Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Question

April wrote the following comment on my previous post:

"Why endure the pain? I say turn on the tube! "

That is a good question. Mostly I am doing this because I was already feeling that we were watching too much TV. When we watch 30 min of TV in the morning and 30 min in the afternoon, everything is great. The kids are well behaved, active, and TV is just one more thing that is fun and something they like.

Unfortunately, it becomes really easy to turn it on more and more. Watching an hour in the morning instead of 30 min. Then when we come home after dropping Abigail off, Jack and Aidan ask to watch it, and I agree, then forget to turn it off, and they watch another hour or more. Then Abigail gets home and wants to watch it. You get the idea. It just builds and builds, and it is easier for me to say yes and let them watch it rather than say no.

The problems (for us) of watching too much TV is that they are not active- there are some days there are hardly any toys out because they watched TV all day. And when the TV finally gets turned off, there are screams and cries like you wouldn't believe. They fight more when we watch a lot of TV, they are 'bored' more, they are whiny and less cooperative when the TV is on a lot.

So I was already thinking that we needed to decrease our TV watching. This seemed like a good opportunity to join in with other people and go for one week with no TV. And when this week ends, I have a plan.

We use a little magnet system for our "morning work". I place the magnets on their little board each morning, and they are expected to do each of the things before playing. It works really, really well. The visual cues are WAY better than me yelling "get your shoes on!", and they like being able to take them off when they are done. This simple little system has made our mornings much more pleasant.

For TV watching, I am going to expand on something that is already working. I am going to print out and laminate some little TV pictures. Each picture represents 30 min of TV. On Monday mornings, I will give each of them 3 (4? I can't decide- probably start with 3 and see how it goes). That is their TV watching for the week. It seems like not very much, but they will all watch it together, that is just the shows they get to pick. Theoretically, they will be able to choose when and what to watch. Also, by only allowing a few shows, I can add in a few at various times.

Theoretically, it will teach them about choices, limited resources, and at the same time limit our TV watching to an average of less than 1 hour per day. That is my goal. As we all know, reality is often different than theory, but we have to start somewhere, right?


Countless Tomorrows said...

I say good for you to fight this battle! TV is becoming to much a part of society these days. I hate to admit that my hubby and I are amongst the worst. But I vow that when we have kids we will do better, like eating dinner at the table! Plus with the warm weather we don't watch as much TV because we are outside. Keep up the fight, it will pay off in the end.

Shanna said...

Thanks!! We were worse before we had kids too- we always ate dinner in front of the TV!

Lisa said...

I think you are doing a good thing! I was kind of late for TV Turnoff Week (Dallin would need PLENTY of warning for something like that). But I've been stewing over what to do during summer vacation. I hate TV for all the reasons you mentioned, but I know it's going to be awful for the first while if we go without. I'm thinking of allowing TV only one or two days of the week. I've tried every other method of cutting down, and nothing works permanently. I'd be happy to just get rid of it, but dh watches it, and we did just get a Wii.

camille said...

Wow, I think this is a wonderful idea. It also teaches delayed gratification- hopefully :). It will be an interesting experiment to see how the kids handle it when all their sessions are up and it is still early in the week!! Do you think they will learn for the next week to spread them out?

ali said...

I can't wait to see how this pans out, I'd like to implement a system like that in our house.

We got stuck in a TV habit when I was pregnant with Axel and we still haven't found ourselves out of it yet...

Mandy-Joe-Chase-James said...

You are an amazing mom!! I learn from you every time I read your blog--we did decide a month ago that we were going to get rid of our cable and just get a netflix account so we could better control what our kids see on the TV and so it also limited what we would see--our cable shut off yesterday!?! I am a little worried about the withdrawls that I am sure will come from not only my boys but for me and Joe as well--but I just finally got fed up with the nasty commercials! So anyway this turned into a really long comment and all I really wanted to say is that I think you are an awsome mom!