TV at our house...

Posted by  | Tuesday, May 25, 2010  at 2:59 PM  
I had to laugh when I saw the topic I would be writing about for my first post as a POH author, because I'm not going to be much help when it comes to kid shows -- we pretty much keep the TV off at our house when the girls are awake. I know that there are a lot of great educational shows available, but my husband and I simply decided that we didn't want the TV to be a focus at our house. Karis is three years old and has learned all the basics easily from books and puzzles.

Every now and then Karis will wake up from a nap on the weekends and find her Daddy watching a tennis match or basketball game, but after snuggling for a minute, she is usually asking him to read to her instead. I have, however, let her watch a Praise Baby or Cedarmont Kids music DVD on 2 different occasions when she was utterly sick and miserable and needed distraction. She absolutely LOVED both of them and I would gladly recommend them both. However, please keep in mind that we have only watched them once so I can't promise that they would not get annoying if watched in repetition :)

We have also on occasion let her watch a short, funny YouTube video about silly puppies or kittens or a familiar musical clip (like the Sound of Music train station clip). But once again, it is usually only when she is hurt and would benefit from a quick distraction or for short educational purposes. (For instance, when Karis first started soccer, the coach asked her to walk like a penguin and keep the ball between her feet. She had no concept of a penguin, so when we got home, I pulled up a quick You Tube video to show her.)

I don't want you to think that we are ridiculous about our no-TV policy because we really don't treat it as a big deal. If there is an historical event or a major sports game on, we will turn the TV on for a while. But it doesn't happen regularly and we usually don't just sit in front of the TV to watch it; we go about our normal routines and just catch what we can. And we definitely do not make a big deal about TV elsewhere. My girls see the TV on all the time at relatives' and friends' houses, restaurants, etc., and do fine with it.

I have to be honest and admit that because my girls have early bedtimes (Karlie, 6:00 and Karis, 7:00), my husband and I do enjoy watching TV in the evenings after they are asleep. We do not pay for cable but get a surprising number of channels through the free digital box. Once the girls are older and staying up later, however, I'm hoping that we will kick the habit and do family activities instead :)

So how long will we keep the TV off? To be honest, we haven't really set an age or a time. It is just one of those things that we will figure out as we go. I really doubt that we will ever get into the habit of watching regular shows with them. But as they get older, I think it will be beneficial to watch different things with them to discuss what they see and help them learn to evaluate media with a Biblical perspective. And I'm sure that in the future I will greatly utilize the educational aspects of DVD's and the internet.


KC said...

Meg, I am so curious to know what your day looks like. I have a 19 mo old son and I can't get anything done during the day without allowing him to watch some TV. I never wanted to allow this, but I really have a hard time finding things that keep his attention long enough for me to cook dinner or empty the dishwasher or send an email or....I try to involve him in most things I do, or wait until his nap, but I need some ideas! I really want to get him off of TV!

Meg said...

19 months is such a busy age and I know it is tough. I definitely struggle to get things done more with my 16 month old than my 3 year old because my eldest is quite content to do a puzzle or color and chat while I do things. Karlie, on the other hand, wants my attention and is especially fussy right before dinner!

I restrict myself to blogging and e-mail only during naps and after they go to bed. The times I've let myself try to do something on the computer while my girls are awake, I always end up frustrated and having to discipline them because they know I am distracted and try to get away with trouble :)

Dinner prep is always the toughest time of day. I have 2 strategies to get dinner done: either do it ahead of time (during naps or something I've fixed and frozen) or feed them something else while I cook dinner. They will often eat last night's leftovers while I fix a nice dinner for my husband and I to share.

I wish we could have a family dinner every night, but my husband usually gets home after they need to eat. Instead of enduring fussiness for another hour, I just go ahead and feed them. Then they are content to play around us while we eat together.

I also try to double and freeze everything I cook to save myself a night's cooking later on. That cuts down on dishes, too! (Keeping all my dishes done is the "seemingly impossible" task of life!)

My 16 month old still takes a short morning rest time, so a lot of times I will chop up veggies for dinner, brown my ground beef, throw something in the crockpot, or do dishes while she naps and my three year old colors at the kitchen table near me or helps me in the kitchen. That makes it a lot easier to get dinner ready later on in the afternoon.

I also try to get Karlie to do "table" activities while I do dishes, but that is a work in progress :) She will color for a little while, but then starts eating the crayons... or she will ply with beans or beads for a while and then start dumping them on the floor :) She loves the activities, but her attention span is just not there yet :) She does love to look at books, so that is one thing she does a lot of when I am in the kitchen.

Hope that gives you some ideas to work with... I know 19 months is a tough age to teach to play independently, especially at dinnertime!

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