Mamas of TV Free Children Rollcall - Mothering Forums
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TV-Free > Mamas of TV Free Children Rollcall
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 03:19 PM 09-26-2004
Sohj suggested I start a tribe many moons ago and I've finally decided to. I hope there are more than just two or three of us! :LOL

Please come check in!

MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 04:15 AM 09-27-2004
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 04:27 AM 09-27-2004
We are in! It feels great to know that my kids spend their day actively playing instead of passively viewing TV. Great tribe idea.
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 04:34 AM 09-27-2004
Farmer Mama, I was pretty sure you were another one!

Well, once Sohj gets here the rollcall will be complete. All three of us! :LOL

I feel the same way you do. I love watching my kids explore and expand their minds and their imagination. Everything comes from within them. It's never an idea that some producer put there for them, kwim? I also love that they *never* get bored. I've never once heard them say that word. They're used to being inventive. I love having TV free kids.

I'm glad you're here Farmer Mama.
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 04:48 AM 09-27-2004
How did you guess?
My kids have never said they were bored either. It is amazing the things they come up with.
KellyandKatie's Avatar KellyandKatie 07:02 AM 09-27-2004
My Katie is just turning one, but she has never, and will never watch TV if I had it my way. However my DH was raised differantly, his TV was never off growing up. His dad took all his meals in front of teh TV (how sad) and then he was a batchlor in the Navy with tons of money and no family, so when we got married, he had all teh latest gadgets and a HUGE TV and entertainment system. I was raised that to wacth TV while the sun was shining was a waste. (My dad lost his bother in childhood and had a serious deal about us kids using teh gift of life and not wasting time ) ANYWAY! So my gadget loving hubby, watches lots of TV, I can honestly say I hate it- it gives me a headache(I never learned to tune it out), and since I was never desensatised to murder and violence like he was it is honestly upsetting to me to watch TV.
So we came to an agreement, no TV on till after dinner is doen and dishes are cleared away and we have had our evening walk. This is usually around seven, our Katies bedtime, so he gets to watch TV while I put her to sleep. So far it is better, but it is a big argument as it is right in the middle of our 'family room' and not what I think a family should revolve around at all...
Can you guys tell I needed to vent this?
I dont complain to anyoen else about this one becuase I dont know anyone who feels like I do about TV except my folks- we had movie nights growing up once a month- musicals or documentaries only. I enjoy those. So I am sorry to rant about this here, I just really really get upset about DH watching so much TV in all his free time! I dont understand it at all! And have you heard what the new show CSI is all about?? Don't even get me started on that?!
The other postive on DH is he agrees with all the evidense I have shown him on teh effects of Tv on kids, and he strongly agrees that Katie has no reason to watch TV, so that is good.
Okay! That was a rant- I wonder if that is what a rollcall was ment for, I doubt it... sorry wrong place to post this!
Thanks for listening!
Kelly S
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 08:44 AM 09-27-2004
Any room for semi-tv families in here? maybe families in "tv transition"?

We have a tv, but we also have rules - no tv during daylight hours, 'mindful' tv watching only (meaning, watch when you want to see a particular show, do not just turn it on and watch whatever is on). Also, I don't want dd to realize children's programming exists for a looong time, if ever.

At the moment, we watch about 3 shows a week and dvds. So, yes, the tv is on everyday. I would love to get rid of it altogether, but I love movies. I am a movie addict, as is dh. We belong to netflix, and they ahve such great docu.s, independent films etc. I think the movies we get are usually quality films that engage the brain, so I don't really feel guilty about watching them. (TV shows, otoh, are junk imo.)

Anyone in my position? Eager to give up the TV but not wanting to stop watching dvds? (fwiw, we do watch the dvds after dd is in bed or while she naps.)
wednesday's Avatar wednesday 08:45 AM 09-27-2004
We are TV-free in our home, for all the usual reasons. We want DS to be active, we worry about the links between TV-viewing and obesity and ADHD, and the commercialism/marketing is something we want to keep out of our home.

