TV Ban

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The boys are currently on a tv ban, and today marks Day 12 of the tv ban.

Oliver had been rude and it was a consequence of his actions. As I imposed the ban, I wondered what was I doing to myself, especially the tv brought me some peace and quiet through the day. But their TV time was..borderline ridiculous. It was to the extent that first thing they did when they woke up, Oliver would switch on the tv. He could memorise the timings of each cartoon as well. I cringed each time I looked at their zombified face, glued to the goggle box.

I mean, how much brain activity was going on inside there??

Together with my resolution to take the kids outdoors more, I bit the bullet and decided that I would have to stick to it. More outdoor stuff, less couch potato. Also means cull my time on social media.

Saturday mornings at the ECP

How did it go so far? It went way better than expected. Even Daddy Ting was impressed.

Firstly, it forced the boys to look elsewhere for entertainment. It brought them back to the toys and books they had. And because it was the lunar new year, Mummy here decided that it was time to further declutter! Stored all the Duplo and sorted out the toys & Lego, help me clean the house, and fold the shitloads of laundry.

Oliver writing out his own Lego manual

Secondly, it forced this mummy here to get creative and get her kids involved at home. Granola and fish fingers was possibly the easiest to start off with. How about some simple scrubbing of floor?

Quentin arranging the cupcake liners for granola clusters


Quentin crumbing the fish fingers


Quentin scrubbing the kitchen floor the Daddy Ting way.

Thirdly, I thought up of a ‘rewards’ program where the kids could redeem themselves a very limited amount of time to their rewards. There had to be some form of reward for their work right..? But I sure wasn’t gonna make it easy.

The rules of the Rewards Program

I offered them 4 types of rewards: TV time, a special snack, an outdoor activity and an indoor activity.

Types of Rewards

Each reward came in multiple pieces and they made up a puzzle. Eg., the TV reward comes in 8 pieces. The kids could earn a piece of the puzzle if they abide to the rules. So technically speaking, they could earn themselves some tv time if both work together and select the tv puzzle pieces..but Quentin being Quentin..haha, he went for ‘Snack’, which meant both of them were working for their own rewards. Fair enough.

When the TV puzzle is completed, they would earn 30 mins of TV/iPad time. Oliver recently earned his first 30 mins and boy..were they stoked to have some iPad time. Really does make them treasure what they have been missing out (or not)!

Pieces of the puzzle

Other activities we did included Play-Doh, Lego, painting. some journal writing for Oliver. For Quentin, we focused on reading and finer motor skills work like cutting paper. Water beads was also a hit except that it was annoying when they rolled everywhere OMG. We used tools like these to pick the waterbeads up.

Before the Lego got confiscated..there was Mixels!

During the lunar new year, we took out this set of activity books from Melissa & Doug and the boys love it! It really kept them occupied and because the adults haven’t seen it before, there was a lot of engagement with the boys. Worth EVERY single cent paid for it! Oliver especially enjoyed the Chalk

Chalk activity book

Daddy Ting would play Hangman with Oliver. A cousin of mine did some drawing with Quentin for a page where the child would have to draw animals found at a farm. She then changed it to ‘fish farm’, then ‘bird farm’, so we could do so many types of farms!

This was another activity that the boys thoroughly enjoyed. The only downside was that there was only four coloured tapes and an adult will be required to help tear the tape. We figured when the tape ran out, we could use washi tape!

Fourthly, we started to take the boys out more, to places where we wouldn’t have wanted to bring them to cos of reasons like crowd, parking, weather, worth the effort. It is easy to just stay home and come up with reasons like this. But it is also so much more worth it when the boys get something out of the outing. Last Saturday, Daddy Ting found a hermit crab whilst we were at the ECP and Oliver got a kick out of it!

morning play at the neighbourhood playground


checking out Chinatown before CNY


USS on a Sunday morning. Not too crowded!

What did we get out of all of these? 

To be honest, the boys would occasionally ask to watch videos on the phone but didn’t protest when they were denied their request. I do really find that they are less temperamental and a lot more patient. We could communicate a lot more because there is less distraction from the television.

Because of the rules of the Rewards Program, the boys paid more attention to their manners, were more willing to help out. In fact, it has gotten to the point where they weren’t too bothered about getting a puzzle piece and would do it obligingly if I asked them to.

As a mom, I had relied on the television A LOT to keep the kids occupied. With Oliver, there had been a lot of one on one with him. We didn’t really let him watch much television until he was 1 years old. Quentin hopped on the television band wagon a lot earlier because his brother was already watching it. As they grew older, and together with some work, I relied heavily on the television to keep them busy so I could catch up with the rest of the chores and work.

I found it harder to cope when they got bored of the television. I lost my mojo of getting creative with them. I would get bothered about the mess & wash up from painting with two kids (as compared to one), get bothered about the boys not helping pick up the waterbeads after they have rolled away, and not putting their toys away. I got really caught up with the nitty gritty stuff, and everything was not enjoyable because of this.

Without the television, I needed to plan and execute the activity. The boys helped out cos there were clear instructions. Now that Sarah had more routine naps, I could either sit down with the boys to paint or do some chores whilst they played with each other.

So Daddy Ting now says no tv forever. Hahaha. Maybe. There can be occasional treats I reckon. But yeah, mostly no tv for now!

Category: Daily
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