Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unplugged

My kids watch very little tv and have no access to video games.

This was not always the case.  When the 3 youngest moved in, I let them watch tv since I let my oldest watch tv.  But tv soon ruled our lives.  Little E was obsessed with tv and "lost himself" in this make believe world.  He started getting up at 5 am to watch it and I was so tired, I let him.  He had never seen cable tv, so he was fascinated that there was always another cartoon on.  It was an easy babysitter for me with these challenging kids.

But whenever L'il E was told to turn the tv off (even with plenty of warning), he exploded.  He raged and destroyed stuff.  He attacked me.  We missed appointments.  Life was hell.

Then I made a decision.  We would not watch tv  (well, THEY wouldn't...I still had a small one in my room).  Soon after that, the tv broke which was fine.

Our family life became instantly better.  With no electronics (tv, video games, etc), the kids had to find other things to do.  My boys read the whole Harry Potter series twice and are voracious readers.  They played board games (and broke them, but that's another post).  They built things.  And the tantrums diminished.

Then, last Christmas, my dad told me he would be getting us a large flat screen tv.  I was thrilled with his generosity.  But I had mixed feelings.  NO television was good!

We got the tv and the kids love it.  But tv is not a part of our everyday life.  We watch a movie every week or two and the kids watch tv occasionally (less than an hour a week and never on school days).  L'il E still loves tv and will ask for "one more show" but he accepts no.

This was such a good decision and helped our family life so much.  Even my two middle kids have to admit that they have had to be much more creative since they couldn't rely on watching tv.  I feel guilty sometimes that they miss programs their peers see and don't always know the "latest" whatever. But while my kids break all kinds of rules, none of them would ever turn on the tv without permission.  And they don't question it.

I don't think there's anything wrong with television per se.  But our lives are better without too much of it.

3 comments:

J. said...

There is little screen time at our house as well and we are better off for sure. I am enjoying getting to know you and your family.

J. said...

There is little screen time at our house as well and we are better off for sure. I am enjoying getting to know you and your family.

Denise said...

This is something we've been working on for ages! We canceled cable, but the kids are still slaves to DVDs and video games. The tantrums are huge here, too, when I've demanded that those things be turned off.

Thanks for inspiring me to keep working towards the goal of NO more electronics!