I wouldn't say that DS will "never" see TV because unfortunately there is one at his daycare where they sometimes watch videos, and also when we visit his grandparents they always have the TV on--always on the golf channel, though, it's so boring DS doesn't even look at it! :LOL

I wouldn't rule out that one day we might have movie nights like Kelly describes, but daily television viewing does not fit our family's values. We got so tired of seeing our big TV take up space in our living room that we gave it to DH's sister.
sohj's Avatar sohj 11:18 AM 09-27-2004

: : : : : : : : : : : :
earthyerin's Avatar earthyerin 01:46 PM 09-27-2004
sorry to hear about the TV conflict w/you and your SO. that stinks! I know it all too well around here!! I grew up w/a TV practically growing out of my right ear and find it very difficult to tune it out when in it's presence ('they' infiltrated my brain early on!) Therefore from my 16 year old independence on I have insisted on no TV in my home. however my husband is a BIG FAN! I wasn't aware that he requested a TV as well as DVD player for holiday gifts last year... I need to vent too I suppose! This is my home as well so the only way I agree (I literally told him it would negatively affect our relationship to have this ugly beast out in our living room!) to have the TV here would be 1: no cable hookup. you want the news, listen to NPR or Pacifica Radio. those images have no place in our life! 2: keep it in the closet, bring it out for movie time.
you know your hubby better than anybody! maybe you can sweetly ask him to understand your point of view. if it's downtime he deisires maybe cards with you or a puzzle (toocheesy? -hope not. we're not into 'em but thoght it may be a good suggestion...?) may work.
good luck!!!!!!!!!!!
Harper's Avatar Harper 01:53 PM 09-27-2004
My dd is almost 20 months old and is TV free. I know this will probably get harder as she gets older but I am pretty committed to making sure TV is not a part of her life. Plus my dh hates TV so he won't be a problem. I love the questions "not even the educational stuff?" Well why--can't I teach her her letters and colors. I don't need big bird to do it for me!

I like to watch some TV but not often and never until after dd goes to sleep and the tv is in a spare room, not in our daily living space.
Misti's Avatar Misti 02:37 PM 09-27-2004
I have been television free for most of my adult life, which meant that my older kids were TV free (at my house, at least -- I know they watched at my exes house) until they were almost adults.

I still don't have a TV, so Jack has been television free for 16 months, except for the occasional interlude in a waiting room or at a friend's house -- but at 16 months and younger, i don't think he's *watched* it -- just been exposed to it.

We have no plans to change anything -- though I am radically against Jack spending time where he'll be expected to watch TV, and my husband is far more moderate, figuring that occasional exposure at friends' houses won't hurt him. (I don't want that consumerism and those violent images in his mind at all!)
bensjen's Avatar bensjen 03:27 PM 09-27-2004
We're TV-free for going on four months and loving it!
DS is only 6 months and doesn't know any different.
It's good for me-- I stare at a TV like a zombie!
DH doesn't care, as long as he has a computer!
Curious's Avatar Curious 12:27 AM 09-28-2004
3 years old and no television!!!!

I am a soap opera addict from way back. Not much other television but all through school and work I hate to admit, I taped them. It's amazing I've lived any life at all! I nursed Dd through low supply issues, while I watched hours of soaps. One day she turned her bright little eyes toward the television and they glazed over. I told Dh get rid of it!

Dh even asks IL's to turn off theirs if we are visiting. Personally I think this is above and beyond, as long as they keep it on something nonviolent. Not that I mind, because Dd will soak up advertising slogans, and even more because when MIL is in front of the television, she ignores Dd. They play much more when the awful box is off.
Drewsmom's Avatar Drewsmom 12:52 AM 09-28-2004
Glad you started the thread, I wish it had been around 3 years ago. I was trying to keep my ds tv free and then had some relatives who somehow convinced me that educational tv watching was good for small children....SO dumb!

After ds#2 was born ds#1 has been a major tv addict. Maybe I'll start the "want to be tv free thread." I go occasional periods of time without the tv, never had one in college..never missed it. In fact i had no idea what Seinfeld was until 1998. I lived in a foreign country for 18 months inbetween college years and saw no tv there so I missed out on the whole "Friends", "Seinfeld" sitcoms until recently. Unplugged the tv when pregnant but put it back on when 8 months pregnant and with a newborn/infant...trying to cut back on it again.

I worry most about what tv leads to as mentioned here the inactivity, zombie like thinking, commercialism and desensitization to violence, immorality, etc. It's been a battle trying to help ds#1 rediscover the joys of blocks, puzzles, etc.

