Turning Off the TV

Many of us can relate to entertaining our children with the TV and computer more often than we’d like to admit. I know I sure can.

After sitting back and looking at my kids in a quiet moment, I realized that they were watching more TV than I felt comfortable with. I decided I needed to take action. I shut the TV off. I turned my cell phone off. I stopped putting away the dishes and I took my boys on a walk where we could hear the sounds of dogs barking, birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind and even tree frogs peeping. When we got home, we played in the house with nothing but our voices to fill the air.

Home Run

Home Run Warmers

“So where do I go from here?”,  I asked myself. I reluctantly declared “No more TV”. I decided it needed to be drastic, so we cut TV out of our lives during the daytime. While it seemed to be hard and almost painful for the kids to miss their favorite shows, it got much easier with time. We learned we liked this little experiment more than I ever dreamt.

Yes, I am busy. (I am also tired and pregnant.) And like most of you amazing ladies, I often struggle on how to get it all done. If I’m not at work, I’m doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning or doing other chores. The TV easily became my crutch. I hate to say it, but flicking on the TV was much easier for me than planning an activity, playing with the kids and then cleaning up the mess after playing. In the beginning, I had to continually remind myself not to turn on the TV. “Don’t do it . . . don’t do it!” Once I got through that, I realized I needed to change and get more involved. I had to stop being so busy just “doing”. I needed to shut off the TV, get off the computer and my cell phone and just play with my kids…instead of making them feel like there always needs to be noise, while they miss out on what’s going on under the fluff and babble on TV. I changed my mindset and decided they needed to be included more in our daily to-do list. Not only was this successful, but they loved helping out and I get the work done without my crutch!

I must admit that my kids are amazing at entertaining themselves, LOL! Honestly, I lost no time getting things done and my boys began to get bored with me and played on their own in much more healthy ways. They created their own world: an amazing world of imagination. I know kids do this all the time, but I never stopped to think about it. In the daze of our loud, seemingly always busy household, I had missed out on my sweet baby boys’ world: the deep and secret thoughts of their amazing, little minds, the beauty of their imagination and creativity.

The problem for us was when TV became the go to, using it when we really didn’t really “need” to. I can tell you, we do not miss it anymore. Do we keep the TV off all the time? No, I cannot say they never watch TV, but now I am so careful about the time they spend in front of the TV. It has become my personal mission to turn off our TV. I am trying to create more of these moments where my children hear nothing but their own thoughts, laughter and maybe a dog barking in the background.

Do you limit your children’s screen time? If so, has it been easy or difficult for you to cut or cut back on screen time from your family’s life?