Random thoughts on this Hajj break

So, schools off for Hajj and Eid and I would like to ask for a study to be conducted on why it is that when children go to bed at 7 and have 11 hours sleep on a school day it takes nothing less than an army of horses to get them out of their beds but when they are on a break and haven’t slept till gone 9 or 10 they are wide awake at 6 am standing over your head saying “I want pancakes!”

This just made me think of something that happened a few years ago (and I am grateful for this memory because I am not quite sure where this post is going to be completely honest with you lol). Then, I only had S and J. My husband and I had to travel for a few days and it did not make sense to take S out of school and drag both kids with us for such a short trip, so I asked my 2 younger sisters to move into our place and take care of the kids.

Now before we left, we would have our kids in bed by 7 and they would sleep like little angels all through the night. And on weekends we had someone come and help with the kids in the morning so that when our kids wake at 5-6 we would not have to :) I also had a policy that I did not let the kids watch cartoon channels because I hate the advertising and because, frankly, I think some cartoons today are just stupid (I can actually feel my hair turning gray as I said that).

I also read somewhere that apparently you retain everything you have seen and heard in your life and regardless of how stupid that sounds ever since I heard it I feel like my mind is probably filled with all the nonsense I have seen and heard during my life and that is why I do stuff like… well the stuff I do that is not exactly genius (too many to mention, might need another blog).

I was attempting to save my kids of the same sorry fate their mother had. This was SO easy since my kids, up until I left them in the care of my two lovely sisters, had nooooo idea we even hadcartoon network or boomerang or any of the other channels. I would let them watch DVD’s. Apparently (again from one of the million parenting books I read and cannot remember any useful information from) the repetition of DVD’s help with developing children’s language and memory… they say… who knows really.

So we came home a few days later, the kids were fine and happy to see us and we had dinner and bath and bed time (not all together obviously) and we were happy and content and all was well in Mama B land… that is untill 5 am when my son and daughter marched in the room. J jumped into bed and got under the covers while S switched on the DVD player and TV and started watchingMadagascar 2. WHEN DID THEY FIND OUT HOW TO WORK THE DVD PLAYER!! I don’t even know how to work the DVD player! I marched them out to the living room where J switched on the TV and changed the channel to cartoon network! S looked at me all excited with his face in little circles (his eye and mouth and I Swear even his ears go all round when he’s surprised. Its adorable!) and said “Mama! look! we have cartoons! Aunty L and Aunty S found them!”

So, I gave Aunty L and Aunty S a call and woke them up at that God awful hour and apparently this is the way it went. When the kids would wake up they would run in the room excited to see their Aunties, so their Aunties, who just wanted some peace and quiet and a few more hours sleep, would switch on the TV and DVD for them. Apparently they once watched the same DVD 2 and a half times!

A part of me wanted to scream at Aunties L and S and another part of me was calculating… “the length of the movie is 90 minutes so if they watched it 2 and half times that means, potentially, I could get over 3 extra hours of sleep!”

Different people have different TV and electronic games policies. My policy is during the week they get not more than an hour a day. But S is not allowed to play any fast paced games (fast graphics, loud music, fast gameplay) during the week at all. Why? Because when he does he goes into a trance like state and when anyone attempts to stop him playing there is a complete and total meltdown. After that he is just no longer “with it” the rest of the day. So, he can play it as long as he wants on the weekend. And, thank God, he doesn’t want to spend the weekend on the couch. Every once in a while we have a movie night with popcorn and ice cream and the dimmed light cinema experience on our couch. The other good thing about letting them watch and play as much as they want on the weekends is that if they are visiting friends or family I am not going crazy trying to keep control of these things.

My issue with TV or electronic games is that when my kids use them they are not moving, they are not interacting and they are, in fact, in a sort of trance (seriously I saw it on some TV show so I *know* it’s true). If they get used to not moving now they won’t move later and if they don’t move later, then they won’t be healthy. I remember someone once saying to me “you know one day they are going to grow up and you can’t stop them from doing what they want” and I said “by that time, God willing, what they want won’t be sitting in front of a TV all day!”