Our biggest pitfall is when I put ds#1 to sleep, it's like Pavlov's dog, ds#1 turns on the tv. He hates to be alone and I think that the noise of the tv comforts him. Any ideas?
Annoia's Avatar Annoia 01:17 AM 09-28-2004
TV free for about 4 months! We love it!
ShannonCC's Avatar ShannonCC 01:21 AM 09-28-2004
TV-free for 4 months now. May 17th I unplugged the thing and covered it with a curtain. The kids whined for 2 weeks and then got over it. We were total tv junkies before that. I think that tv in moderation is ok, but we couldn't do moderation! It was like handing an alcoholic a 6 pack and asking them to just drink one. I'm happier now

I'm not saying we'll never have tv again. I just REALLY don't think it's good when they are so little. I felt ashamed when I turned it off and realized how obsessed my 2 year old had become with Blue's Clues :

The kids have watched some at other people's houses since then but as long as it's not available at home I don't freak.
geogirl's Avatar geogirl 02:16 AM 09-28-2004
We have been tv free since the beginning of April. IT is great. My oldest was starting to watch way too much so we nixed that. He likes to listen to stories on tape and music but I feel that it is not as bad a staring blankly at a screen... Dh and I still rent a dvd now and then and bring the TV out for that, but that is it.

boatbaby's Avatar boatbaby 11:45 AM 09-28-2004
My ds is only 3 months old, but we plan on keeping him TV-free for as long as possible. The irony is --


Crazy eh? I think that's why I can't stand watching TV. My dh likes the boob tube, but after reading the book "Endangered Minds" he agrees to go TV free for the baby.
I was raised TV free (until my parents couldn't control it anymore) Funny thing is, one brother became super student and is now a doctor. My other brother and I are both TV Producers! From a career point, it was a creative outlet for me and a chance to travel the world (before ds was born) on somebody else's dime.
But as someone who spent many years working in "children's educational television" let me be the first to tell you THERE IS NO SUCH THING!!! It's all c**p! If you want to educate your kids, spend time with them and read and book or go somewhere - right?
I am preaching to the choir, I know.
Great thread! Glad to see the tribe growing!

love2all's Avatar love2all 01:59 PM 09-28-2004
Another no tv family here.
Never had one never will,
my kids have seen tv at hotels when travelling and it is a nice treat for them- a way for me to get them to behave in the car!! A little bribe I guess......

Just yesterday I got a telemarketer calling about tvs- he asked how many i had in my house and when I said ZERO he said well, what do you do in your spare time?
OMG spare time? I have three kids that I am trying to raise in this less than ideal world- trying to help them become all they can be despite the way things are. well, we play together, read books, listen to npr and its shows, cook, laugh, walk, hike, craft, manymany things to do. I could not believe this guy was for real...
peace all
cuqui's Avatar cuqui 05:03 PM 09-28-2004
TV free children for over 3 years now. My kids attend a Waldorf school where they have a 'No Media' Policy. I have to say this is one of the main reasons we chose Waldorf and probably one of the reasons we may hang around even though I have other major issues with Waldorf at the moment. DH & I watch DVDs occasionally after the kids are in bed. I ask friends & family to turn off tv when we arrive, they don't we leave. I know thats harsh and extreme but I don't really care for my kids singing a Micky Dees jingle or repeating some rubbish they heard on some tv program for 'kids'.

Many many evening go by and the TV (which is locked up in an armiore) does not get turned on, DH & I would rather read, chat or knit. My parents keep their tv on all the time, so we don't visit, they come here and have to live w/o it.

DH didn't get much TV growing up (outside US) so he doesn't even know who ET or Lions and Tigers and bears oh my is or where it comes from and he could care less.

I can't stand radio either, too much chatter, hate that background noise. I like to get my news on the computer, when I want to and what I want to read about.

I tell my kids stories, read books do puppet shows, knit, walk, play, hike, etc.

I honestly don't know when I would ever have the time before 9pm to watch tv, between kids and household chores :
mystic~mama's Avatar mystic~mama 06:42 PM 09-28-2004
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey
Any room for semi-tv families in here? maybe families in "tv transition"?

We have a tv, but we also have rules - no tv during daylight hours, 'mindful' tv watching only (meaning, watch when you want to see a particular show, do not just turn it on and watch whatever is on). Also, I don't want dd to realize children's programming exists for a looong time, if ever.

At the moment, we watch about 3 shows a week and dvds. So, yes, the tv is on everyday. I would love to get rid of it altogether, but I love movies. I am a movie addict, as is dh. We belong to netflix, and they ahve such great docu.s, independent films etc. I think the movies we get are usually quality films that engage the brain, so I don't really feel guilty about watching them. (TV shows, otoh, are junk imo.)

