What? No TV? Are you kidding? That was pretty much the conversation in our house the first time I introduced the idea to my kids (and husband) that we turn the TV off for the summer. They were fairly young (my kids), probably 3rd & 5th grade at the time. Nickelodeon and Disney were very popular channels in our house at that point. And, for my husband and I, sports and Food Network were regular viewing.
I knew this idea wouldn’t be popular, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Honestly, I can’t even remember what all my reasons were for wanting to turn the TV off. But, I do know, it was a great decision!
I would imagine this whole notion seems pretty radical. And well, that’s probably true!
Why NO TV
Here’s why I wanted to turn the TV off:
TV seemed to be ruling our schedule!
I was not interested in having kids who didn’t know how to entertain themselves! When TV rules the schedule, imagination and creativity are stomped out. That wasn’t something I wanted for my kids!
Attitude Adjustment Time
To be frank, I wasn’t thrilled with how my kids were acting. Even after just a couple of shows, I could see the difference! They were acting kinda bratty. I was definitely NOT interested in living with that all summer!!
Have you ever noticed how TV shows portray parents? Or, for that matter, have you noticed how TV children respond to TV parents? Or to their siblings? I absolutely hated the way most of the kids’ shows portrayed parents. The parents were almost always clueless or overly dramatic. The children in the shows did not have any respect for the parents or the house rules! And, the way the siblings acted toward each other – no thanks!! These were not what I value or want my kids thinking is ok!
What I was really looking for those first couple of years that we did this was getting my kids to read more! And, when you take the TV out of the picture, books become way more interesting!
What Happened with NO TV
So, we did it! And let me tell you how it went. Initially, pretty horribly! But then, it was ok. And then after a little more time, it was great!
The first few days were pretty miserable. My kids didn’t know what to do with themselves or with each other. They drove me crazy, expecting me to be their entertainer. So, I made a new rule, anytime they came to me and said they were bored – they were assigned a cleaning chore. It didn’t take long for them to figure out I wasn’t going to be their source of entertainment. And, for a little while, I had a clean house 🙂
So, here’s the results of it all and why you might want to try and turn your TV off:
- My kids did figure out how to entertain themselves and to play with each other again, although I think arguing has become a sport for them.
- They were much nicer to each other! All of a sudden, they were a partner versus just an annoying sibling!
- They used their imagination A LOT. I’ve had comments from teachers throughout their school careers commenting on that!
- Their attention spans lengthened. Television shows and video games are notorious for shortening attention spans (not just in kids). Getting them off the TV and playing with each other and reading books really went a long way to lengthen their attention spans!
- And, they READ a lot!
Bottom line, it worked for us!
As Kids Get Older
As you can see, for us anyway, it was well worth the effort of taking away the television for the summer! It is worth the frustration of the first week to get to the “good stuff.” But, as my kids have gotten older, other electronic devices have come into the picture. Between the iPhones, iPads, and Kindles, there’s a lot to have to deal with now! Last summer, the way we addressed all electronics was 1 minute of reading = 1 minute of one electronic device. They definitely did a lot of reading, but they were still on their devices. I’m not sure if it’s realistic to get them off completely, but we’ll see. I’m not sure how we’ll address it all this summer. But, we will definitely say NO TV and turn the TV off!
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think you could do this? Why or why not? I’d love to hear!
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