We're starting a new project around here! Can you guess what it is?
Okay, now you have a tiny clue. Care to guess again?
That's right! As of two days ago (Sunday), our family is - at least temporarily - TV-free.
I am so excited about this!
DH and I have been slowly approaching this decision for months (years), but this past weekend we were finally ready to give it a go. The TV was turned off on Sunday, and has not been on since then. It's wonderful!
Of course, the 7yo doesn't think so. (The 4yo and the 1yo don't care.) There has been quite a bit in the way of complaining around here, but we are forging ahead and doing our best to let him know that this is non-negotiable.
It would have been much easier had we made this decision years ago, of course, but we'll just have to deal with the fall-out.
We actually didn't watch a ton of TV around here anyway - half an hour a day for the 7yo, about 15 minutes per night for DH and myself during our night-time alone time, and a family movie night. That's it.
But unfortunately, we have - for years upon years - noticed that TV has had an obvious negative affect on our eldest's behavior, and that is the main reason behind this decision. Something had to give.
It started when I was pregnant (and very sick) with our second-born - the TV was our rescue agent. At that time it was mainly "Thomas the Tank Engine," and I immediately noticed negative attitudes and behaviors stemming from that.
As a side note, I am still convinced that "Thomas the Tank Engine" is sheer evil (speaking somewhat humorously - no hate mail, please!). I know it's a beloved children's classic, and I'm actually quite fond of it, but in five years of children's television, I have not met its match for teaching bad attitudes and unkind language. I recently snuck all of our Thomas DVD's into the Goodwill box, and they will never enter this home again. (Unless they're broken into tiny pieces and we're making mosaics with them.)
Lately, with the addition of "adventure"-type films, we've noticed even worse manifestations. Not only can kids not tell fantasy from reality, but any violence that they see is magnified ten times in their behavior and conversation.
Not. Good. At. All.
And so, of course, the obvious conclusion is this: We're actively pouring things into our children's heads that teach them bad attitudes, bad language, bad behavior, bad habits... and then banging our heads against the wall in frustration over how to get rid of the same.
And enough is enough.
We do not know if this change will be permanent. After our TV-free break, we may or may not add back in tiny amounts of violence-free TV, violence-free computer games, or family movie nights. We really don't know. Right now DH and I are enjoying it so much that we tend to foresee a permanently TV-free future. I hope so. But for now, we're feeling it out and seeing how it goes (and trying to deal with a 7yo who is convinced that we are big meanies).
But it's wonderful, nevertheless.
And we've already noticed positive changes - in our 7yo and in our family culture at large. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us in this new adventure.
Anyone else out there in the same situation? How did it go for you?
Because I do tend to pre-write all of my entries, this entry was actually written about a month ago, so we've been TV-free now for at least four weeks.
Both DH and I have only one thing to say: We wish we'd done this a lot sooner.
And we don't foresee going back.
Of course, we'll reevaluate after more time has passed, but we've seen such positive results in our family and in our children that we can't imagine going back to the way things were before. We are both thrilled with the great results, and we both want to keep going.
Note: This entry is meant to share our adventure, not to make anyone feel judged! Truly! If carefully-controlled television is a part of your family, that's fine. It's up to each family to decide. I'd encourage anyone to try the TV-free life if it is desired, but this article is not meant to make anyone feel badly.
Have a great night, everyone!