We are limiting our children to less than thirty minutes of TV per day (well, E, because N couldn’t care less about television) with no television as our goal on most days of the week.
Yes. I have gone insane. And yes the timing of school letting out for the summer, getting cable for the first time in four years and actually understanding what SPROUT means, and hating the heat of summer, is awful. But we’ve noticed that our uber-intense, emotional, and very active son is much easier to deal with on no television days.
My first thought after I accidental speak my realization aloud? NOOOOOOOOO. This CANNOT BE!! TV time is the only time he sits still. HOW WILL I EVER GET ANYTHING DONE AGAIN??? (I actually think in multiple punctuation marks so as to emphasis my thoughts to myself.)
And our doctor-network sites research and antidotal evidence to back up our observations. Which is frankly disappointing.
Because I love TV. I took The Study of Television in college (a lot less watching of The Simpsons than I had hoped). I haven’t watched much television in the last few years, but I have fond memories of doing my homework in front of it in middle school. And calling it my BFF my sophomore year of college. And entertaining me through the summer I was engaged and crazy. Television has taken me far. I’m a HUGE fan. But now I need to save our sporadic rendezvous for the evenings only. And my poor E? Cold-turkey. (Or at least cool-turkey since once in awhile he’ll watch a show. I’m committed but not unrealistic.)
The problem for us? I’m a BIG believer in the television as a tool. Dinner to cook? TV TIME! Phone calls to return? TV TIME! (Well, usually DURING TV time. I rarely FORCE television time so I can accomplish my life.) I don’t find the television to have much of an educational purpose. Perhaps I’d give television the tag line: Babysits in an entertaining and educational way.
I would like to note for all your anti-television people that E never watched ANY television before turning two years old with the exception of New York Giants football games. And since coming of television age, he watched about an hour per day. (Two hours on a really bad or crazy day.)
Why is it not a helpful tool anymore? I don’t know. It’s not the shows because he ONLY watches PBS, and we even banned Word Girl from our house after he started throwing “salamis” at me a year ago. I have a few theories. But I also have theories on ear hair and fiber so I’m not going to detail them here.
Bottom line? I’m exhausted and concerned and excited. And I need your help: How do I return phone calls, fix a website issue, or make dinner without television? How do I TAKE A BREAK?
*PS. I don’t care if your kids watch tons of TV and do great. Because if that was true in my household, we WOULD watch it. It’s just not right now. But I have no judgment against parents who can incorporate television. Jealousy. But not judgment.
He can at least look at the pictures he took.
Oh wait, that’s screen time too. CRAP!