This post was written as a PAIL monthly theme post.
I am way behind on writing this month’s theme post – it’s due TONIGHT. I’ve been out-of-town – on the road – parenting solo. I didn’t think my little road trip would impact this month’s post, but it has. You see, when you solo parent, some things just have to slide. Like your TV rules.
We were at my sister’s house north of Chicago – the sister with FOUR kids (3 of them being (just turned) 4, almost 2 (October), and 4 months). She is a great mom, and let’s face it, with 4 kids, you do what you have to do to stay sane. And one of the things she does is allow TV. This had me a bit worried before we went for our visit.
B and I do not watch TV. It’s not that we’re all weird and against it because it’s wrong or we think it makes us stupid – we just don’t watch it. We have other things to do (like hammer away on our computers). We used to record shows (maybe 3 shows) but then our DVR computer broke and we realized we didn’t miss it, and that was 4 years ago. We don’t have any premium channels because we don’t need them – because we don’t watch TV*.
This drives my parents insane.
I grew up in a TV-loving house. My parents have always had the TV on ever since we were young. We
sometimes almost always had the TV on during dinner (but hey – we ate dinner together every night as a family so I’m not passing judgment here – most families didn’t eat together like we did and we were lucky!). My parents have a TV in every room (and two in one of their rooms) and are proud of that. At any given time in my parents’ house, at least two TV’s are always on (and there are only 2 people living there), and many times, there are three TV’s on. The best part is that the majority of them are tuned in to Fox News (and I am passing judgement with that sentence. HA!).
B and I have made a conscious decision to limit Matthew’s exposure to TV. He does watch Law and Order with me. Or I should say, he plays in our room while I fold laundry and watch a re-run of Law and Order. I worry that one of his first words may be “perp.” HA HA! But beyond that, the boy does not watch TV. We refer to it as “the lighted box” when he does see the TV (at my parents’ house) but the truth is – he just doesn’t care about it. I figured it was because we were watching adult shows and nothing that would interest him.
So here I was at my sister’s where the TV is on a few times a day. And GASP – they let the kids watch Sponge B.ob. I wasn’t sure what to think of that but then I realized I didn’t need to think about it because Matthew didn’t pay it any attention. He was more interested in the glowing cable box than the huge TV with colors dancing all over the screen. I noticed that my sister’s kids didn’t care too much about it either. All the thought I’ve put into this whole TV thing, and my child does.not.even.care. Amazing!
We have decided that Matthew can watch TV, just not the commercialized stuff. Nature Channel, you bet. Sesa.me Stre.et (and yes, I know that’s highly commercialized), that’s fine. The Wig.gles, sure (because this kid loves to dance!). We just don’t want him watching mindless cartoons and things that provide no value at all.
I think this plan will work out because we just don’t watch TV ourselves. If we watched TV after he went to bed, then we could have a problem on our hands. However, we just don’t. We’d rather rent a movie or work on our computers (which is a whole other post).
And.. this plan will work out because we just cancelled our cable. We were paying for something neither of us used – and we are thrilled to be saving that money each month. (Poor?) Matthew will be down to just broadcast channels when he does start watching TV, which is just the way we like it!
* When B is out of town, or sometimes during the day, I will watch a re-run of Law and Order. I do, and always will, love that show (all varieties of it)!
August 23, 2012 at 2:58 am
I think your sister does it right – you do what you gotta do. I can’t imagine having 4 kids and not allowing them any TV time. I think we’d all go insane.
It’ll be interesting to see how Matthew reacts to the shows that you are going to introduce. Sofia generally ignores the TV when it’s on, but there is a channel here called BabyTV that catches her attention no matter what she’s doing at the time. I try not to put it on all that much because I don’t love the fact that she becomes entranced by the screen. However, as I said in my post, it DOES have a place, and for that channel the place is: 1) when I was so sick (and running to the bathroom every 5 minutes) and 2) when I’m cutting her nails. Haha. I admit, I also sometimes put it on because it is available in English and I think her hearing the typical English-language children’s songs.
I am pretty sure Matthew will be just fine growing up on non-cable channels. We didn’t have cable when I was growing up (I know, it was another time, but still) and I managed just fine. In fact my parents decided to get cable after I left for college because I went to Duke and they decided they wanted to get ESPN to be able to watch the basketball games. I was PISSED that I’d survived 18 years without cable and as soon as I left they got it! Haha.
August 23, 2012 at 10:45 am
GREAT idea on TV while cutting nails. I am going to do that next time!
It will be interesting to see how it goes. It really helps that we don’t have a TV in our living room – it’s just not an option for him during the day. There is a TV in the basement and I turn it on when we go down there – we just don’t go down there much (I don’t like basements).
