The topic for my first blog on my new website had been on my mind when I paid a visit to my cousin Sarah and her boys, ages 5 and 7. After spending the afternoon with them, I knew I had found my topic.
Sarah lives in a TV free house. (Okay, her husband, also a professor like Sarah, wrote a book about the effects of television viewing on children and how to make it work for your family.) But here’s the thing of it, those little boys don’t miss it, and they don’t ask for it. What was more remarkable to me was how well the boys are able to entertain themselves. The whole time I was there, they were busy in their playroom. Yes, there was a small episode of tattling and maybe even an argument or two. But neither Sarah nor Fred got involved, and whatever it was passed quickly. The boys really played together. No computer, no TV, no Wii…just plain, old fashioned play.
I am sure there are days when Sarah would love to have an electronic babysitter, but that isn’t an option in their house. They have learned to play together because that’s how they entertain themselves. Do you think TV is robbing some children of the chance to learn to get along?
Susan Willard says
Hi. I really enjoyed reading this blog. My husband and I have been committed to raising our son (now 22 months) with no tv in our house too. My husband even went as far as taking the tv out of our bedroom. Although it is challenging at times, being a stay-at-home mom, i am proud of the fact that we are doing this and spending quality time together.
Monica Christie says
We’ve always kept the TV exposure for our kids at a bare minimum, because I’m not sure what they see when I walk out of the room. It’s always been DVDs, not satellite, and I’d fast-forward through the previews.
Still, each day my kids nagged for their TV time, and I also noticed that whenever the TV got turned off, no matter how long it was on, they exhibited a sense of dissatisfaction afterwards–a little moody; a little bratty.
Then we got a new TV and speakers. It kept breaking down. It took over six months for us to figure out that the problem wasn’t that we couldn’t read directions, but rather a faulty component.
But within that six months, our kids had stopped asking for TV.
Besides the fact that they have become such good playmates, and so imaginative, and NICE, I’ve made one other huge discovery. Even 20 minutes of TV a day turns kids into TV nags. “Can I watch TV, pleeeasssee..” On and on!
But NO TV frees a child to stop trying, to stop nagging, and get on with their creative play. So my strategy is now either NO TV or TV only on one weekend day at a specific time. And yes, my house is a mess and it’s worth it.