Anyone in my position? Eager to give up the TV but not wanting to stop watching dvds? (fwiw, we do watch the dvds after dd is in bed or while she naps.)
the title of this thread interested me, so I popped in, we have been on again off again with the t.v and have come to a happy medium of "mindful" as you put it, tv viewing, I dont believe it is all bad or detrimental for a child to watch some tv...I dont know if there is "room" here for you or I but I do know I am there with you mama

A question,

Many of you said your kids never get bored and I found that interesting, are any of your children only children? Because my dd doesnt get bored either but she does get lonsome playing by herself and needs someone (me usually) to play with and the reality is that sometimes we both need for her to kick back and watch sesame street or a dvd for both our sakes...when her daddy is home (military) it is muuuuch easier to keep the tv viewing to very little or none if we chose...anyway I'm rambling...its awesome that you all "killed your tv's" btw
MamaAllNatural's Avatar MamaAllNatural 07:34 PM 09-28-2004
Boatbaby, keep on preachin'!

I'm loving all the responses. I do have a question for everyone. How do you deal with going to other's homes who watch TV? I see a lot of you say you just try not to go. This is what I do too but it is so frustrating. It baffles me that people can't turn it off for one hour while we visit? I don't get it. It's *that* important and necessary? Isn't the point of visiting with people to visit with them?

Originally Posted by rainys~mama
I dont believe it is all bad or detrimental for a child to watch some tv
I do and I'm looking for other mothers who feel the same the way and have "TV Free" children.
boatbaby's Avatar boatbaby 07:49 PM 09-28-2004
I have the same question as MamaAllNatural. Since our ds is only 3 months old, I am wondering about what we do at other people's homes. Especially in the winter time when people tend to be more inside and snugged up to the TV. How have others with older TV free kids asked friends/ neighbors to turn off the tube when you're around without being offensive?
I find I am already getting weird looks when I ask people to turn it off or they see me turn him away so his eyes don't catch the screen.

noranorth's Avatar noranorth 08:21 PM 09-28-2004
We are TV-free but do some videos with the kids. Keeping the TV off is not a problem as we live in a remote area that doesn't get TV coverage. We had been wanting to throw it out for years, and the move here made that easy. We watch movies after the kids go to bed and occassionally let them watch a kids movie (usually blues clues). But, the visiting relatives has been a problem for us too. I am amazed at how often at family gatherings, adults will put in a video to "keep the kids quiet" and most times we find the choices inappropriate for the age of our children (6 and 2). We've found it really hard to leave like some have suggested. Especially since we have usually driven all day to visit during the holidays, we have no where else to go. We've tried to keep our kids from watching the movies, but that is difficult as it means trying to find other "kid space" at their house to hang out in. We've also tried explaining to the other parents that the material is inappropriate for our kids, but that doesn't seem to make them inclined to turn it off, as it is such a convenient babysitter. The best solution we have hit upon is to compromise and bring videos or DVDs that we are willing to let our kids watch and put those in instead. At least then we can have some say over what is being shown. I find it sad that when we go places, our 6 yr old son brings several board games to play with the other kids, but is often turned down because the other kids would rather watch a movie.

edited to add this:
BoatBaby, I just had a thought for you. When our kids were younger I told people that I was following the American Academy of Pediatricians advice that children under the age of 2 should not watch any television whatsoever, as it affected their brain development. (this is true) It seemed to work well when the kids are younger but not as well now that our kids are over that age.
sohj's Avatar sohj 08:21 PM 09-28-2004
Hi everyone!

Finally taking some time to talk on this thread.

Yeah, the going over to some else's house can be an issue. Fortunately, very, very few people I spend lots of time with have the TV on a lot.

Most I know only have it on for a movie...and then we all agree about it.

Frankly, I don't work very hard to keep him from it if we are out of our house. ( I explained it about half way through this very long post on a thread where I grumbled a lot. ) If he points at one and says something, I just respond very factually and very literally. I have been told that my answers are "over his head" ; but, I figure that that is how we learn. I'm not going to dumb it down. So, when he saw someone watching Wheel of Fortune, and said something about it, I said that is a game being played by people far away for money. And he looked for a minute longer, shrugged and walked away to try and take stuff off the dining table and make a mess. :nana:

If he goes for the remote (and what kid doesn't love buttons?), then it is removed because I told him it turns on the TV and we aren't watching the TV.

I'm pretty lucky that I grew up in a family that really didn't watch a lot. When I went to visit my aunt and uncle in August, my uncle was watching a lot of TV (this is something that has happened to him in the last few years, a lot of us have been worried about it, especially as he watches all those "fear" programs like Law and Order). My cousin and I were outside fussing with something in the garden and he went over to the satellite dish and started leaning on it, covering it up. :LOL He said he wanted to see how long it took his dad to get out of the barca lounger and come outside to investigate. (I told him that at 50-something, he should have grown up by now. But I laughed, too.)

