It is definitely hard! I am sometimes very thankful for a new day, a begin again day, a chance to wipe the slate clean….and just start loving those children all over again.

  • 30.
    Patti L said…

    I like the no-screen time. I wish I was not so {used} to just having it there. I do find it is more like what I do when I am just tired and don’t want to pursue other things. My brother has no cable but has his large tv hooked up to a computer, so they watch Netflix and a lot of YouTube videos, but its cool to see my nephew more interested in videos about surfing, skiing and space. He also loves the occasional silly cat video. I think it def has sparked a curiosity in him, rather than just watching cartoons.

  • 31.
    Kristy S. said…

    Loved this post. I love it when others show us “real”. Admitting you were done with the day, wanted to get more done, etc was inspiring to me. Too often I have these same thoughts and feel guilty when I do…we need to recognize we are human.

    Loved the no screen time! Need implement one of those soon at our house.

  • 32.
    Sandy said…

    Have you read the book, Love & Logic by Jim Fay? It’s a very helpful parenting book. It helps you to let go of your anxiety as you establish limits or guidelines. Both child and parent end up with the respect
    they deserve. Check out their website. I’ve found their guidance very

    • ….
      Kristen said…

      YES! I credit “love and logic” philosophy with getting my boys into young adulthood intact. They have both recently said “thank you” for raising them the way we did!

  • 33.
    Janet said…

    Congrats on getting back to Mass! Keep going it gets easier with the kids and you all need the graces provided. I don’t know how I would make it at all with 6 kids and OCD Hubby without those graces!

    It is harder without TV but we need to make more social times and being without all the techy items! Great job and keep up the good work…;0)

    • ….
      Kristen said…

      My boys, now ages 20 and 22, are so grateful that we “taught the habit” of weekly worship. The first half of their lives, we taught commitment…attending a church that maybe wasn’t the most trendy but had amazing “family-type” relationships. They still cherish those relationships with people of a vast variety of ages. The second half of their growing up was spent at a different church that appealed to them as teenagers…”teaching” them the excitement of worship and learning. Both worked well at different times in our family life. All that to say, I (and our kids) are glad we made the effort each week and sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find what works best at different times in our kids’ lives. Saying prayers for you as you work to best figure this out for your family right now!

  • 34.
    Erin H said…

    This is such a great topic. Thanks for making me feel like I am not the only one in the war against screen time. My kids do not watch a ton of TV, but love the iPhone and Wii. Its such an internal battle for me. I like the downtime when they are busy with their electronics, but always feel guilty for not being engaged with them.
    Side note..I too have so often been done at the end of a long day with children. As much as I love them with all my heart I also love bedtime!

  • 35.
    lynda said…

    Ten years ago this year – we chose the internet over cable TV. While my two kids (age 12 and 9 now) still watch TV – we CHOOSE what we want and for how long – no channel flipping or couch surfing. Netflix and Hulu have expanded our choices the past few years – but it still is a choice rather than whatever is on TV at the time. I believe this has helped them become voracious readers; good brothers and independent when they want to play. And I’ve never had the whining for toys/games etc that come from the endless commercials. Imagination reigns free in our house – and I will never go back to the cable company again. Good for you Ali…

  • 36.
    Teresa said…

    We haven’t had cable in probably 2 or 3 years….best move ever. Yes, we have streaming Netflix and WiFi so there are plenty of options but cable just has this ‘suck you in’ quality that I hated. I have to make a conscientious decision to watch something on Netflix. MUCH better.

  • 37.
    dawn said…

    Ali, thanks so much for sharing the ups/downs of your weekend. Love when you share the REAL here with us, so nice to have others to help you thru this.

    We struggle with the car music too, my one daughter loves to sing so loud and is the singer in the family but then it’s hard for the other two to sing over her. Taking turns works most of the time or I just say the drive will be a non music one then.

    LOVE LOVE the no tv/screen time, it’s more fun to head outdoors and explore or play games. The older I get the less tv/movies I watch, love quietly sketching/reading at night and too busy during the day. Now if only the kids would feel the same way more often they do.
    I am going to start a no screen on Sunday’s to get us started and hoping to slowly add more days to it.
    My heart breaks just hearing about you and Anna, it is a tough job being a mom and knowing the right way to raise them teach them. Just do the best you can and take time outs when you need them too. Anna has some spunk in her and will keep showing it as she gets older. I have one like that too and at 14 we still have our bad moments but our good moments are sooooo precious and good. Hang in there!

    Was Anna mad about the no screen time due to Simon misbehavior? That is the hard one at our house. How to punish just one and not have all of us suffer too.

    I have wonderful memories growing up and playing outside all the time, hardly any tv time. When it was cold, books were my favorite and still is.

    Thanks again Ali, love the pictures too!!

  • 38.
    Jennifer K said…

    oh, life with kids!! Sounds like you need a weekend after your weekend. Don’t we all sometimes?!

    My boys think the only reason we got along fine without computers when we were kids was because we didn’t know any different. As if because now that they have computers, they couldn’t get along without them. LOL! (computer games are the biggest screen issue in our house)

  • 39.
    Teresa Igo said…

    Ali, love all the sharing. So glad your family made it to Mass. My daughter would ride the church bus by herself for a few years because of my work schedule I didn’t go. I have tried now to go with her now even though I may not have gotten much sleep. It is one of the things where it is just the two of us. We cut out the TV satellite several years ago due to financial reasons. Even though we soon maybe able to afford it agian hubby has said no. It’s just not worth what the companies are charging. We do have digital antennea and get quite a few channels. I have a cooking show I like in the daytime when I work late or it’s my day off. So the TV is on for an hour for that. The rule for my daughter(10) is to get her homework done first. However I have a hard time with hubby wanting to turn the TV on while she is trying to finish. On the weekend if I work late and there are no sports and hubby is outside I try to keep it off as long as possible. I think it does suck you in. And there are so many other things that can be entertaining. Sorry if this is too long.

