• nurzahila

Games Day Weekend

“Another early loss children deal with occurs when a sibling is born. The older child’s relationship with his primary caregivers is altered suddenly and profoundly. No matter how sensitively the parents handle the situation, no matter how much the child appears to ‘love’ the new baby, there is grief for the pre-existing situation for what once was. The new third party causes forced reconfiguration of the child’s place on his world and tremendous loss. Of a child can be trusted and encouraged to expressed the gamut of negative feelings he or she may be having, and if parents can use what energy they have to keep behavioral limits  consistently intact while allowing for painful feelings, then the child can stay on the course of healthy emotional release…” Janet Lansbury in Elevating Child Care.

A month ago, I was a bit concerned with the screen time demands that Umar made while Ali is awake. I want to enforce the same no screen time rule for Ali for at least 2 years. Just as we did for Umar. But because the age gap is 3 years apart, enforcing the same rule to the younger sibling is like juggling balls while walking on a trapeze.  Umar has screen time for about 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. It took some time for us to find the best solution without making it seem that the rules had changed “because of Ali”. We actually started by changing the rule to “screen time only when Ali is napping”. But another problem cropped up. He will demand for a screen time the moment Ali naps but problem is, it is also his nap time. So by the time he finishes his screen time, Ali wakes up and I don’t have my downtime. Sounds pretty selfish don’t you think? I am no SuperMommy and simply human. I need my downtime or power naps to make me less edgy so I can  function well for the betterment of my children for the second half of the day. So I proposed to hubby to have no screen time at all unless it is an emergency but we had to do it tactfully. We need to be mindful that he won’t feel as if Ali had taken his “rights” away from him. Above all, we do not want him to feel less important.

After much thought and looking at the untouched recyclables I hoarded for many months, we decided for “Games Weekend”. Games Weekend only means more mess, more work for me. But to take something, you have to give something back. I further enticed Umar with the idea by giving him the title of a “Games Master”. Since it is in an early stage, I explained to him that his role is to come up with a game he has in mind. I will be source out materials for him and we will build this game together. I also reiterated to him that both of us will be a team. (He likes to be in Ummi’s team.) He needs to feel special and he did. So first weekend came and I hyped him up since Wednesday. He said he wanted to make a pinball game with marbles. I excite him each day and asked him simple questions like what materials are we needing for his games. How to play the game? And how can Ummi help him?

The day came and Ali needed to nurse and he started to be edgy. If I waited any longer, he will certainly ask for screen time.  So I asked him if he could help me pick the colors he wants to use to paint the recyclables. I store his art supplies within his reach. It roughly took him 10 minutes to choose the colors and carry the bottles to the table.  The moment Ali is done with nursing we started to paint. I helped him most of the time. But he was engaged all the time asking me questions which tape to use, which scissors to take?

Painting his pinball box together.


The toilet rolls are detachable. He is able to customized the game the way he likes it.

Was it a success? The box is still around till today. It has been 3 weeks and he plays with it still. The weekend after that came and he had an idea of making a drum during one of our music sessions. Both of them wanted to play with the tambourine. So there was a struggle. I guessed he figured making a drum would make the struggle go away. 🙂






So we did. We ended up with a shaker kinda drum. It has been two weeks and he hasn’t asked persistently for the ipad or tv. He still ask for the television occasionally. Trying his luck perhaps.

I am hoping I can keep this up. On a happier note, I don’t feel bad keeping the iherb’s empty boxes anymore. (iherb boxes are one of the best in my honest opinion!!!)

#brothers #siblings #invent #games #boys

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