I’m sorry. I’m truly very sorry.
I have gotten plenty of things wrong in your short lives, and there will be plenty more I will likely handle badly. This one is going to hurt.
I’m taking away your screens.
I know. I’ve threatened before when you couldn’t keep yourself together when I’ve said, “Times up!” Then I gave in, or we went on a long drive, I “just needed a minute to myself” or any number of other excuses. I was lazy, and I’m sorry for that. It was far easier to hand you a tablet and let you play so I could get some work done, or to have quiet, or both. But I’ve done you a HUGE disservice. You see, you do not know how to be bored. You don’t know how to wait. You do not know how to let me have an adult conversation without interrupting.
None of that is your fault. It’s mine. I’m the parent and I should’ve done better. Technology is a WONDERFUL thing – and for some families it totally works and it’s awesome. For us, however, I will be a far better parent to you both and you will be better mannered, more functional adults if we leave the tablet behind.
I had it confused for a bit. I struggled with finding a balance – many times – since these tablets were purchased. As you’ve grown, and your friends have them, it’s just become more and more of an issue of an inability to self regulate. You are both on the verge of needing computers for school work (you’ll use mine for a while). These toys are simply not necessary. I kept thinking that if I had it to do all over again, there are two things I would never have purchased: the dang Elf on the Shelf and the iPads. (Don’t get me started on the holiday tradition of hiding the elf in a new place every morning in addition to the already busy season!)
If I wouldn’t do it again though, why do we still have them? Honestly? Because it’s easier then going through what we are now. The transition to life without video games is not for the weak! I know this will be hard, for ALL of us, but here are a few things I know you will gain in the long run – and the end game is what I have to keep in mind because that’s my job.
*Better manners, fewer meltdowns and tantrums.
*The ability to be bored, and be okay with it.
*Long drives where you actually LOOK at the world around you. (Even if it’s south Texas and flat!)
*More outside time – especially as we move into fall and winter! Nature is a MUST – for all of us.
*More games, relearning co-operation and give and take. You know these things, you have the skills, but we are going to get better with fewer meltdowns.
*Better sleep. Science has proven this repeatedly. Less screen time, especially close to bedtime, equals more restful sleep. More restful sleep means more functional during the day and better prepared for learning and growing.
*More Creativity! You are both inventive and incredibly creative when forced to be. You make up games and play so well together. The whininess subsides, you handle life better.
*Better parents. Nope – you don’t get to trade us in, but I will be a far more creative parent when my go-to bargaining chip is not the iPad. I’m tired of it, and if you are honest with yourselves, I think you are, too.
There are many more benefits in the long run, some that I’ve noticed even in this first day screen-less. It will be bumpy, to be sure.
I’m also sure that this is the exact right thing for our family. I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner. My dream for you; to be creative, insightful, helpful, kind, co-operative, self-sufficient and well-adjusted adults, simply won’t happen with your face stuck to a screen. It just won’t.
I love you too much to let that happen.
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