We are looking at new cars for me and B is wanting it to have a DVD player. I find that interesting (not in a bad way). The thought is that we’ll let him watch nature videos on road trips…. that little theory will be interesting to watch unfold. I think we’ll be eating serious crow, to be honest.
August 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm
I actually think it’s not a bad idea to get the DVD. Road trips are a beast of a different nature. Stan and I are already planning to get an iPad before our trip to the States in November. Sofi will be 17 months and if an iPad is what it takes to get through 12 hours on the plane, then an iPad it shall be. I figure everything is so mixed up when traveling anyway, kids should be able to understand that it’s a special occasion. Just like sleeping in the same room is something different while on a trip.
August 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm
Very true – all great points!
When you come to the States, are you going to be in the Midwest at all?
August 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm
August 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm
Well…. plan on me inviting myself to my sister’s so I can meet you IRL 😉
August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm
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August 23, 2012 at 9:02 am
I wish I didn’t love TV so much, darn it! I’ve read that several people don’t have cable and are just fine without it, and I’m sure I could get there eventually, but I’m not there yet. Luckily Chloe doesn’t pay much attention to it when it’s on either, and we have made a concsious effort starting this week to turn it off when it’s just on for background noise. The only “cartoon” or kid show she has watched is Yo Gabba Gabba, and I have to admit she is pretty drawn to it. It’s been interesting to read how everyone feels about screen time.
August 23, 2012 at 10:42 am
I used to LOVE TV. And I still do love it when Matthew is napping. We don’t have a TV in the living room because I know that we (I) would have it on all the time if we had one in there. I do like background noise – a lot! And I love L&O, NCIS, CSI, etc…. I mean – LOVE THEM!
August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm
As a fellow L&O junkie, it was all that was on at 3 AM when I was breastfeeding or at least attempting that nightmare. It offered a little light and something for me to focus on to wake up enough to focus on my daughter.
As far as the DVD in the car? I have one, but it’s pointless because she’ll be facing backwards for 2 if not 3 years so she can’t see it anyway!
When you and nobabyruth come to Chicago, let me know…We could have a meet up!
Great post…good insight!
August 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm
Yes, let’s all meet in November!
Everyone seems to be giving me a free pass on the L&O re-runs. Funny!
August 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm
haha fox news comment! I agree, kids you do what you need to stay sane! Great post, thanks for sharing!
August 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Sersiously – Fox News drives me nuts. It was on at my sister’s every night and I just laughed at what they like to pass off as “news.” They were ranting about Rhianna talking to Oprah about being friends with her former abuser and what a bad influence that is on young kids. Seriously – that’s news? She’s an entertainer and the influences on kids should be their parents, family, and close friends – no Rhianna! Oh Fox News – I truly despise it!
August 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm
Grrrr. My totally awesome comment disappeared. WHODUNIT?
TOTALLY feel you on the L&O reruns. I would stay up until midnight watching those when I had to be up in five hours for work! The Mike/Lenny/Claire/Jack years were the BEST! Honestly, having something on while you are folding the 348346th load of diapers, isn’t the worst thing in the world. Especially since you are in the room interacting with him (I doubt *YOU* are silent…probably chattering away to M!) and he is playing with things. That’s not sitting around watching TV, IMHO.
I haven’t tried nature shows with HGB yet. Great idea! I watched Planet Earth over and over during the early days of 24/7 BFing, so I think it’s time to haul it out again. Especially now that he is starting to recognize animals. (They have cows in PE, right? Okay good!) 🙂
August 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm
I think it’s funny how I’ll stick around the house to watch the end of an episode I’ve already seen 6 times. It’s crazy, but I can’t help it!
My comments disappear too. I don’t get it.
I do chat with Matthew while L&O is on, but those chats are brief. 😉
August 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm
Sounds like you have a healthy view on TV. I wish I could get Ryan to cancel cable (it’s SO expensive) but he just can’t live without his sports channels! G watches no TV but that’s because of his low vision- honestly, I wish he could watch a little bit to give me a bit of a break sometimes!
August 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm
I wish Matthew watched more TV sometimes. I wish he had a little bit of a daily distraction. HA!
August 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm
Is it sad that what I picked out of this post to comment was LAW AND ORDER OMG I LOVE THAT SHOW. And yes, Stella’s first word will probably be “perp” as well. 🙂
I wish I could get my hubby to cancel TV. If wishes were horses…
August 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Well – I thought we had our cable cancelled but it’s not yet. We’re making sure our new DSL internet connection is fast enough. So I am still watching L&O. Cable will be cancelled this week… at least I hope so!
No shame in picking out L&O to comment on because it is effing awesome!