Tell me about TV free children - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 05-03-2009, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have never had cable in our house, and we watch with rabbit ears, but get quite a few stations - namely TV Ontario which plays cartoons ALL DAY . My children don't really watch that much tv, but enough for me to think that if I remove it, there will be meltdowns. At one point we owned a Wii, but its been "broken" for the last 3 months

I am thinking that I want to remove the TV completely for the children. DP still likes to watch TV at night - so we are going to put it in our own bedroom (we all co-sleep in the children's room, and rarely make use of our bedroom, can't remember the lat time the kids went in there). He refuses to completely give the TV up , but we agreed that we don't want them watching it anymore. He only watches it late at night, usually when I the kids and I are sleeping.

So... how did you remove it? Cold turkey? How did the kids react? What has been the outcome for the children, positive/negative? How did family/friends react? Will TV be the 'forbidden fruit' and they will end up wanting it more than before?? Has it made for more family time?

I'm probably missing a lot of things I *should* be asking, but I have no idea where to start - I just know I don't want them watching it anymore.
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#2 of 7 Old 05-03-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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Cold turkey is what I think works best. It may take a week, it may take a little longer but it won't be long before your children move on and stop really thinking about it.

How old are your kids? Depending on their ages, you might want to have some conversations about what you are doing and why. But you probably don't want to ask for their permission or understanding. Just don't make it punitive (not that it sounds like you are) in the "we've all turned into much brains bucause of that darn tv, etc." Just focus on the postivie--all the fun things we'll do this spring, etc....

AS for what non-tv kids are like---well, I would have to say that my kids spend a lot more time arguing with each other than tv-watchng kids do. There must be something in the water here or something because my normally great kids are cranky little beass this week. So, I guess I'd have to say non-tv kids are imperfect and very, very normal.

However, my kids are very talkative, creative, artistic, engaged and interesting and interested people. They are very busy with their own things, and read a lot and are very self directed much of the time.

Do they get all slack jaw when they do get access to tv or movies? Yes, for a bit, but they never get crazy, crazy about it. For example, at my mothers a month or so ago they watched tv one rainy afternoon when I went out with old highschool friends. When I came back I was a little peaved that they had sacked out in front of the tube but I kept my thoughts to myself (only my mother regularly volunteers to watch all 4 of my kids, though she usually comes to me so the tv isn't an issue). But the older two had drifted away after the first hour or so and found some old legos to play with. My 5 yo and 2 yos did watch for about 2 hours. O well.

They never asked for it in the days that followed, though my oldest boy did ask if we would ever get a tv. WE had an interesting conversation about it, and he basically said he doesn't really miss it but that he likes watching baseball better than listening on the radio.

So I really don't tv is a powerful forbidden fruit for my kids. If anything, they pretty much see it for what it is--a distraction from more interesting things to do.

I think overall it is one of the best things I've done for my kids and myself. We read together everynight for an hour---everything from picture books to classic novesl to science textbooks and the newspaper. We also play a lot of music, dance, do art, and hang out.

One thing I would suggest is getting the kids invovled when you are cooking and cleaning. They can make messes faster than I can clean them, and the tv is often a temptation when people want to make dinner or get the house clean. If they are helping you or keeping you company while you work they can't be tearing up the house, which is very very good.

Good luck!

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#3 of 7 Old 05-04-2009, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your response

My kids are 5 & 3 and generally don't watch that much tv as it is. I explained to them that the TV was going away, because "like we have to eat healthy foods to keep our bodies healthy, we need to do things to keep our brains healthy". DS is bright, and understood, although he told me that "everyone has a tv". DD so far, hass understood, but she is still very impressionable, and takes anything I say as fact...lol So far there have been no fusses over it, although I'm sure they are looming on the horizon

I've also given them some more positive things to look forward to... namely two brand new art easels that we are going to put where the tv used to be.

I will definately take your advice on engaging them in cooking and cleaning - even with the tv they made messes faster than I could clean

Thanks so much for your input, I'm definately looking forward to this, and I feel that this is one of the best things that I can do (personally) for my children.
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#4 of 7 Old 05-07-2009, 02:00 AM
 
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we've never done TV for our 4 1/2 yo, and don't plan on it for the new baby (1 week old). He knows other people have TV, and has certainly seen it at other peoples' houses. I don't think its a big "forbidden fruit" though it periodically comes up and he is sort of obsessed with "The Snowman" which we let him watch once with a friend. I've told him when he is 7 we can discuss getting some movies and having a "movie night" once a week. I don't know.

Like the PP said, he's certainly not a perfect child. But he's busy all the time and never seems to have a spare hour (or 3, or whatever is "normal") to watch TV. I do think it has meant that he has to learn how to be pretty self-directed and entertain himself when I do things (he usually gets the choice to help me or do an independent game or "work").

Other people think its weird and some people are really a bit hostile about it. Some people also think we are lying/exaggerating. I don't mention it unless it specifically comes up. I don't actually think that many people know about it in our social circle (except at DS's waldorf school, but thats different because we're all supposed to be screen-media-free there). I don't think it comes up all that much between my son and peers, and he is well aware of many of the popular media characters just through social interaction with other kids (we also don't buy him any toys/clothes/accessories with licensed characters, though a couple manage to slip into our home anyway).

dissertating mom to three

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#5 of 7 Old 05-08-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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DD has always been TV-free, and I honestly cannot imagine having a TV with a kid. Her creative play is very different that other kiddos in that it's not based on characters she has seen. I've asked her if she feels left out when kids start playing "princesses" or whatever, and she says she doesn't. She's the type of kid who just moves to something else if she doesn't like or understand what kids are doing.

She's seen TV at friends' houses, and we always talk about it afterwards. I ask her what she thinks. We talk about advertising. We talk about cartoons, puppets, pretend, etc. Frankly, I think she has a fairly advanced understanding about some of these issues because we talk about them and try to help her understand our reasoning.

I've told her that as she gets older, it's going to be her choice to make whether she wants to watch things at friends' houses, etc. But, really, she doesn't seem that interested in it at all. She would much rather be doing any of 100 other things.

Truthfully, I think she gets very frustrated with her friends when they just want to watch TV when she is with them. It's just not something that she finds particularly interesting.

Holli
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#6 of 7 Old 05-08-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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I had another thought to share.

In some ways my kids are different from other kids. They are much more child-like than some of the other kids I encounter. The seem younger than their years by today's standards.

One funny story: we were in the library this summer and a child my then 8 yo knew from swimming was there, too. He and DS were standing in front of the dvd display and talking about movies. DS had seen one or two of the science dvds and talked about them, but then pulled out a Bob the Builder movie and said, "Have you ever seen this guy? He's awesome!" The other guy didn't say anything--bless his polite little heart--he just pulled out a Harry Potter movie and they talked about that(my son hadn't seen it but had read the first book and so could converse just fine.)

My kids are just very into games, and stories and playing and art and reading. We've gotten into some emotionally complicated books and conversations about real world issues, but they still retain a real and deep innocence. I love that.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#7 of 7 Old 05-21-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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They are much more child-like than some of the other kids I encounter. The seem younger than their years by today's standards.
We notice this too. I really like it, because I think kids grow up too fast these days, but sometimes I wonder if it will be an issue as she gets older.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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