Oh Television... Quite possibly the largest love/hate relationship I’ve ever had. It’s so difficult to resist the small black box that one simple push of a button can easily silence the whiniest of toddlers. What would we do without it? When I had my second baby my oldest was only one, and I used to say Baby Einstein was my only sanity. But, how much is too much? And, how do you make sure your children aren’t being overloaded by the tube?
The biggest “no-no” I try to avoid is just letting Nick Jr. run all morning. Except for illness, or one of those plain no-good-very-bad-days, our TV never just stays on a channel. I mean, is DVR not the worlds greatest invention? DVR gives you your child’s favorite TV shows at any given time, which allows you the 30 minutes of peace and quiet you were so desperate for. When that blue “delete or keep” screen pops up (followed by “Uh-oh, uh-oh Mommy”) you have two choices – turn the TV off, or choose Chuggington this time. Do I always turn the TV off the first go-around? No. But, you are forced to make a decision that gives you a level of consciousness on the total TV time you’ve had so far. How many episodes of Blue’s Clues have we watched? At least 1 too many... It’s easy to do this with DVD’s, or Netflix live stream as well. Give yourself a goal- Ok, today is a 2 show day. Or today I’m only going to let my kids watch 1 show, and stick to it. Even better, try having a no TV day. I’ve only actually accomplished this test a handful of times (when I do it, I make it a “No TV or computer day”), but each time I have, I finish the day feeling very accomplished and even better. I feel closer to my children. It’s amazing all the quality play time you can have together when you can’t lean on something else to “babysit” your kids. It will help show you just how wonderful life can be “unplugged.”
Think about what time of day you seem to always have the TV on- is it in the morning because you can’t function until 2 cups of coffee have been consumed? Or is it during dinner prep, when your kids are at their whiniest? Try making a plan to avoid having the TV on. Keep some toys separated that you pull out only at those times. Prepare an art project to keep your kids entertained while you cook dinner. Being prepared and using “backwards planning,” as my husband calls it, can make a world of difference and can keep you from popping in a movie out of desperation. The best thing I can do to avoid my kids watching too much TV is to stay busy. I know when we’re always on the go, my boys are being properly stimulated, getting fresh air, and exploring their world. If we’re in the house all day, chances are they’ll end up spending too much time just sitting and staring. Plus, as a bonus, when we get home my boys are always so happy to play with their toys they’ve missed all day, they stay entertained and happy.
The television definitely has it’s time and place in our homes- don’t let the mommy guilt get you. TV helps me recharge my batteries when they are low, and my children definitely benefit from that. The trick is just to keep if from taking over your life. With a little moderation, life stays in a balance and everyone stays happy!
By Guest Blogger Joanna at The Bragging Mommy