COMMENT:

Sometimes you need to stop and consider if the things you think are making life easier are actually making them harder.

I have just cut my kids off from watching TV. I've had a few stints like this during my six years of parenthood and it is quite possible this won't be my last.

Like many parents, the TV is something I've used to occupy the kids if I've needed to do some work, if I've been sick, or one of the kids has been sick, or to buy some time to make dinner or clean the house.

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It seems to creep back in without anyone really noticing or paying attention to how much it's on.

For some kids and families, I am sure this isn't a problem. But for us, it is.

This isn't about scientific studies - there are plenty of those out there that look at the whys and the hows to make you feel guilty.

This is just me, writing purely about what I've noticed with my own kids:

The kids (aged 6 and 3) had been fighting for what felt like every spare minute they had, for ages.

They were whinging, physically fighting and coming to me complaining about each other.

I was pregnant with their younger brother (now two months), exhausted and not really thinking straight. So while this all may seem totally obvious, in our busy lives, it is all too easy to not see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

In the days after having our baby and being physically forced to sit back as an observer in my own home, it dawned on me: They don't know how to entertain themselves anymore.

On top of that, I had our son crying at me any time I needed to turn the TV off, sometimes resulting in a massive showdown, especially if he was tired.

Some kids can probably watch TV (or other technology) without it causing problems, but for our son, it seems to change him.

Our girl doesn't seem as affected, but her general attitude isn't great either.

I decided and assertively explained why we weren't goint to be watching TV anymore. And they seemed to understand.

Surprisingly, it was a few days before my son asked to watch something - and he didn't have a meltdown when I said no.

The impact seemed almost instant. They were playing more, cruising around the house making games out of nothing. Together.

Building blocks, Lego, card games, board games, drawing pictures, playing with cars and trains. They began amusing themselves and seem a lot happier.

I am also playing with them more as a result, because instead of rushing off to clean something or to make dinner, I have paused to get beaten by a three-year-old in Memory card games.

Yes, of course they are still having fights, but the proportion of fighting to play seems a lot more normal now.

I don't see it as my role to entertain my kids every minute of every day. Sometimes, sure. To play with them, read with them, teach them - yes. But it isn't our job to fill every minute they have.

It's our job to teach them how to make their own fun and to be okay when there isn't anything to "do".

Plenty of adults, myself included, need to be reminded of that, too.