Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including you.
We have been TV free for just over 1 month.
One morning Trent sprung out of bed and then returned, I had no idea what he had done until we walked out to the living area & LuLu went to switch the TV on like she does every morning & Trent said "Oh looks like the TV is broken, see the red light is gone". She said "Oh" & seemed a little bit disappointed but just shrugged it off & went off to her playroom to play.
And that was that.
It was off & it hasn't come back on.
Well, to be honest Trent & I do occasionally watch a movie & we were watching Hart Of Dixie at night, but our Stan (similar to Netflix) subscription has ended so we are no longer watching that. But there is zero TV for LuLu and it is never on while she's awake.
When Trent has been on night shift, instead of sitting down in front of the TV at night I have been reading, which I love but I use to feel like I didn't have time for, but clearly I do - TV was just consuming my free time.
For myself I have noticed I am much more productive & Trent and I spend more time talking to each other - well, I do the talking (lol). Watching TV as a couple makes you feel like you are spending time together, but really you aren't. You are just sitting side by side, not connecting. We are also getting more sleep because we are going to bed earlier (every bit of sleep counts when you are a parent!)
LuLu hasn't seemed to mind at all, which makes me very happy & proud.
Her creativity & imagination has kicked back into gear. She is playing with her toys more, like all of her toys! And drawing more, she is happy to go off in the morning and sit at her drawing table and colour.
After talking about ditching the TV for awhile I am glad Trent took the initiative to do it, it has been a positive decision for our family.
So why did we do this?
In short, I think too much for TV for kids is not beneficial. I have thought this forever and up until about midway through last year LuLu hardly watched TV - she did watch it but not a great deal. But then I got sick.
Trent still had to work, I was weak, pregnant & sick - so I let her watch TV to occupy herself. I was stuck on the lounge a lot of the time, so it was an easy fix when I was too unwell to really do anything else. But then we got too comfortable with TV and it was on regularly throughout our day & the more I sat around & was able to focus on the kids shows and realise how rubbish most of them were, the more I wanted her to stop watching it all together. Many of the characters on kids shows are rude & naughty & I could see my sweet girl picking up silly phrases from these animated brats! I have no idea what these shows are meant to teach kids - but I couldn't see them doing any good for my child. (Peppa, Lola etc I am looking at you!!)
(The shows I don't mind are the Wiggles & Playschool.)
Since the TV shut off I noticed pretty much instantly LuLu's attention span increased greatly, she was focusing on more activities and doing lots more imaginative play & for longer periods of time & independently. She can go into her playroom and stay there for around 1 hour just playing and making up little scenarios with her toys. She happily entertains herself when I am busy cleaning or feeding Tommy (I do regularly sit down to read or play for a short while in the playroom with her - but I feel it is important for kids to be left alone to be "bored" - this is where their imaginations take off, so I do make myself busy during the day so she has some alone time - but I do love occasionally hiding behind the door frame listening to her play pretend, it is so funny & sweet hearing what she comes up with!)
When TV was apart of our lives - her big toy room that is full of almost every type of toy you can imagine went unplayed with regularly and that frustrated me! Now she loves to colour & draw more & we also have started doing little learning work books in our spare time. LuLu has always loved to read but now we read even more books and she has memorised even more of them & can almost memorise a book after me reading it just one time. She also happily eats at the table with us now instead of wanting to eat in front of the TV, like she wants to sit with us & chat!
Shutting the TV off has been a positive step in our lives and I don't see us switching it on anytime soon. During the day we do have an American country music station playing, we regularly have spontaneous dance parties & LuLu loves trying to sing along to the songs!
We may start letting her watch the occasional movie as a treat in the future but for now we are enjoying it being off. I highly doubt ABC2 will be allowed back on, I would prefer to buy a PlaySchool or Wiggles DVD then allow the nonsense that is often on that channel back in our house.
So why do I feel TV is so bad?
In short, I believe it kills the imagination & attention span of children. TV can cause children to become irritable & angry, it can negatively effect their behaviour and sleep, shut off cognitive learning & can cause kids to lack creativity. I've seen some of this in my own child. When we were at the height of TV watching she rarely wanted to entertain herself or play with her toys, especially on her own. But thankfully since turning it off I have seen a remarkable change in her. And I do feel she is going to bed a lot easier at night. She plays hard during the days & by 5:45pm/6pm she's ready to lay down in bed and is asleep not long after.
Limiting screen time in kids can decrease the likelihood of a range of childhood problems ranging from obesity to attention span issues.
(I haven't mentioned LuLu's fitness or outdoor time increasing at all because she has always been an active kid who would gladly pick outside over TV. But not all kids are the same - so in some children limiting TV time could improve their fitness/health levels by them becoming more interested in outside time.)
I also should mention we don't do any form of "screen time" for LuLu. We don't own an iPad or tablet, if she is touching our phones it is only to hand it to us. Very rarely she may play with the calculator on Trent's phone, she likes to count the numbers & she does enjoy the snapchat filters on my phone. So TV was the only screen we had to deal with.
Now I realise this decision isn't for everyone and no judgement to those who have the TV on - every family is different and what is right for us maybe wrong for you & vice versa. This however is a positive choice for our family and I thought by writing this post it may encourage another family to give this a go if they were on the fence about switching off.
- A tip if you do want to switch the TV off, is turn it off at the standby button or even at the wall, do this especially if you have a clever toddler who clues onto things very well. We didn't want to make turning the TV off to be a punishment for no real reason, so saying it was "broken" worked for us. That way we can bring it back if we wish & she doesn't have bad feelings towards the situation.
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