I am going to preface this post with saying that I have zero idea what the right amount of TV, or “screen time” is for young children. But, for my family, for us, I know we were crossing a threshold of too much TV time, that is, before we quit.
We developed some bad habits over the summer. Our summer was long, 13 weeks long. Our summer was full of some HUGE family transitions that included a new home, and a newly working mom. At the beginning of summer, I was all “yes lets do everything today!” By the end of summer, I was a newly working exhausted mom, and the summer camps had ended, and our friends were slowly returning to school, and the TV was so easy to turn on. I mean, they knew how to work the Apple remote, and I could control what they watched from my computer!! Easy, “free”, and TV requires very little effort on the grownup human part.
The tiny humans began developing a dependency on TV as entertainment, not as a way to relax or unwind. After the first week of school, I could sense the desperation, “can I watch a show, now?” “Can I watch a show after dinner?” Or the worst, “when can I watch a show, can I watch a movie before bed?” I was referring TV, like candy at Halloween. Really, that is crap.
So, after a day of particularly poor choices, I took it away, and much to everyone’s surprise, I took TV away indefinitely. We went five days without TV, and do you know what, it was fine. I was not more stressed out, I did not feel more burdened; TV was simply no longer an option for entertainment. The term “go play” became a requirement.
After our five days, we decided (with the tiny humans) that TV on school days just didn’t work. There was always too much rushing around to make time for TV, and honestly not enough down time. It is true that TV was ruining our down time.
We are beginning week two of no TV on school days. Today was a little rough, after a weekend of some TV time, there was a bit of longing for our familiar routine. However, it was a gorgeous New England Fall evening, and a bike ride was had instead of TV.
I have no idea how long we will be able to limit TV time to this extent. But for now, no TV on school days is working. It is working for us. And regardless of how long it lasts, a reset on our priorities is refreshing.