Devices are a curse! I love and hate my tablet all at the same time!
Our house is device filled and school holidays often result in an overuse of them by all of us. The older children have ipads and I have a tablet and a laptop.
My youngest, who is nearly 4 and naturally wants to do everything the rest of us do, now frequently asks to borrow my tablet and if the rest of us are using ours, I have no right to say no really.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm not anti device for him. He rarely watches tv and so his screen use is in the form of educational games and you tube videos about trains! Both of which have taught him a huge amount about letters, sounds and numbers. He could tell me more about trains, tracks and models than I have ever known in my whole lifetime and he’s adamant he wants to be a train builder when he’s grown up (this seems to flit between being a model train builder and a real train builder!)
However, despite this, I still have a constant battle with myself as to whether their usage (or should I say OUR usage) is excessive or not.
Ok, so back to what I was saying about me and my sleepless nights (I do have a habit of going off on a tangent – forgive me!) You know how it is, when things that feel ok in the day time feel like the worst things in the world during the small hours. This is what keeps happening to me. In the day, we do our “thing”, we go out together, the children play together, I look forward to July when we will kiss goodbye to the school system once and for all and we can enjoy learning and being together. Then at 10pm when I’m thinking I should be heading off to bed I decided to take my tablet to bed with me just so I can check that educational website I heard about the other day. Or while I’m there I’ll just plan a quick timetable of what our days will look like (seeing as it’s only April and I’m thinking ahead to September it’s really not something that needs to be done NOW!). Oh and then I’ll decide to start looking up interesting documentaries on You Tube that we can all watch to start off a topic of some sort! (Incidentally, I found one that I think my 11yr old will like – not watched it all the way through yet so you might want to check it first but it’s here:
So, there I carry on… watching, reading, researching, planning… until I realise it’s 1am and I’ still not asleep! But not only that, but I'm not even tired any more! My brain is whizzing with the “what ifs”. What if I fail them? What if they’re all together far too much and they end up hating each other? What if I don’t push them enough socially? (I'm incredibly shy sometimes and am totally out of my comfort zone in a group situation). What if they struggle to make friends because of this? And a million other “what if’s” that float around my head at 1 am!
So I lie in bed thinking of all of these things until it’s closer to 3 am when I finally drift off to sleep. At 7am when my son wakes me I feel like I've been out on a wild night out, dancing until dawn. I groan and roll over and hope he goes somewhere else to play for a while. But having been a parent to a young child for the past 13 years, I've learnt by now that that is highly unlikely. So I haul myself out of bed, bleary eyed, to go downstairs to make myself a very strong much needed coffee.
While I drink said coffee, I sit and ponder about the “what if’s” I had the night before. I tell myself that I won’t fail them. They are in charge of their own destiny, so if they want something enough I will make sure I help them to achieve it. They will be together all of the time but this will only make their relationships stronger. I have already seen T’s (13) and F’s (3) relationship blossom and me and T are now closer than ever before. I’ll make sure I encourage time apart through socialising with their own respective friends, working privately if they need their own space and having time just to myself and one of them at the weekends when G is home.
I think they’ll be OK socially. We’re all sociable in our own ways. This may not be in a large social group as such but we all like to get involved in group “lessons” as well as socialising with people daily on a more one-to-one basis. We already see people daily either as informal meets with friends or organised dance and gym classes and have plans for more things in the future. So in the light of day, my worries and “what ifs” don’t feel so worrying after all.