OK, so I might not know this exact science of how much to cut back or if you should. This is all a personal decision, but I do know that practically every child research center has made the statement of no TV for kids under 2. Now I have not been one to follow that advice. I know, shame on me, but I LOVE TV! One of my favorite things to do is lay on the couch and binge a show with some ice cream and chocolate and….you get the picture. Not a very productive, healthy thing to do is it?
This is seriously how I felt almost every time a series ends and I would try to scrounge around for another series to fill my time…..Not that great but totally legit feelings.
Well I have a friend that does no TV, uses the Waldorf methods of play and education, eats super all natural and was part of my inspiration for moving to our town because I could see how it was going to be living up here. Almost six months ago she told me about putting a blanket on my TV in order to deter me from wanting to watch it, especially with the kids. This is how she stored her TV until she got rid of it and there were also chairs NOT pointed directly at it. I thought that was super strange but it made sense since she never used it. So up went a scarf/wrap that I never wore and it sat on the TV for about….a couple days, maybe a week. It started to get annoying having to take it off the TV every time I wanted to watch something once the Littles went to bed, so eventually it got folded and placed next to the TV. That still counts right?
Six months later that wrap is still next to the TV, but that is more because the wind keeps blowing it down 😀 The last three weeks we decided that enough was enough we were going to start cutting out TV. Now I cannot go cold turkey, it’s just not in my DNA to give up something I love so much. So instead we came up with a goal with an awesome reward. Some might say it was counter-intuitive reward but this seriously worked.
We were going to do no TV from Sunday at 5 pm-Friday at 5 pm. Therefore weekends they could watch Saturday morning cartoons and we could still do a family movie night on Fridays so that is why we had the weird hours. At first the Littles were not very happy about this but then something changed… We told them what the reward would be if we could go THREE weeks with no TV during the week.
KUNG FU PANDA 3!!!!!!!!! in the theater!!!!!! opening night!!!!
I am not a super Kung Fu Panda fan, I like the movies every now and again but Po (main character) will always have a special place in my heart, Po and I go way back. The Hubby and I first hung out together (in a group) after my high school graduation party where we saw the first Kung Fu Panda movie. Remember we were in a group but even so just him and I shared a popcorn and drink (sharing a straw is like kissing right? haha), and our friendship just continued to grow. OK, I know, I know, enough about our relationship. I just wanted to give you the back story.
So any time a Little would ask about watching TV during the week we would remind them of going to the movie theater if we could just stay away from the TV. Were there times that I just wanted to let them watch something because then I could get more stuff done??? Of course, but instead we thankfully had great weather and I made it a priority. They would wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and run outside to play!
The first week I still watched TV at night-time because this was just a goal for the kids. But then something happened…as I couldn’t watch TV during the day with the kids I was on social media less, I was becoming more productive, our house was a little bit cleaner…and I was losing my desire to watch TV. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a good movie and I catch up on the few shows I watch while I am cleaning. Also a lot of date nights around here involve cuddling on the couch with snacks and a movie. But now I use my TV time wisely and I only watch during certain chores (dishes and laundry) because they are not my favorites.
This goal started because I felt like I was relying on the TV too much as a babysitter. Now I will not condemn ANYBODY who does this because I have done it for five years now and we are finally taking the actions that align with our family priorities. How are we supposed to get back to the basics of life if we are relying on a TV to entertain our children? Laura Ingalls and other children in the pioneer days did not have a television when they were growing up. They had sticks and rocks and maybe a doll or a couple of things their dad carved. They had good childhoods filled with many adventures. We want that simplicity for our kids. Being content in what they have, an imagination with no limits, a healthy body, a love for the outdoors, coloring and reading more, a love for animals, an understanding of how and where our food is made/comes from, playing from sun up until sun down, doing chores as a family, and sitting at the table for our meals. As old fashion as those sound, that is exactly what we are striving for. A life that has gone back to the basics.