On the other hand, I know that TV gets watched a lot in my husband's family, but they are in So. Cal. and I don't go there much. We'll deal with that when we have to.

I don't see my pixie ever bored, that I know of. But, let's think about "bored".

What is so bad about boredom? The way I look at it, boredom leads to creativity. Some think that it automatically leads to the most "negative" creativity -- that stuff that is naughty or troublemaking. Yeah, I'm sure that is true. But, again, I think it is a matter of perspective.

I remember in Minnesota one summer's day many years ago >>>>she gets a dreamy expression on her face<<<<< when I and some friends decided to build a cannon out of a tennis ball can. (OK, I'm dating myself here. Yes, once upon a time, tennis balls came in actual cans, made of metal. They even had metal lids that went pssssssst when you snapped them back.) So, we drilled a hole in the side near the bottom, put in a few drops of gasoline from an eyedropper , loaded an old tennis ball in from the top, braced it against a small earth-berm, and put a match to the touch-hole.

KA-----BLOOEY! That ball went a long way.

And we proceeded to do that for the rest of the afternoon.

Well, none of us got hurt.

And, seriously, I think we were really lucky.

But, I learned a lot from that. I learned first-hand stuff about expanding gasses. Thermodynamics in action. (I did really well in that class in college.)

Anyhow, most of the time, my creativity was far more benign. D&D, painting, figuring out new versions of tag and follow the leader. Reading books. Climbing trees. Taking my nickle and getting on the 3 Jackson bus (in San Francisco) and going downtown and going to an exhibit of Ansel Adams or to a library or bookstore or photo equipment store.

Taking a Super 8 movie camera and some playdoh and making snakes out of balls that when all the frames were run at normal speed kept morphing into other ball-snakes and towers and trees.

Or I went to the Mechanics' Institute and up to the 4th floor and played chess (badly) against friendly grown-ups who had dreams of playing Kasparov. (Boy, I must have really wasted their time. )

And I was an only child.

There, was that long and OT enough?

cuqui's Avatar cuqui 08:22 PM 09-28-2004
I suggest very nicely that we turn off the tv b/c it's distracting & I'd really like to focus on our conversation. If they refuse, I say I have to go. Most people who know me know where I stand with TV, so the suggestion usually gets the tv turned off. If they kids are watching tv, I ask them to go play outside, weather permitting, otherwise I ask them to leave the playroom if the tv is staying on, if that doesn't work we promptly leave. Their cousins are big tv watchers, in every room and in the playroom, my girls tell them they refuse to watch rubbish tv so play or we will leave.

I don't think ANY tv is okay for kids. I could go on and on with the reasons but I don't think this thread is to convince 'TV free' kid's parents, so I won't.
Videos and DVDs, even 'educational' ones are TV in my book. My kids are media free, that means no video games or computer.
noranorth's Avatar noranorth 08:29 PM 09-28-2004
cuqui -- I would be really interested in your thoughts about no computer and no video games. We are struggling with that. I don't want to hijack the thread tho. PM me if you want.
farmer mama's Avatar farmer mama 08:44 PM 09-28-2004
In response to rainy's mom, I have two kids. They spend a lot of time playing together, and my dd needs some alone time to draw, paint, write, etc so in those times my ds sometimes wants more of my attention, so we read, play outside, but most of the time he is just happy to be involved in whatever myself or especially what my husband is working on.

Sohj- I hear what you are saying about boredom being a window to creativity. I think a lot of children feel bored and turn on the TV, but many TV free kids use it as an way to come up with new, exciting ideas, or just to have quiet time. So that is what I mean by never being bored; they just come up with creative things to do and do not have a need to be entertained.

As far as TV exposure in other people's homes... this is usually only an issue at the grandparent's home, and they respect our desire to limit media exposure. If we are at a party and someone puts on a video for the kids (this has happened once), I just go in and offer to read to the kids, play outside, etc. It is up to them in that situation; I am not going to force them away from the other kids, but so far I can come up with some fun ideas to keep everyone occupied without videos.
sohj's Avatar sohj 08:54 PM 09-28-2004
Originally Posted by rainys~mama
...have come to a happy medium of "mindful" as you put it, tv viewing, ...
But, if you look at the evidence Marie Winn presents in The Plug-In Drug, you might come to agree with many here that the very nature of the medium makes "mindfulness" especially hard to keep while watching.

The brain wave state changes. And not to an alert level.
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