Thursday, November 20, 2008

I banned tv duning the week

In general, my goal is to avoid as many things that can turn into bad habits as possible. This isn't because I'm "WonderMom." It's because I'm too lazy to undo bad habits. It just feels like more work and right now I have all that I can handle.

In this vein, when my daughter was an infant I didn't watch tv around her and I didn't have her watching tv either. She was 11 months old when she saw her first Baby Einsteins video. The reason for this was that I didn't want her to turn into a tv junkie. And she hasn't. But I really don't think that's why. I think it's just her personality.

Enter my older son. He was born 23 months after my daughter and created a whole different dynamic in our home (as most second children do). By then, my daughter was very attached to Barney and that was great because it kept her busy while I tended to the baby or took a shower. Getting ready in the morning as my kids got older became more difficult with a 3 year old and a toddler both running around. This is when things changed with the tv. I soon learned that my son is the one with the potential for tv addiction- isn't hat just the way? Prepping for the wrong child.

Anyway- the result is that at almost every free moment before school, after school, and immediately upon waking on a weekend morning he's looking for the tv. Until recently this hasn't been too much of a problem. We keep the shows the kids watch limited to "good tv" and avoid anything violent or that we deem inappropriate. The challenge is that now it's a distraction to my daughter when she's trying to do homework, an annoyance to me because I can only hear the theme song to "Word Girl" so many times before it's too much for me, and finally it has become more a source of background noise rather than entertainment and therefore useless as far as I'm concerned. Truth be told- I also just got tired of him always asking to watch something.

So, while I have been unsuccessful in avoiding this bad habit all together- I felt the only recourse was to remove it from our lives. I told one mom about this and she asked, "But doesn't that make your life more difficult?" I said, "Not really. Truth is- my kids play really well together and use their imaginations in made up games. They'll just have to do more of that now."
The television can be a great babysitter but it also becomes a crutch for parents. Trust me, I'm not replacing tv with flashcards led by me- I'm just encouraging more independent play among my kids. Like I said- I've got plenty to do.

I just started this last week. The first day was difficult on my son. The second better. By the third, he was used to the change and looking forward to watching tv on the weekend; and even then he didn't watch as much as he had a week before.

2 comments:

  1. I love TV. I am a TV junkie. My life, without TV, would be like trying to get through the day without drinking a pot of coffee. Because I pride myself on not being a hypocrite (which I'm sure makes me one just by default), to take TV away from my kids, I would therefore have to live a life without TV--- without one of my true great loves. Life without Ari Gold?? The Food Network?? MSNBC?? I'd rather shove bamboo under my fingernails. So bring it on, in all it's ugliness. By the way, my kids love of TV makes for a fantastic motivator, and they really do seem to play quite a bit as well---even when that TV is on. The ONLY TV rule is no TV when we are doing homework, and that works just fine. So on the few days we are home, we watch way too much TV.....

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  2. As a parent and therefore the maker of rules- I didn't ban tv for myself- just my kids during the week. I wish it was the motivator it is for my kids that it is for yours. In my house there are different motivators. At night, TV time is my down time and I'm not ready to give it up for myself. I appreciate the value of the television, but needed to control it for those who are too young to control it for themselves. I don't think it's hypocritical for either of us at all- we've already done our homework and cleaned up toys along with getting kids to school, packing lunches, and about 10 other things all before 8am. And that's only the beginning of our day.

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