“Do you want to watch a movie? We’re having a boys’ movie night.”

A movie night? That sounds like a relaxing way to spend an evening. Someone grabs the popcorn, someone else inserts the DVD into the player and then waves the remote control. The TV screen lights up. Three boys settle back and start munching and watching. The movie is good, the story involving, the tension is mounting. And then …

Someone waves the remote control once again at the DVD player, and the TV screen goes blank as the movie disappears.

“What’s wrong? Where’s the movie gone?”

“Time for bed. We’ve all got to be up early tomorrow. We’ll have to finish it another night.”

“Another night? But I was enjoying it… Why do we have to go to bed?”

“If you stay up any later, you’ll get overtired. The DVD will still be here tomorrow.”

“Time for bed? We’ll finish it another night?” There’s a lot of mumbling going on.

The boys reluctantly drag themselves out of their chairs… Oops! That’s not right.

My husband Andy reluctantly drags himself out of his chair. He takes a last longing look at the TV and starts cleaning up. Our sons have already disappeared.

How times change. 

And although Andy and I find the whole situation amusing, we also learn something...

Sometimes it must be very frustrating being a child.
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  1. That's so funny! I guess that's why Radical Unschoolers don't insist on bedtimes - they must know how frustrating children find it! I'm quite strict with the younger children's bedtimes but the older ones are more independent, these days. They've become pretty regular about going at a reasonable time - I think we'd all be really crabby if we just drifted into bed at any old hour. :-)

    1. Vicky,

      I've thought about being more radical about bedtimes... Maybe it wouldn't take long for everyone to realise they need to get a certain amount of sleep in order to function properly the next day and fulfil their responsibilities, and they might slide into a natural pattern of when to go to bed. The older ones already do this. That's why Callum turned off the DVD. He knew he had an early shift at work the next day. The younger ones? The younger girls know they won't be able to come running with me if they aren't out of bed and ready soon after 6 am. They already realise they need to get to bed at a certain time if they are to do this.

      While I can encourage a child to get into bed, I can't make that child go to sleep. It must be so frustrating to be sent to bed but not be tired enough to go to sleep. I guess that ultimately a child has to learn to make their own decisions about sleep.

      Perhaps consideration for others comes into it too. It would be inconsiderate for a child to be wandering the house or watching a loud movie while others are sleeping. It would also be inconsiderate for a child to stay up so late he couldn't get up to do his share of the morning chores etc. And it would be inconsiderate for someone to get so overtired he is grumpy and unpleasant to live with.

      Well, we moved away from TV to sleep, but it's an interesting topic!

  2. This one is so hard, Sue. We are limiting screen time until after 4:00PM these days and are already seeing fruit from it. BUT I am constantly having to interrupt their show or game to get them to come to dinner or take a bath. I try to give plenty of warning, and on nights dad is not there I will let them finish a last few minutes while the baby and I start eating without them. It's tough to strike that balance.

    1. Pam,

      I wonder if you could record your children's shows and they could finish watching them after dinner or after their baths. We have one of those machines that allows a TV program to be paused and then restarted at a later time. I guess it's finding a balance between a child's needs and the needs of the family. Sometimes an individual's desires have to give way.

      You are right, Pam. This is a tough one!

  3. And that's why I watch Tom and Gerry movies. They're short and there's plenty on one DVD, (actually I have two DVDs), and you can switch off at the end of a short film and start again the next day. Better than watching the News too!

    God bless.

    1. Victor,

      You are so right about the news! I'd be quite happy to switch that off and go to bed. Tom and Gerry? It's been years since I last saw one of those.

      I'm not a TV-in-the-bedroom person but I guess there are people who have solved the problem by going to bed and watching a movie at the same time.

      God bless.


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