Recently Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary put together a very well written post about unplugging, being tv free. I read it and remembered the TV free few weeks we spent last winter as a TV detox for our oldest child Fynn. It went better than we expected. We put the TV in the closet and it was an out of sight out of mind situation. Fynn never mentioned the missing mind sucking device. It was going well, until we all got sick with colds one week. Then out of desperation (mostly on my part) the TV came back as a babysitter for the toddler while I tried to simultaneously take care of myself, the toddler, and nurse an infant with a stuffed up nose.
And then it was all over.
You see, like Heather, moderation is not my strong point – especially when it comes to the TV.
In her post, Heather mentioned The Case for Make Believe, by Susan Linn. After catching wind of that book, I promptly hopped on the waiting list at the library and waited my turn. It came sooner than I expected, and I devoured the Linn’s words. I highly recommend it, but I’ll warn you, as I read I kicked myself for taking away chances for my kids to enhance their imaginations and their emotional growth by giving unhealthy doses of TV every day… It’s heavy, and some parts seem extreme, but it’s good stuff. I promise.
So, since reading Heather’s post, and Linn’s book, it had been on my mind. The need to be free of it.
The thing Fynn asked for the moment he woke up, “I watch a wittle bit of TV mommy?” The minute his sister would go down for a nap “our quiet time Mommy! TV Mommy!” Since when does TV = quiet? And the kicker of it all? We don’t even have cable.
Something had to be done.
We mentioned in passing to my blonde haired little boy that the TV might have to go into the shop for a bit. He didn’t really say much. And I must add, I have not mentioned Paige yet because, bless her, she could care less about TV. It could vanish altogether from the face of the earth and she’d be none the wiser.
After the kids went to bed one night we snuck the TV into my closet, and covered it in blankets in case a certain sleuth found his way to our hiding place. Instantly I felt calm. Then overwhelmed with the though of how I was going to survive, being the parent at home with the kids all. day. long. every. day. Panic set in. Fynn’s quiet time had been my time to do my thing. Email, use time sucking networking sites that will remain nameless…
In any case, the first morning came, and after the initial shock of the TV being missing I heard things like “I want my TV!” and “I miss my TV!” Apparently this time it would stay in his mind.
But we made it through the day. More got accomplished (by all!) than usual, and we listened to more music, danced, read more books. It was really nice. However, when I mentioned his father’s upcoming arrival from work I was told matter of factly “Daddy bring my TV home.” Sorry baby, not tonight.
Day two brought with it a panicked bright eyed boy. “Where’s my TV? Where’s my TV?” was heard as he ran through every room of our two bedroom apartment, about ten times. Searching hysterically, the prior days success seemed hard to repeat.
Day three was a little easier, though he still longed for his TV. But that day he was happy to sit on the couch, stare at the vacancy left by the electronic babysitter, and pretended to watch one of his shows. I won’t even tell you for how long. But still, no whining.
Day four the only mention was that he wanted to watch a movie, but then he quickly moved on to something more interesting.
Day five came without so much as a hint about TV, movies, or anything else electronic for that matter. And so it continued.
We now have a week of being TV free under our belt. And I know we did the right thing. The other day Fynn had us all pretend we were at the beach. He took off all of his clothes (because apparently that’s what you do when you go to the beach…) Then Lucas helped both kids jump over huge waves and build sand castles. All in our living room.
We love it so much that we’re actually going to get rid of our TV (this was NOT my original plan, nor was it my idea. It was ALL the husbands – so don’t go saying I’m some kind of crazy wife who’s depriving her husband… little do the kids know we can watch TV on the lap top… shhhhh!!!!)
It’s a whole new world. It’s not for everyone, but for us, it makes us more connected as a family. Imaginations are running wild and giggles have filled the void left by TV signals. We spend more time just being with each other, and exploring our creative and quiet sides. And if we feel the need to be crazy, all we have to do is put on our sunglasses, pop in some tunes, and stroll to our living room to enjoy the view.