To ask you to judge our after school routine(102 Posts)
DSS7 lives with us full time, we also have DD7months.
I feel like we've slipped into a really bad routine since the nights have closed in and there's nothing to really do outside.
I get DSS from school at 5 as he does after school clubs and prep. As soon as we get in I start cooking the kids tea and DSS gets straight on the xbox (he's already done homework at school). As soon as tea is ready, he turns on YouTube and watches that whilst I feed the baby. DP is back at about 6, and it's then him sitting with DSS watching whatever on Youtube whilst the baby sits between his legs and plays and I cook us dinner. They usually play a game with the baby for a little bit or have a wrestle but screen time is always involved. Baby goes to bed at 7.30 (if we're lucky) and the boys then play MORE Xbox until 8, it's then tablet time in bed for 10 minutes until DSS bed time.
To be honest I don't know where the time goes, and writing this down makes me properly ashamed. The truth is though, with a baby it's pretty much impossible for me to have any quality time with DSS when DP isn't here and I feel like I'm letting the tv take over.
DSS has got a lot going on in his little life, he barely sees his mum, and watching Dantdm on YouTube makes him happy and I just feel terrible taking that away from him. But at the same time I know that I need to put some boundaries in place.
When mine were the same age (7) I would let them say have a bit of time on screens before dinner but then they go off then until bed. Time for quiet time / homework/bath/reading then.
So you don't have to take it away but just have a limit
When your DH gets home he needs to be instigating some kind of fun activity away from the screens. I don't think what you are doing is terrible at all by the way, but as you're worried I think that's the obvious spot to change - you're always busy but if he's just getting home and sitting down with them then he has free time to interact.
I can totally empathise! It’s so, so easy to let electronics take over especially with a baby.
I start by only allowing the PlayStation at weekends only. So he knows not to ask, at all as the answer will always be no. On the weekends he gets up to 2 hours per day then that’s it.
My son has two friends on our street who are continually in for him and they either play football or games outside. It’s so handy as he’s occupied and I’m so grateful he has them.
When they’re not around he’s allowed to draw & hes discovered drawing tutorials on YouTube which he enjoys to follow and the results are quite impressive. He’s not allowed to watch gaming on YouTube or any other channels except drawing.
This was all decided after he was spending excessive time on gaming and YouTube and one day I just decided no, and set some rules and surprisingly he’s followed with absolutely no complaints.
He also helps make his lunch for the next day.
At 7pm it’s bath time for my toddler and he either goes for a bath also or a shower separately. I then put the toddler to bed at 7:30pm and he reads in his room til I’m finished, usually around 8pm. I go to the library with him after school once a week and he picks 2 books so he’s alwahs got something new and interesting to read. He now loves reading.
At 8pm I’ll go into his room and read a chapter of his book then he likes to do a quiz. It’s usually would you rather which I either make up on the spot or use my phone for suggestions. Google kids would you rather and there are loads of ideas. He absolutely loves this time.
At 8:30 I leave and he reads til 8:45pm then it’s lights out.
I’d probably let him watch tv while preparing dinner. Not Xbox.
Then all have dinner together at 6pm when your DH comes in. No screens at all, just family dinner and chat.
Then maybe he could have 30 mins of Xbox with his dad before bed.
No way to the iPad in bed. Reading/ being read to before sleep.
I’m not judging you at all though- I know how easily the screen seep into everything.
If you put baby down at 7:30 can you not then get out a board game some nights instead of xbox?. Feed baby at table whilst dss is eating then you can have a little chat about anything be it what happened in school, what hapened in the you tube clip he has been watching anything really.
Why don’t you all eat together? No screens just sat round the table talking?
There is a bit too much X box and you Tube. My 7 year son watches TV with his younger brother when he gets home at 5:30. Similar set up to you. But TV is off by 6:30. It’s getting ready for bed, reading talking to parents, playing with toys. I don’t allow his iPad in bed. Books only to allow him to wind down
could you prep dinner before he gets home and get him to play til it's ready? no screens while eating.
I'd pick something more educational on tv rather than all Xbox. Totally understand how hard it is. Perhaps screens off once your dh home, esp before bed.
I think you are making it unnecessarily hard by having 2 dinners. A protein based snack in car home for DSS to stave off the hunger so he can last till your DP gets home.
Set a limit on screen time - there are timer apps. I would allow this when you get in - and waiting for DH to get home.
Go upstairs together and its other activities while you get the baby down to sleep - so reading/games/bathtime/toys/lego/drawing/colouring. I bet he says its 'boring' at first but once you get used to it and you find the right sort of activities that inspire him it will become a nicer time before bed rather than more screens.
Sorry its too much. How about come home x box before tea and stop it there. Rather than cook twice cook one meal that can stay warm for u and your dh. After tea bath son and the baby to chill out. Stories and some puzzles and reading or sticker book. Then whilst you put baby to bed half hour of dvd?
