Our Sky box broke just before '3rd & Bird' which is the start of our 'shut down' routine for DangerBaby. Now since she was poorly the 'shut down' routine of Cbeebies bedtime hour, bath, book and bed have been THE thing to calm DangerBaby down and put her in the right frame of mind for Zzzzz-ing the night away. So imagine the shock, no horror, when the TV is not on at the right time! She points, squeals and stands there looking at the TV and Sky box while Mummy presses lots of buttons (how unhelpful was the Sky call centre man... as one of my former projects I was appalled at his customer service if I was still wielding my big IT stick in BSkyB he'd have soon learnt a little about communication!!!!!).
So with unhelpful man from Sky not helping (the clue is in the description), it was TV off and entertain ourselves. Now in geek central (as u-ni-k IT HQ is known to some), we could have just moved to the soft room and watched the TV in there... or put 'Are you there Charley Bear ?'on the car DVD player... but we choose to take the lack of technology as a chance to return to some of the good old games that didn't rely on voltage or plastic throw away toys.
We used our Shuktara blanket to make a den, that we hid in and out of until running off with it over our head in the direction of the front door (Daddy DayCare was due home for work and you never know if you run at the door he may just appear... sometimes he does!). We picked up the knitted, sewn & stuffed body of a toy rabbit (I've yet to stitch them together and if it works may sell them on www.unikgifts.co.uk) and played ball. It was a lot of fun!
As we settled down , we did some singing on the sofa and drank some bedtime milk. Once we were all snug among our cushion mountain, we watched the birds chase each other around the garden. When Daddy came home it was time for bath, book and bed. Sure enough, the rest of the routine worked smoothly and by 9pm DangerBaby was in the land of Zzzzzz.
It was lovely to see her imagination work (apart from the bit where she picked up the matches from beside the log burner but that's another story), the pace of her games from tents, to hide and seek, to singing and dancing, to spotting animals and birds in the garden to telling Daddy all about it was amazing.
So my message today is simple: please remember to spend some time with your children playing without the TV on. They have so much to teach you. We forget that children (and babies) have a rich imagination that only need the simplest of toys to kickstart some magical game. So if you're looking for a gift to give to a small child, think outside of the box and give them something that makes them use their imagination!