Monday, December 04, 2006

Day One of Limited/No TV

My little one is already watching her one TV episode. I was going to save it for afternoon quiet time, but I needed to make a long phone call. Once again, TV offers the path of least resistance.

What do TV-free people do when they need their child to be quiet and not following them around the house going, "Can I have candy? Can I watch TV? Can I give the dog a treat?" and so on?

Most of the information you find about giving up TV talks about all the great things you and your children can do without it. What's missing is what your kids can do while you need to be doing something else.

One participant at the Berkeley Parent Forum said she considered parenting her job and only did laundry, bills and other work while her spouse was home. Okay. That's great if you want your child to learn that the only thing you have to do in life is tend to them and you don't care if the child never learns to entertain herself or do chores. But I live in the real world. So, I kept looking.

This article on was much more insightful and workable. The site also has a good list of options for limiting TV, so you can pick and choose what's most livable for your family. For instance, you might have a rule that there's no TV while the sun's out, which would encourage your children to play outside while limiting TV. Or you might want to set rules such as no TV until all homework is done or rooms are clean.

The Turn off TV Network - the people who do the TV-Free Week - offer tips for turning it off and tips for coping,which is exactly what I need, on the same page. I love the idea of keeping a withdrawal journal, since I absolutely do go through withdrawal.

My only question is about my Internet time. Am I replacing one bad habit with another?

I don't think so. I'm already blogging more, which means I'm writing more, which is my one of the reasons I'm turning off the TV in the first place.

According to the Turn Off TV Network, adults and children do not typically replace their TV time with computer time:
50% of adults spent 1-3 hours per week using their computer for recreation, 28% spent between 4 and 9 hours, and 7% spent over 10 hours per week. 15% did not use the computer at all for recreation. Eighty-four percent commented the computer had not taken over the role of TV in their home, 8% were not sure, and 8% felt it had. Though only 7% of children had a computer in their own room, 32% used Nintendo or computer games and 68% did not. Of those that played these games, 45% played from 1-3 hours per week, 35% played less than one hour, 9% 4-6 hours, 5% 7-9 hours, and 5% 10 hours or more.

You'll find many more interesting statistics on their website.

Now if they'd only help me with these withdrawal shakes...

It's 3:27 and I'm exhausted. This is my danger zone - when I'd normally resort to the TV. My child and her friend played while I scrapbooked and cleaned this afternoon. For some reason, I stood up to scrapbook and the cleaning was more like renovating - I'm scrapping up carpet remnants from our basement floor. So, I'm physically tired as well as mentally tapped. My daughter - who hasn't been sleeping well - is whining and tired, too. And we have many hours to go...

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