|Image Credit: Edwart Visser on Flickr|
I am ready to pull the plug. On TV, that is. It interferes with what could be a more productive and engaging life for both myself, Mr. G and Elliott.
The number of times I find Mr. G and myself sitting in front of the television each night when instead we could be doing something productive, or we could be having an engaging conversation, is starting to irritate me. When I’m sitting there watching TV, I know I should be doing something else, but after a busy day, I just can’t seem to move myself off the couch.
The same goes for Elliott, I’ll be honest in saying that he probably gets a little too much screen time and throws a tantrum when he is not allowed to watch it. That is our fault, we are the ones that need to be tough, we turn the TV on for him and it’s our decision not to.
I must admit though, the TV is rarely on through the day, only mornings and late afternoons and as parents we don’t sit and watch TV for long periods when Elliott can see, but I still think the amount of screen time he’s getting in the morning and afternoons is too much for my liking, time which can be much better spent.
There are times, however, when the TV is my friend. When I need to put dinner on and Elliott doesn’t feel like cooperating and isn’t happy to sit and play with his toys, I turn on the TV for 15 minutes to allow me to prepare dinner without a toddler pulling at my leg, pushing a chair over to the sink to turn on the tap and reaching for things on the bench. Have I told you that Peppa Pig is my saviour?
- Continue to be tough and not give in, it’s up to us as parents to turn the TV off and we decide when it goes on.
- Continue to set examples as parents; if we expect our son to watch less TV, we need to show him that we are doing the same.
- Start eating dinner at the dinner table without the TV on. My son eats dinner before us, and so my husband and I somehow got into the habit of eating dinner on the couch, in front of the TV. We miss out on valuable conversation doing this and I don’t want my son to grow up in a family that doesn’t eat at the dinner table, my husband and I both grew up in families that always ate at the dinner table and I remember the great conversations we had. There’s a lot to be missed in terms of family bonding when you don’t eat at the dinner table, and at this stage of our family, conversation is also very important for our relationship.
- I’m going to start setting limited viewing times. Although my son being 2 may not completely understand this, if I persist with it, he will gain an understanding of it as he grows older and when the TV is allowed to be on.
- I’m going to go to the TV guide and select specific programs that we would all like to watch and this is where the line is drawn. We so often get into the habit of just watching what’s on next and then find ourselves watching TV for the sake of it. But, there’ll be no passing on my faves Winners and Losers and Downton Abbey, they are my escape.
- To replace screen time for my son, I’m going to make an effort to ensure that I actually set up activities. I’ve found that simply asking him to go and play can be difficult because he has his mind set on watching a TV program, but if I can think ahead and set up a different activity that he wouldn’t think of himself, it may be a lot easier for both of us.
- Replace screen time with music. My son loves dancing and singing to the Wiggles (and I seem to wake up each morning with a different Wiggles song in my head), so finding music he enjoys seems to void his need for TV which makes me very happy. I’d much rather see him sing, dance and imitate sounds of animals than staring with a blank face at the box!
- If all else fails, I’m going to unplug the damn TV!
What methods have you used to limit screen time in your house?