  • 40.
    Valerie said…

    That’s something that I’ve been wanting to try for some time but I can’t get the other adult in the house on board. I think it would be a huge benefit for my family…

  • 41.
    susan garner said…

    Having read your post I feel that you are punishing yourself and not so much the children. Children bounce back due to there age but as you get older not so much. Let them have there screen time and you your time also to do what you need to do. I have 3 wonderful boys all grown up and we never had time out or less screen time. They never watched tv all day but when weather permitted played many hours in the garden. We solved our differences by making a cup of tea and talking about things.

  • 42.
    Debbie said…

    A great post!”screen time” is a huge issue in today’s culture. We have never had a TV in our home. Our kids are grown and gone. Two have continued this. One loves hers. The computer though is JUST as tough. It is so good to see your children with their inborn creativity blossom :) . Loved seeing Anna assisting with the dishes, both working in the garden, resting with momma. It’s so neat to see you stick to your commitment with consequences. That is a HUGE help in raising them in love. Much blessing to you as you continue on in your parenting journey.

  • 43.
    Paula said…

    Thanks for sharing this post. I tuned in more to the flow of your days, thinking about how we can work on changing some stuff about how our family’s days flow more so than the screen time. Reason – my daughter is 15 with ASD and social anxiety, so the screen time is actually part of her social time with Tumblr, you tube etc — she doesn’t care about clothes, makeup, after school clubs etc, matter of fact she is usually stressed out after making it through the school day – so I don’t want to remove the social media, but at the same time I want to incorporate more responsibilities and face time with family. Starting a garden and planting some flowers is something I really want to try next and you have pushed me “over the edge” to make it happen this weekend. Seems like no sooner than we moms figure out one age/stage with our kids and their challenges than (boom) the next age/stage is here … lol

  • 44.
    Donna said…

    I also love the realness of your post. My 15y old son is currently being referred to a specialist to see if he has Aspergers. We have way too much screen time here and it is so hard to set consequence rules for behaviour (because, yes, it affects everyone in the house). Hoping we get some help to sort out our situation but feel inspired by you that this can be done. Thanks for sharing.

  • 45.
    Sue Treiber said…

    My kids are 13 and 15 and they still constantly argue in the car. Over who sits on what side,over silence versus singing. I doubt they’ll ever get past it.

  • 46.
    Thea said…

    One of the things children have to learn in order to be fully functional adults is that your behavior has consequences for other people, not just for yourself. I think a few adults I know of missed out on this important lesson!

  • 47.
    Sarah said…

    We went not screens for Lent this year. A very long 40 days for us all with cheating here and there for sleepovers and such. My middle son who is admittedly addicted to Stars Wars lego on the wii, went through major withdraws. It was a serious challenge for him and me.
    Although we are back in full swing of screen time, we don’t have it on much and the boys are ok with that. Me, too! I totally relate to everything you said.

  • 48.
    Anna said…

    Two quick things I wanted to mention –
    First, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs if the kids will wear them, can go a long way in keeping the peace in the car. We have a system that works well and encourages respect for another’s choices. I can write more if needed, but you are so creative and in-tune with your kids, you will find what works best for them. I like the headphones, because it gives some control to the person who really needs the peace and quiet, when the person whose choice it is chooses music or singing.

    Second, If you haven’t read the book ‘Don’t Shoot the Dog’ by Karen Pryor, you might look in to it. It is a book about behavioral training that is very applicable for parents as well as pet owners. The science behind the training is well documented, and the positive reinforcement allows for the building of relationships and maturing of choices. Be careful – It works so well it might be manipulative. :) One thing I think might be helpful for you is to give some instant reward for good behavior instead of waiting until the end of the day for a reward.

    I love to read about your genuine love for your children, and you write about it so well. Thank you for sharing the easy and difficult parts of your life with us. I know parenting is exhausting most days, but your efforts will be returned to you a thousand fold as your children mature, and they begin to make more and more choices on their own. Having difficulties with teens and beyond can be a nightmare, as your chances for influencing their decisions begins to drop. Your foundation of teaching them to make good choices now will pay off for you!! :)

  • 49.
    Jane said…

    Wow People look at the passion in both this post and the comments. So many can relate to these individual choices we all make and remake everyday about parenting, TV, modelling good behaviours and more.

    Ali’s thoughts reminded me of a decision around desert that we made this year. I felt the kids were (are) getting too much sugar so I ‘gained agreement’ from my husband to cut out the week day deserts during lent. He could have whatever he wanted, he’s an adult and can make up his own mind, but from the kids perspective and as far as the kids could see, we all gave up weekday deserts. I was hoping that by the end of lent they would have got so used to the new routine that there would be no more requests for weekday deserts. And it worked – was tough going for the first two weeks but then they got into the swing of it and it was fine.

  • 50.
    ChrisyC said…

    Always appreciate you sharing your real life parenting woes……My daughter is turning 5 in a couple of weeks, and i’m always amused by the similarities between her and Anna.
    From what l’ve read Anna appears to be a very normal 4-5 year old girl ! My daughter tends to have her father’s personality, which is very laid back and passive, but she still has her moments. Within her circle of friends there are some VERY independent and confident girls. Truth be told, l think l was one of them too …..
    Really, we want the woman of tomorrow to be all of those things, but what we need to teach them is how to channel that energy :-)

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