When I was a kid I would wave good-bye to my mother after breakfast in the summer and run out the door. I'd ride my bike all over the place, return for lunch mid-day or call her from a friend's house to tell her I was eating lunch there, go exploring in the woods and return home in time for dinner. I rarely watched TV and I managed to keep myself occupied without a Wii or a DS. My, how times have changed.
I decided this weekend that I was going to require my children to play outside a couple hours a day, provided that the weather holds. I have work to do both in my home and writing deadlines so I must have some free time. It's either stick them in front of the TV for a few hours or force them to play outside. I choose the latter. Today was my first day testing this new requirement out. My kids have been outside for a total of 22 minutes and I have had to take disciplinary action 3 times with my son to keep him outside and once with my daughter. I've had to break up three fights and turn the hose on and off four times. I have gotten a staggering amount of work done. Staggering.
I decided, just minutes ago, to try another strategy out. I sent the two older kids and the dog out the door and I locked it. I locked them out. They are confined to a fenced-in suburban outdoor prison that contains such torturous devices as a swing set, a tree house, a waterslide, a sand and water table, and a never ending supply of flora and fauna to keep them occupied. Yep, just call me the warden. It seems to be working. For the first couple of minutes they both just stood right outside the door, turning the doorknob over and over in disbelief. Is it really locked?
Yes, yes it is.
I'm happy to report that, a mere 15 minutes later, they both knocked on the backdoor not to whine and ask me to come in but to show me a big bucket full of magnolia leaves they'd collected. I admired it from the other side of the door and encouraged them to collect as many as possible. I'm hoping that will keep them occupied for a long time. It's a really big tree.