I always explain (probably too many times since they know the reasons word for word now and can probably do a little voice imitating the exact way I say it) why I lay down these rules and when they stop watching I stop watching, or when they put down the wii I put down my laptop. Also, seriously, I know I sound 100 years old, but the shows they watch are really crap! I don’t expect them to watch “the little princess” although I loved that show! But what happened to cartoons? Some of the characters are just rude and stupid and how many times can you say Butt before it gets boring?

8 comments

  1. Hi Mama Bee,
    I know what you mean. it is my biggest challenge actually (never-ending battle) with my kids. How much television to allow?
    I have to confess that I resisted buying my son a PS until his 7th birthday. I succumbed to nagging.
    My daughter does not seem interested in video games .Thank God.
    I wish I can find a way to convince them that too much SpongeBob squarepants is not good for metal health :) if you know of a magical trick please let me know.

    I guess you can do your best with kids with a lot of persuasion and offering alternatives to keep them busy and entertained. But trading few hours of TV for sleep does not seem that bad sometimes
    Angie

  2. LMAO… I thought I was the only one that struggled to get my kid out of bed.. she has told me in the morning, Mama.. no, I am not going to school, I am too tired…. or mama.. no I am cold… I like my bed… or whatever else she can think up to stay in bed… but today… on Friday.. when I realllly wanted to sleep.. she was up bright and early… and in my face…. lol… gotta love kids :)

    As for the TV… I usually let them watch either Disney Playhouse, Jim Jam, or Baraem, but my daughter never actually sits and watches, she is busy dancing around, and jumping around the entire time.

    (lol… What did we ever do before having kids, it seems all we can ever do is talk about kids… hahhaha… c’est la vie :)

    • Lol Om Lujain I started this blog to save my family and friends from killing me for talking about my kids so much! So now they don’t have to hear it as much cause I’m spewing it out here loool. I vaguely remember having a name befor Mama… Not sure what it is though…

  3. Salaams Mama Bee!

    I just stumbled across your blog and I have to say its so adorable.

    The age old battle of getting kids out of bed for school and limiting TV. It seems you have a pretty good handle on your schedule :) . I have to make sure everyone is in bed by 7:00 or I pay for it dearly in the morning.

    As for TV……well, experience has taught me to where there is no TV during the school week. It’s the first thing my kids want to run to rather than homework, reading, etc. So it’s banned during school days. They can watch on the weekend and even then it’s limited…….I don’t even have access to regular TV programming (can’t justify the cost of it here in the US…..we’re not home enough to watch it anyway). Besides, we were visiting my parents and had their TV on what I thought was an appropriate children’s channel. Not only did I have to constantly police the show being watched but the commercials!!!!!!……. they are worse. That experience justified my decision of no TV. I have a million DVDs they can watch and I have total control on what they can watch.

    Subhanallah! the trance like state kids go into when watching TV is so true!!!! :)
    I swear, my kids could be watching TV, all sitting there around the thing hypnotized, and a tornado could rip through and tear the house apart and you will still see my kids sitting around the TV not even phased by what happened!!!

    I could go on and on. Insha Allah Khair. The one thing I will tell you is that all the battles on getting kids out of bed and playing TV and video game police will all be over quicker than you think…..soon they will be all grown up and these issues will be nothing more then fond memories. There will come a time, believe it or not, when you wish you could go through it just one more time. Even though it’s so annoying now, cherish these moments……they will be gone quicker than you think.

    • Wa alaikum alsalam Umm Zacharia,
      Thank you for your comment:) it does pass incredibly quick! I keep being told by mothers of elder kids that they long for the days TV was the biggest issue. I guess I have a lot more in store lol.

  4. Slmz enjoy reading your blog!I’m a muslim mum of 2 from South Africa-and I say Alhamdulillah we do not have a television in our home-and also most of my faamily/friends don’t! And we are happy without it!

    • Mashallah habiba, I am not that brave lol. While I do switch off the TV when I’m with the kids most of the time, I do enjoy watching it. It also helps that people around you do the same. But what I hate the most is when some people invite you over and immediately switch the TV in full blast as background noise. If you’re just hanging out that might be fine but at dinner parties it’s just annoying.

    • Mashallah habiba, I am not that brave lol. While I do switch off the TV when I’m with the kids most of the time, I do enjoy watching it. It also helps that people around you do the same. But what I hate the most is when some people invite you over and immediately switch the TV on full blast as background noise. If you’re just hanging out that might be fine but at dinner parties it’s just annoying.

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