TV – was the big no, no word among my friends when we had our first babies. “My children are not allowed to watch TV” or “My kids get 30 minutes a day of educational TV and that’s it.” As a working mom, I made it clear to my caregivers that having the TV on during the day wasn’t an option.
Then like most things in our house, the creep happened. We started with only letting the kids watch Curious George in the morning while I got ready for work. That quickly turned into two episodes. And then we got a TV in our kitchen so that my husband could watch football on Sundays while he cooked all day. Soon the girls began to ask if they could watch a show here and there while we were making lunch or dinner. Then on nights when I had to get work done, the TV became an option to keep them occupied.
Just putting all of this in writing makes me feel terrible. I love spending time with my kids, doing crafts and playing games. Letting the TV become my crutch was a terrible habit that I had gotten into. I have wondered if my old friends stuck to their guns about it?
This fall we had to move out of our house for a couple of weeks during a home remodel (the longest couple of weeks of my life!). We had family friends offer up their house at the lake for us to stay. It was such a generous gesture; we were thrilled. Then we got up there and remembered this house had no TV or internet and cell phone usage was spotty. At first I was out of sorts, feeling unconnected. I had no idea what was going on in the world, more importantly how to dress my children for school because I couldn’t check the weather. And the worst of it…I had to wait until I got to work to get my daily fix of Charlotte Smarty Pants.
After a couple of days, we settled into our new place and started to enjoy life without distractions. The girls and I got back into our old routine of playing board games and reading more. And in the mornings, the girls ran around and played with each other instead of watching television while I got ready for work. I started to enjoy the quiet in the house and not wondering what was on TV. The girls even started to put on plays for entertainment. We had a blast living old school.
So for all of you moms who have managed to keep TV watching at a minimum, I applaud you. I also ask that you don’t hold this against me. I know that TV will still be in our future – I have to face it, we are TV-watching family. But I plan to be more aware of it and make sure that the family time, fun and creativity come first.
I would love to know that there are some other Smarty moms out there that have found themselves in this situation, any one willing to confess?
We watch too much! Especially this summer when there was no school and a new baby that kept us at home a lot.
We are guilty of the same offense in the mornings – only with the twins though. The girls barely have time to eat breakfast before they have to scoot out the door. I wouldn't beat yourself up though. Once the girls get to elementary school and after-school activities kick in, they won't have time for TV. And when they watch it, they will really appreciate it. We usually put something on while I'm making dinner. But poor Ansley is now in 3rd grade and the homework is ENDLESS (this is a blog in itself – we're drowning!). So she gets stuck in the living room doing homework while the rest are watching tv! So let them enjoy the tv – we're a media-frenzied society. Now if they were hanging out 24/7, then I'd get on you:-)
Guilty as charged! In fact, my 5-1/2 year old walks around the house quoting tag lines from various commercials (another blog in itself!) It's not endless TV all day long, but rather while we're trying to get dinner ready or the Today show in the morning 🙂
Yes, we too are GAC. The boys are home sick and they watch tons of TV when this happens. I limited it for a long time but now I fell off the wagon. It's all PBS so I try to tell myself it's educational to make me feel less guilty. There are some days though I have thought about throwing all the TV's out the door, if I hear one more cry about watching ANOTHER TV show.
Thank you for being honest! I am SO guilty of the TV creep. Because of this post today I made an effort not to turn it on when my daughter was begging for it at lunch time. Boy I had things to get done but I stuck to my guns and grabbed a stack of books and read to her while she ate. Win, win for both of us. I stopped trying to multitask and she actually ate all her lunch while I read.
Don't have mommy guilt if you have to sit your 3 year old in front of Curious George while you take a shower….on the other hand, we have the rule of no TV or video games for my 10 yr old and 7 yr old Mon-Thurs, so they don't even ask for it on those days.
I love your comments. It is amazing, once you turn off the TV, how kids will find other ways of occupying their time…It's turning it off and getting them used to it that is the hard part. Thank you so much.
I try not to let them use the TV too much, but its GREAT when you are trying to get stuff done!! I found very early on that my kids, when left with the option to watch or not, usually choose to watch for a show or two and then retreat to their rooms for play and then come back a while later. I may have just gotten lucky!! I only let them watch Noggin – now Nick Jr – or Sprout. Disney ONLY comes on when it can be monitored, especially after my 5 year old started giving me Hannah Montana attitude!!!!Also, I have learned that TV – educational TV – actually DOES teach your kids! It doesn't teach them everything they need to know, but it is a good starting point. Then it is MY responsibility to follow up with them. My daughter knew what a pygmy marmoset was and what it eats and how it gets by in the world by age three! Not something I would have taught a 3 year old!! But she knows it and she now teaches her younger brother about animals and their habitats…and uses the word HABITAT! Yes, I did have to teach her letters and numbers and sounds and how to spell habitat. On top of that, I have allowed my children to watch movies – mostly musicals – as my parents did. They love to sing and act and my daughter MAY end up on Broadway one day. I didn't teach her the ENTIRE soundtrack to Annie…the TV did!!Television is worthwhile for your children if you know how to use it correctly!!
I think I may be the only mom wishing that her child watches TV. My son (age 4) has NO, zero, zilch interest in TV or movies. I would just like 15 minutes of not having to entertain him!!
I let my toddler watch Sesame Street occaisionally right before daddy gets home. (I have DVR'd several episodes.) It allows me to cook dinner, straighten the house, etc. I used to feel guilty… but I am over that now!