Mine are teens now but I always had restrictions on screen time when younger. Obv no younger sibling involved, but they’d come in, watch a bit of TV (they still do), do some homework, have dinner, then online time, Bath, read, bed. They had activities on some nights so less time for screen, or had play dates.,
We had a wii when they were primary age so that usually involved more moving about and no PS4 until secondary. I held out until DS was 11 but now he uses the computer for online gaming!!
It’s good to put restrictions in place at a young age as you haven’t got much hope of it once they become teens!!
I think people are a bit obsessed with "screen time" and although i agree it can go too far i think as long as he's happily coming off things when you want then it's not too bad. I just think back to when i was younger (now 30s) and yes there were no ipads etc but my schedule was quite similar to DSS. Me and my sister used to watch t.v. when we came home for an hour or so while my mum cooked us tea (equivalent to xbox) and then after dinner we used to watch tv as a family until bed time. The only things i would change up if i were you is we weren't allowed anything at the table - it's good to focus on your food rather than idly eat - and also read before bed. We all know that the blue light from screens is bad for sleep! Introduce gradually as you can but don't be too hard on yourself.
I think it's too much screen time at that age. At 7 years old, he should still be interested in playing with toys. Does he have any particular toys he still enjoys? My dd is 9, she usually does lego after school whilst cbbc is on in the background. I understand it is hard when you have a baby to look after as well.
Less cooking. 1 meal for all at 6. Slow cooker or you or DH batch cook and then microwave bolognaise, chilli, shepherds pie. DSS could help. Weigh pasta to go with bol and help you cook it, set table, put salad in bowl etc.
Some tv, you tube but reading and board games also good to do.
Give yourself a break here. It’s social media such as here and regular media which makes people have these feelings of shame about things which are perfectly normal.
When a kid has been at school and clubs all day, he or she just wants to chill and do what they want when they come home. There is nothing wrong with that. Trying to constantly control and push kids into spending there free time on things you think are more wholesome just pisses them off and is destructive to family life.
And there is nothing wrong with screen time. It’s a myth.
I agree you cook one dinner and you all eat together at the table with no phones/screens when DH gets home. Nothing wrong with DSS having some screen time when you get in whilst you are doing this. I would also start to give him some chores to do like setting the table, putting his sisters toys away, taking his laundry upstairs etc.
DSS and DH need to find some hobbies to do after dinner. Lego, models, drawing, top trumps etc. My DS loved bikes and scooters so he used to go out to the garage with DH and adjust brakes and wheels and things whilst I put the baby to bed.
No screens in the bedroom at that age. My DH was never read to as a child so he and DS discovered Dahl, CS Lewis and Tolkien together. Every night a couple of chapters from a proper book.
Don't be too hard on yourself. These dark nights do make it harder to entertain them after school. I also had a 7 year gap between my children and the can be difficult too.
“ DSS and DH need to find some hobbies to do after dinner. Lego, models, drawing, top trumps etc.”
Honestly, fuck this nonsense. I’m a dad, not a children’s entertainer, and when I’ve been at work all day I’m fucked if I’m coming home and playing hungry hungry hippos.
I play and interact with my children naturally and have no interest in imposing forced fun upon them of a weekday evening.
Meh I see little harm done. Long day at school followed by a nice chilled out evening. I used to watch tv after school my parents wouldn’t have got board games out!
My lot potter about- free access to tv, toys, tablets, drawing stuff, books etc they normally mix it up
As long as you’re actually communicating with each other and do spend time together weekends etc I don’t see an issue
Do you all really get in from school/work and start structured play time and entertain for the kids? I don’t think a little boredom hurts anyone
You cooking two meals is a faff. I usually cook something that can be heated up for dh later, sometimes I eat with the kids and sometimes I wait for dh.
My two play with stuff if it's pointed out to them, so you could set something up like lego for him to do on the table while you cook. It's easy for me to say that when I don't have a 7mo to look after!
We don't have screens at all during the week because their behaviour was so appalling and actually the kids adapted really quickly. They naturally head towards their toys/craft stuff rather than the tv now. However, when dd2 was 7mo we used to watch cbeebies for so long we would watch the same shows twice in the same day. There is a balance to be achieved that allows you to retain your sanity!
Would DSS be interested in joining any clubs. Beavers start at age 6/7.
My two also had swimming lessons and rugby/football training on weekday evenings.
My kids are on compuers/iPads a lot after school, I don't worry about it too much.
However, I agree with the pp who say to do just one dinner so you an all eat together. Give him a snack after school instead. I'd insist on no screens during dinner and just all chat about your day even if it's only for 20 minutes. I also tend to make my kids come off screens for a while before they sleep so they wind down a bit and they sleep better. I don't always remember to call them off though. 😬 Maybe get him to read instead before bed or if he's a reluctant reader maybe one of you read to him or put an audiobook on for him.
Good luck, don't stress though. Things will get easier as your youngest gets older.
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