Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The monster in our living room

There's a monster in our house. It goes by many names. It turns small children and sometimes even grown men in to zombies. It sucks up every bit of productive time one might have and has no remorse. It puts silly ideas in to the heads of my kids and teaches them things to drive me crazy.

I've watched the monster grow. Heck, I even invited it in. I introduced it to my children and let it make friends with them. For a while, it was a welcome friend. But now it has overstayed its welcome by taking over our lives. And I'm grabbing my figurative sword and slaying this monster.

My friends, I am done with the TV. We in this house watch entirely too much of it. Especially the kids. We got into bad habits when Marc-Adam came along. And now, I'm just done.

I've tried to wean the kids off of it gradually. But it doesn't work. I tell them, "We're turning it off after this show." But then I realize that they really love the next show. So I let them watch it. And then when that show's over, I think, well it's lunchtime now, I might as well let them watch while I make lunch.

Before I know it, they've spent the majority of the day in front of the monster. And then when I actually do turn it off, they have no idea what to do with themselves and follow me around looking to me to entertain them.

So, we're going cold turkey. We started today. This morning, the TV was only turned on so that we could listen to our Dr. Seuss CD and some music on the DVD player. I warned Stephen several days ago about this. He cried then, but once he knew it was coming, it was no big deal. I was afraid of Zachary's reaction, though. This is a child who needs some time to wake up in the morning. He would crawl up on the couch with his morning cup of milk and wake up while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or perhaps a little Peep. It was a rude awakening this morning when I told him no TV. He cried (screamed, threw himself on the floor, etc) for about 5 minutes. I made breakfast earlier than usual and once we were at the table for breakfast, the TV was forgotten. They played all morning, we read lots of books, they helped with dishes and laundry. They're still looking to me for entertainment, but I think that will pass once we get used to this.

Stephen actually seems happier without the tube. He even said that we should do this again tomorrow. I don't think he got that this was going to be a permanent change. We might watch a movie here or there, but I don't want to turn on the satellite for them anymore because that is what sucks up the time. Once a movie is over, it's over.

This has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. So far. There's still time for a mutiny, I suppose.


LaughterThoughts said...

it is so easy to be consumed by the t.v... it's for that reason that we've never had cable or anything... just the bunny ears. :)

and i learned pretty early on that if the day started out with t.v.-- even just a 30-minute cartoon-- that the whole day was thrown out of whack with kids who were restless and ornery and unhappy. when we don't watch t.v., they use their imaginations and play and self-entertain and GO OUTSIDE. i save any t.v. time for the afternoon, and then i just put on a short video. t.v. time is a privilege and it can be lost-- and it has been MANY times. the t.v. is pretty much never on during the daytime. (unless, of course, it's saturday morning-- then the kids watch this old house with dad (and LOVE it)).

i wish you the very best with this. i think it will be wonderful for your family. once you get a handle on it, then you can slowly reintroduce it in moderation. it'll be an adjustment... and sometimes a difficult one.... but i think you'll feel very rewarded in the end!


chewymama said...

good job Alli - you rock! I cant wait to hear all about the amazing and creative things they come up with in the absence of the monster! :)

ksl said...

We had to do that after CreamPuff got settled in,too. Now they don't even ask for the TV that much. They ask to watch a movie every now and then and sometimes they act out or draw pictures of whatever it is they watched afterward. It was tough at first, but we got through it and you will too! Good luck!