I realised the other day, as I casually flicked the TV onto Peppa Pig for Thomas to watch while I cleared away the breakfast things, that I am not really keeping track of the amount of TV my kids are watching! Now that Alice is at nursery, the mornings are a bit of a rush to get everyone dressed and ready to leave the house. It's become routine to just, flick the telly on and let Thomas be distracted for half hour or so while I sort out Alices uniform and get her ready to leave.
Then when we get home, I make Thomas a snack, or lunch if he's slept for a while, and again on goes the TV. And then when Alice gets back from nursery, she's pretty tired. So I make some lunch for her and put on a disney film or something for an hour or so. Our afternoons are usually spent in the park if it's nice, or upstairs in the bedroom so they can play with some new toys, and then when I'm making their dinner on goes the TV yet again.
I worked out that in total, they are easily watching about 3 hours of TV a day. Which was pretty shocking! I hadn't realised how much I used it as a way of occupying my kids, even if it's just while I make a meal in the kitchen. It all adds up in the end.
The thing is, I have just been doing it so casually that it's become part of their routine! It's just such a quick, simple way of keeping them happy and occupied while I can't be there to play with them. But it's not something I am that happy about.
So I've invested in some new puzzles and problem solving toys, which I am keeping in a little basket under the stairs. I am hoping that if I bring these out at the times I would usually use the TV as a distraction, they will be exciting enough to keep them amused for a little while!
Does anyone else have any tips on how to occupy your children without resorting the the TV?! I'd love to hear them :)