Upon reading the recommendation of another blogger, I picked this up at the library:
Yes! This is JUST what I needed to hear!
It's okay to cut the kids' TV time to near nothing.
It's okay to not study current events with my ten-year-old.
It's okay that our house is not overflowing with toys. (Really, in the interest of full disclosure, I've never felt the need to have lots of toys around the house. Small house, lots of people... too much stuff makes me feel claustrophobic.)
I really needed a kick in the pants. The last third of my pregnancy with Sam was physically taxing, moreso than with the other four. I relied entirely too much on the television and video games to entertain the kids. It's time to kick that habit to the curb! To that end, I found this website that gives me TONS of good ideas to engage the little ones. I intend to pass these little nuggets out occasionally for Gracie and Joey, when we're desperate. As for Luke (8) and Adam (10-almost-11), they are just fine finding their own entertainment, thankyouverymuch.
Lest I get on my soapbox (too late!), I feel that it's important to say that boredom is not the enemy of childhood! (It might be the enemy of an orderly kitchen, but if I really wanted a neat house I'd live alone.) If a child's every moment is filled with noise - not only the sounds of video games and TV and computers, but the visual clutter of a room packed to the gills with STUFF, and the spiritual and emotional crowding of having an entertainment committee (aka well-meaning parent who schedules every moment) - he cannot exercise creativity and imagination. And we all know what happens without exercise, right? Atrophy. So I'm going to let my kids be kids without the gadgets, bells, and whistles. Boredom is our friend. It forces them (and me) to exercise a little creativity and imagination.
Now someone remind me of that when I'm trying to get dinner on the table and they're all underfoot, okay?