A couple weeks ago my 10 year old son Nathan came home with a pretty cruddy progress report. He decided to turn in an assignment packet that was only half complete which dragged his grade down from a B to an F. Never has this boy gotten anything below a B, so my wife and I kinda flipped out. I grounded him from all TV and video games until he could show that his grade had come up. I also made him talk with his teacher about making up the missing work and each day when he comes home from school he has to immediately go to the kitchen table and complete all homework and make some progress on the make up work.
So far he’s been pretty good about completing his homework and he’s working with his teacher to get his grade up. I wasn’t surprised to see that when he put his mind to it that he could get things straightened out. What has surprised me is how much nicer it has been lately with him not being glued to the television or some video game. When he comes home now and the first thing he wants to do is play in the backyard with his little sister Abby. I can’t believe that my backyard is finally getting some use! It helps that the weather has been really nice and cool lately, but still…my kids avoid the light of day like vampires. I don’t think it’s because they hate playing outside, I just think that when given the choice between TV and playing outside, any kid is going to choose TV. People are just lazy that way.
Now I find Nathan working on his origami, or crafting a toy gun out of paper, or building something cool out of lego (probably another gun…), or making up games to play with his sister. It feels so good to see your kids playing together. My wife Michelle and I are adopting a policy of limited TV time for the kids going forward. It’s not fair to them to take the easy route and park them in front of the TV all the time. My favorite childhood memories are of exploring the outdoors and having fun outside with my friends. I don’t want my kids to miss out on those memories, so I ground them from the TV and games, it’s good for ‘em.