Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apr19_TV

I read about The Great TV Rebellion at a couple of my favorite blogs, and I remember reading about similar campaigns last year. I always cringe at these kinds of events. Why? Because they are just that – campaigns. It’s almost like binge dieting – let’s turn off our TVs offs for a few days and record all our favorite programs, so we can feel all righteous this week and catch up on our TV viewing next week.

I don’t believe in binge dieting, I believe in lifestyle choices. We don’t watch much TV here at all. In fact, we were one of those very few families that chose to follow “no TV for under 2” policy recommended by American Association for Pediatricians. Even now Anna’s TV viewing doesn’t exceed 30 minutes a day, and she only watches DVDs or recorded PBS shows. If we have doubts that she will understand the movie, I or my husband watch it with her. She is probably the only American child her age who only saw Cinderella to the end – we tried a couple of others (we actually have a very large DVD library at home), but felt that other Disney movies are too intense or incomprehensible for her. I don’t feel any guilt on letting her watch high-quality programs which entertain and educate her, because I see that she can understand them.  She incorporates the material into her play, she interacts with the program, she asks many questions. She likes to watch, but she is not addicted to blue screen and doesn’t automatically go to TV option when she is bored.

I admit that sometimes it’s hard to limit TV and other electronic entertainment so radically. It would be nice to have more time for adult conversation, for catching up on chores and even for feeding my own blogging addiction. But I tell myself that the time we spend together – playing, reading, going outside or cooking is a lot more valuable to my child than any TV or computer program could possibly be.

20 comments:

Pathfinder Mom said...

Interesting concept. We make a concerted effort to get out in nature already, so I feel pretty good about that. I'm not so worried about the TV as we have it off for most of the day, but my computer really is overused - by me. If I were to limit anything - it would be my PC time.

Christy said...

I agree with you about no tv week. It's silly - let's watch ten hours of tv a day all year and then turn it off for a week.

We also had no tv under two in our house. My kids probably watch one hour of tv each day. Occasionally, it might be more, but some days the tv never goes on.

Mandy said...

I agree! We watch very little tv here, too. My daughter just turned four, and I don't allow her to watch most disney movies. The funny thing is that when we do turn something on for her to watch, she will sit and watch it. It seems like many kids that have the tv on at their house all day will not actually sit to watch anything...at least from my experience.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Interesting...I'll have to think about that for a while. We've never really limited electronic interaction. We cut our dish off a couple of years ago, because television commercials were becoming disturbing, but other than that we play on the computer, watch movies, and play video games, with no limits in place. I have a tendency to incorporate it all into school work. I'll admit our computers stay on all day, and someone is always using them - but someone is always playing a board game, or playing outside, or baking something, or reading a book, or so on...I haven't really thought of it as a problem - except with Super Smash Bros, which has been banned from our house, because it seemed to bring out bad behavior in the children.

Crunchy and Green said...

We do the same with both of our kids. Neither watched any TV before two, and both are limited to less than 1 hour of screen time each day. For my 10 year old that usually means the computer or the Wii rather than television. For M that sometimes means Starfall or other computer time, but can mean certain cartoons that we allow. Our pediatrician really emphasizes the screen time limit, and there's plenty of research on the way TV and other electronics negatively affect young developing brains, so I don't feel bad about limiting them at all!

Autumn said...

Funny thing, every time I try to go to your link, it crashes Safari. Oh well.

Since we're in the middle of moving and all our A/V equipment is in boxes, the boys have been watching even *less* TV than they were before, which wasn't much to begin with. I'm with you on the 30-minutes a day rule, but we tend to average it throughout the week . They may watch an hour of a movie one day and then not watch anything else for a few days. Right now they love the Curious George and wall-e movies.

They were at their cousins' house the other day and watched Cinderella from the middle to the end. My SIL told me they LOVED it!

Ticia said...

I agree 100%, I'm really laughing that this year it's on the same week as Earth Day, it's been funny seeing all of the big shows and newspapers and the like trying to decide if they want to emphasize Earth Day or No TV. It's really funny.
Okay, my kids' alloted morning TV time is done, so my blogging time for the morning is done as well, so I better go get busy.

MaryAnne said...

I like your approach. I let Emma watch Blue's Clues and Signing Time before she was two, and obviously Johnny and Lily have seen TV before the age of 2. I don't regret my decision; signing time gave Emma a huge vocabulary, and Blue's Clues was something I enjoyed watching with her. We don't do a strict daily time limit; some days they don't watch any TV and every once in a while I let them watch Cinderella from start to finish. Emma knows a lot about dinosaurs now thanks to "Dinosaur Train", and she uses Dora as inspiration when she is trying to be independent or less shy (both challenges for her). She has actually never seen a Dora episode (we only have basic cable), but we let her play the Dora computer games.

Joyful Learner said...

I think those campaigns are good for families that have TV's on all the time. It's a reminder that things can be different. Perhaps the idea is that after one week of no TV, they realize it's more fun playing outside. We cancelled our cable a year ago and realized we could live without it. I wish I can say the same for our iPhones! It's a love/hate thing for me...this technology.

I figure if they are going to advertise anything, it's better to advertise no TV or Earth Day than McDonalds or cheaply made toys!

Debbie said...

I won't get in on the campaign either. I will admit though that Selena watches a bit more TV then I feel is necessary. We fell into this habit when I was sick. This sounds bad, but there were times when I was here with her alone going through my cancer that I had to find a way to entertain her. I did however choose what I felt to be wholesome cartoons on PBS and turned off the TV after those.

