Sunday, April 22, 2007

TV Turn off week

I have decided to join in with TV turn off week. The first time I did this Buster was in first grade. It seemed like a crazy idea at the time but a lot of families in the school where I was teaching were doing it so I joined in. It was hard at first. We really missed our favorite shows. But we ended up spending more time having fun together and it was amazing how relaxing our late afternoons and evenings were. We went back to watching TV after that week, but it changed my perspective on a lot of things. Commercials, for one thing. They are a lot more ridiculous and obnoxious once you get a little break. Consumerism is not as pretty once you get out from under the spell.

Over the years Buster and I gradually got unplugged more and more. I only have one TV and it's not a very good one. I got rid of cable when he was about 12 because I didn't want him watching all that junk. All my old favorite shows went off the air and I didn't get attached to any new ones. A couple of years ago I put our TV up in the attic so Buddy wouldn't get hooked on it before he was preschool age. I liked having it up in the attic because it kept Buddy from always getting into it. It's a lot easier to keep a toddler from getting into mischief with turning the box on and off and on and off and sticking things in the VCR if it's not in the room where they play. I took it back down to the living room again when the Pope died and we had a German exchange student living with us. We wanted to watch the funeral and the new Pope being chosen.

I have the TV in the living room again and I am noticing that we are getting to rely on it more and more. My boys are put in front of a TV at their day care. That is one of the things I really don't like about it there. I have questioned it and the teacher say they only use it when they are busy fixing lunches or it's raining... but the truth is both little guys have learned to sit still and watch TV more than I think is healthy for toddlers and preschoolers. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's better to have no TV at all for children under 2. That makes a lot of sense to me. They are developmentally invested in wandering around investigating and manipulating and touching things to explore their world. They should be talking to people in real life, not watching the screen.

Anyway, Punkin, my two year old, comes in the house after school every day and goes straight to the movie shelf. He loves Thomas the Tank. He shouts with glee when Curious George music comes on the TV. He can sit still in my lap for half an hour with his thumb in his mouth and watch TV. I like the cuddle time but I don't think it's healthy for him to be so attached to the magic box already. I got in the habit of letting them watch while I am cooking dinner. Usually it is only half an hour but since they sit so still and quiet it is really hard not to let that stretch into an hour or two... LOL the free time is so attractive! So I think we need a TV turn off week.

Buddy is having his tonsils out on Monday morning. My mom is going to take care of him at her house the rest of the week while I go back to work. He has to be out of school for 7 to 10 days and I thank God she is able to do it because I don't have that many sick days left. I decided if she lets him watch TV at her house that is her prerogative, but at our house we will have it unplugged.

I wish there was a way to know how much electricity I save by not having the whole set up plugged in. I guess I could try to read the meter and then read it again at the end of the week and compare that to a normal week... anyone ever do that?

Links:
Journey to Mom
Unplug your kids - she's doing the blog challenge
TV Turn Off Network
Fact Sheets
Ad Busters
Facts, FAQs, Alternative Ideas
Crayola Activity Calendar

4 comments:

Charlotte said...

Oh boy, I know how great the temptation of tv can be...we have always just used videos, which gives us some control, but still.
I hope all is going/has gone well for Buddy!
Charlotte

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

We didn't have tv in our family when I was a little girl, and while I appreciate the sentiments behind it, the actual execution of the policy was a bit draconian at times. I'm trying not to make tv forbidden fruit, but just something we choose not to have.

We have no tv in our house. We used to have one, but our house is so small that at a certain point, it seemed to make sense to get rid of it. Lest you think us virtuous, we grownups do watch DVDs and iTunes downloads on our computers. My daughter doesn't see much visual media, but I'll show her one or two little video stories a la Weston Woods as an incentive for her to nap... or let ME nap.

HipWriterMama said...

Good luck with this. Wishing Buddy a speedy recovery. I hope the grandma/grandson time will be truly special.

cloudscome said...

Thanks for the good wishes. It is hard and I feel so bad for the little guy. He is doing as well as can be expected but it is miserable.

I love hearing what you all think about TV. Keep those comments coming!