Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trying new things

This morning the girls and I had a nice long visit with my good friend Melissa and her two little guys. It has been forever since we've gotten to hang out, like really hang out, so it was a blast. Often times Iris and her older boy fight and fight and fight (even though they love each other!) but this time they only got in to it once. Whew! Much to be thankful for, indeed.

Melissa and I chatted about lots of different parenting stuff and I asked her about how they keep her son's tv time so minimal. I have been struggling for a looooong time on reducing the amount of tv Iris watches. For some reason it's exceedingly difficult for me. Melissa helped me realize that I just really need to get more involved in what projects and play Iris is interested in instead of just turning on the tube whenever she asks (or I'm tired). In my head I think that I'm awesome about giving all of my time to the girls and shirk some of my household tasks for the better of their development, but I know in reality that's not true. I work really hard to keep our home orderly because the apartment is just so small and our main living space is home to everything, the toys, the arts and crafts, the kitchen table, the books, the computers . . . so I crave a sense of order so that I feel relaxed and not too overwhelmed. I feel really uneasy when the girls just trash the place during the day-- not cleaning up as they play is hard for me. So how does this tie in to the tv issue? Well, I often use the tv for Iris so she is contained and quiet and not making huge messes. So I don't have to supervise her as much. So I don't have to think about what I can do to keep her entertained. These are all MY issues and I really need to get over them.

Today when we came home from playing I turned on the tv so Iris could watch it and stay quiet as I got her sister to sleep. After Eloise was in bed I noticed Iris got entrenched in wrapping presents (her newest favorite activity) and I just turned the tv off. She didn't even notice. It's not always that easy, but sometimes it is. It's much easier if she has something else to turn her attention towards.

I want to seriously focus on this. I want to make a goal of her only watching three shows a day. Some of you may gasp, but on average she watches MUCH more than that. Not usually just sitting there glassy-eyed staring at the tv, but the amount of time the tv is on in this house is pretty much ALL of the time. Not kidding.

Matt and I are in to the tv as much as Iris is, so hopefully this will be a good experience for us, to unplug from it. To only turn it on intentionally and not just to have on as noise.

I've asked before, but I'll ask again. What are your best tips for keeping the tv off in your home?


  1. What keeps the TV off at our house is my knowledge of how pervasive & damaging commercial images can be, especially to children. On the rare occasion Andy is allowed to watch TV it's only ever PBS, one show at a time, and it has to be an educational show like "Between the Lions." I've consented to "Jakers!" and "Calliou" because they have really good social messages, but again those are on PBS & he's only allowed one a day. I'm a bit staunch/strict about it, but I figure he has his whole life to watch TV, he doesn't need it when he's two. I also don't watch television at all, with the exception of putting streaming tv on my computer so I can have something to listen to while I knit at night after he's in bed. After studying media issues ad nauseum in college, it's hard to respect anything coming out of mainstream television these days.

  2. Same sense of order craving here too.

    Lucas is still young and so perhaps it's easier. That and we feel strongly about not using it as a baby sitter and no TV at all until at least 2 or older for brain development reasons.

    We've refused DVDs that my mom has tried to give us for babies and we just don't turn it on during the day.

    Once it's out of the proverbial box it's probably darn hard to put it back in. I think what we'll be doing is allowing 1 show a day and leave it at that.

  3. we are right there along with you. the tv is pretty much our background noise at home. and i certainly share your concerns. one of my goals is to have it on less. so i can sympathize, and i appreciate your chronicling of your experience - it is a hope and an inspiration!


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