However, though I have seen with what cartoons I have allowed her to watch and still continue to allow her to watch, things that she has learned towards reading, spelling, and math skills. I don't think all TV is bad, but must be monitored to content and in moderation. We can not use it to take the place of what they need the most from us.

Gabriele said...

See, we ARE doing it, but for me, not Cheeky. I am horrid about having that 'noise' in the background (usually once he's gone to bed) and half the time I am busy blogging or catching up on things and it's just "on". I totally hate the whole 'campaign' kinda thing like you mentioned, but ya know...it's still something I choose to post about b/c there ARE some people out there who NEED to do it. I am not anti-tv with my child, but I do limit as much as possible (plus, we are usually outside anyway), but there are MANY people who just don't...maybe they read it and think..."hey, I can handle a week!" and then they actually realize they can live even longer without the darn boob toob ;) That's my theory anyway!! :D

PeachyTO said...

No TV before 2 is a philosophy I can get behind.

I haven't been blessed with a child just yet, but I am diligently preparing. I have often thought about how I would like to keep TV to a minimum, but I think not incorporating the TV into their schedule at that early age will do wonders for their attention span, and for their ability to stave off boredom in creative ways.

I love your blog, and the wealth of information that I can draw on for my future family! Thanks

Mom and Kiddo said...

I understand what you mean but I also think that those families who watch a lot of tv might be encouraged to watch less if they experience a tv-free week. We don't have cable and the tv is not in our main living area and Kiddo doesn't watch tv very often. Even so I often toy with the idea of getting rid of the tv all together. I like movies too much to take the plunge, however!

Jennifer said...

She isn't the only one who hasn't seen the Disney movies--mine haven't seen any of them. We actually made the choice to go TV free when we got married 8 years ago. My kids will watch the occasional dvd rented from the library or the watch Kipper on Netflix, but that's about it. Probably less than an hour or two a week.

But, I think for families who watch a lot of tv the week without is a good thing. It shows them that there are more exciting things to do with their time. My kids could care less about tv, and as for myself, I'm blissfully ignorant about all the recording of shows and flat screen, hd, what not that's out there.

Michelle said...

I agree with you, we also have a strict TV policy in our house that sounds just like yours. Emily has also never watched any Disney Movies. She does enjoy the Talking Letter Factory by Leapfrog, and I am amazed with how well she learned her letters from it, but otherwise there is a small rotation of carefully selected DVD's that she watches before her nap for 30 minutes. Since she has never know anything else it makes it so much easier to control the tv. It was much harder when she was litter, my sister in law would sit her son in front of noggin all day and then she went about her business as if she didn't have a child. My days were/are much more stressful but my husband and I felt it was much more beneficial to go without the tv. I feel like she is able to concentrate so much better and now that she is older is not obsessed with TV like other children her age. So I feel that is was definitely worth it!

Adriana said...

T.V. time has been an issue in our family because I do not like to watch t.v. and my husband loves it. I am very anti-t.v when it comes to the boys. I would be perfectly happy if we got rid of the t.v. and the boys never watch it. Our compromise has been that the boys watch almost no tv during the week while my husband is not home much anyways because of work and he and the boys watch some t.v. on the weekends. Since they are not used to watching much they rarely will sit for very long and watch it anyways. I contribute the fact that both of the boys are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves for long periods of time because I do not use the tv as a time filler, mood enhancer, or boredom reliver.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

I could not agree with you more! We have a television, but no cable, and we hardly EVER watch it. It is the last resort, and even then it's only PBS. We would much rather be doing other more interesting things with our time.

Jenny said...

My daughter likes TV, but I try to limit it.

Actually, she's never seen any Disney movies. This is on her own accord. She wants nothing to do with watching movies.

Kim said...

I admire you for sticking to your convictions. These were all my plans when Crumpet was born, but we haven't been very good about it. I go through phases where I don't let Crumpet watch much t.v. and then slide back into bad habits - I can actually clean and pack while he watches t.v., you know? Awful awful use of machine as babysitter. My husband says he's on board, but when he's with Crumpet, they mostly watch t.v. Bad t.v. that I'm usually appalled by. We went to see How to Train Your Dragon this weekend because everyone said it was appropriate for a little boy. I was horrified - it's incredibly violent and NOT appropriate. But I was more horrified because Crumpet was not scared, meaning he has seen too much of this stuff already. I only let him watch Nick Jr because it's nice and educational with no commercials, but we are NOT getting the kid channels when we move. We will have videos from the library, and PBS, and I'm hoping that it will inspire me to keep the t.v off. My goal is to be outside all the time... Wish me luck. ( I do find that Crumpet learns a lot from the shows I let him watch, but I also find that his behavior is a million times better when he is not watching t.v...)

Amanda said...

I have to agree with you :) Although for famalies that have it own all the time, it can be a good intervention LOL. Growing up, if my dad was home the TV was on....it was just background noise, and that habit followed me into adulthood. I always had it on, just for background noise until I had Ansley. Then I actually became aware of how much I had it on. Now, during the day it is almost never own. Ansley might watch 15/20 mins of pbs while I dry my hair and do my make up, but then off it goes and if it is nice, out we go :) Tom and I do like to watch a few shows we dvd together at night once she goes to bed, but honestly once I changed my habit of having taht backgroud noise I realized tat I really don't miss TV.