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turning off the tv

March 10, 2010

This may seem like a crazy question, but what activities do you do when you stay home with your kids and don’t allow them to watch shows? Now that I still have one napper, I usually allow my older son to watch shows while the other is sleeping (and I then get time to clean the kitchen, clean up from the morning, and oh! blog).  This has always worked for me, but recenty I  find that after he watches a show, he still wants more shows and more technology, etc until I get so annoyed that I contemplate no more tv ever!  (and sometimes I say that and then back out of it, which is really terrible parenting) I am not sure that I can/want to completely unplug but I am hoping you can share some ideas with me of what things you do REGULARLY that your kids (and you) enjoy. I have this naive vision of my boys happily playing with all their toys and never wanting the television on again, but… we’ll take it one step at a time.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarit Weissman permalink
    March 10, 2010 8:43 pm

    You’re not alone, Suz! After seeing my 5 year young daughter become extra spacey after watching even a little T.V. I decided to cut it out as much as possible. I then heard Peter Walsh (on Oprah) refer to putting a child in front of the T.V. as “self parenting”. That was hard to hear, but oh so true. I now involve the girls (5 & 3) in activities that I need to accomplish while my little guy sleeps. If I need to pay bills, I sit them down at their table give them paper or blank cards to make letters for Daddy, Grammie etc. and lists-i.e. paperwork. They also do many more chores! I get them involved in things I need to do around the house such as finding the socks and match them up while I fold the rest of the laundry-they get a penny for each pair. We also just do general clean up/chores during that time. They seem to have a better sense of responsibility for THEIR clothes and toys now. On other days, the Polly Anna Mom side of me sets them up with a real canvas and paints and we all paint together. That way I get some time in for my hobby and they get to explore their creativity. We also take that time to read, paint nails, prep for dinner and just play together…and on those days the house remains very “lived in”.

  2. heather permalink
    March 11, 2010 1:03 am

    It’s funny that you write this now because it’s “turn off TV” week here and Tom and I always comment on how great the kids are during this one week of the year. It really makes you think about all that research about the affects of watching too much TV. We try to do board games. My kids also like cleaning; imagine that! But I’m always trying to get stuff done too, so it’s not always possible to join in with them. But I find as time goes on, they ask less about the TV and eventually forget about it. My kids are not as “plugged in” as most, just because I’m not, as you know. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. They do learn things from shows, I just think time limits are important and need to be consistent. Science”experiments” are big in our house. These basically consist of dropping things in water and seeing what happens. I recently purchased this product that looks like little dust, but add water and it’s instant snow . . hours of entertainment.

  3. March 11, 2010 8:44 am

    Baden likes cleaning, too, so we do chores a lot and he gets some change for his piggy bank…then he loves counting it out:) One of our favorite things to do together is do set-ups with Playmobil. It’s one of Baden’s favorite toys but I have to admit that I like it too so it keeps us both busy. And, finally, puzzles!! We’ll make it into a big contest to see how many he can do in twenty mintues and I set the timer. He loves it!

  4. Ali permalink
    March 11, 2010 1:49 pm

    Thank you for this post. This has been my daily dilemna lately with Connor only napping every once in a while. (Fingers crossed . . . I think he’s sleeping now) But the days he’s up and Paige is sleeping, I end up turning the tv on and saying “One more show” too many times. I think its a matter of managing the things I have to get done so that I am not relying so desperately on having that time in the afternoon. And what does that mean?? Rising at 4am and going to bed at midnight??

    We do have success with some specific toys/projects that are off-limits to Paige (age-wise). So we pull out his tabletop sandbox or paints and he knows its his special time to play with big-kid toys. And he always appreciates the chance to sit and read with me uninterrupted.

  5. Kristen Lueking permalink
    March 11, 2010 2:46 pm

    We found ourselves struggling with this issue, too; my oldest (4) developed a lot more interest in T.V. last year when we moved to a cold climate with a long indoor period. I wasn’t prepared with a plan to regulate it, so I found that I had to get really strategic about my days. Lexie does love cleaning and chores, so I assigned her a few daily tasks and planned out my chores to better involve her in them. She does lots of “helping” while the baby sleeps. We also have a list of family and friends to whom we mail art projects. For everyone’s birthday and for all holidays, we send drawings, cards, etc. I have a stash of simple cards and a ton of craft supplies; Lexie decorates at the bar while I put together supper, etc. Then we address them and walk them to the mailbox together. This keeps her amazingly busy, as there seems to be something to celebrate all the time! We also do lots of easy cooking projects. My mother-in-law gave us Kids in the Kitchen cookbook by the Gooseberry Patch. We make something out of it every week – very kid-friendly, easy and fun. I also subscribed to a couple of good kids’ activity magazines (Disney Princess is the favorite); she loves getting mail, and they are full of fun games and puzzles. I give her about 1/2 hour each day on my laptop, as well; she loves games from the educational websites, as well as Disney. These things have supplemented our usual fun at home (Play-Doh, board games, etc.). I try to be more purposeful about T.V. now; we plan to watch a specific show or movie, make a snack for it, and if I can, I get under the blanket and watch with her. 🙂

  6. Amy permalink
    March 12, 2010 6:52 pm

    Great post topic!

    I think our keeping TV from H for his first two years has made it the forbidden fruit–he is absolutely obsessed with the idea of watching TV! I do hear myself saying, “If TV becomes that important, we’re going to have to stop watching it at all.” He backs off of talking about it so much for a while, but the passion is still there. 🙂

    I do think it’s a treat and sometimes a great time-buyer, but like you all, I’m always looking for other alternatives. We try to do lots of crafts at the craft table–like Kristen, we make lots of cards and send to friends and relatives in colored envelopes from a craft store, which Henry puts stickers and draws pictures on the fronts of. We cook together, make tents out of sheets, do preschool letter/number workbooks, maze books, read together tons, and play “aminals” a lot. We’ve been playing “big boy school” and practicing letters (of course he wants to watch Letter Factory nonstop as part of this too–and he really is learning from it).

    I have a book called Unplugged Play but…ahem…haven’t opened it much so far:

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