Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The TV

I am rather laissez faire about the television.  We do not get actual TV reception, so when I say "TV," I'm really talking about movies.  I usually don't let the kids watch TV until after school (about 1 o'clock), but that is not always true.  Sometimes, the easiest way to keep the youngest from interrupting school is by putting on a some Elmo action, you know?  I have lots of tricks up my sleeve for accomplishing that, it just that TV is the easiest.  The rest of the TV watching is generally under the kids' own discretion.  I do have to say that, for the most part, it is not abused.

This goes to one of my most basic parenting philosophies:  let them choose for themselves as much as possible while you are there to give suggestions and provide protection.

For instance, I have always let the kids play freely during their play time.  I think I heard you just say, "Wow, so generous of you!"  You would think that was a common thing, but it's not!  I know people who do not let their kids climb the ladder to the slide.  Jumping from a high-ish platform is warned against and climbing trees is simply not allowed.  Children can not come into the kitchen because there is hot water there and knives and a stove.  I have to be there to give directions and to sometimes lay down the law, "No, you cannot use that huge knife to make a cardboard ship."  Usually, though, kids are smart--often, smarter than we give them credit.  I never want my children to be too timid to try something completely safe and fun.  The backyard is a great place to learn to listen to your body; when it is okay to push yourself and when your senses say, "Not this time."

This is obvious in a playground or kitchen scenario, but it goes for the dinner table, the entertainment we choose and the friends they pick as well.  Though I am not perfect at this, I try to provide good options and then try to let them choose.

Isn't that pattern we were given?

Anyway, for the last little while, the TV has been on too much.  When it gets to the point where the kids are whining because they would rather watch the boob tube than go outside on a beautiful autumn day, I know we need a respite.  On October 29th, I warned the family that I was going to be taking the TV away on November 1st.  On October 30th, one girl was yelling at another one because, "I want to go outside and you want to watch the stupid TV!  I'm sick of that thing!"  And on October 31st, they all decided it was time to get it out.  They unplugged all of the wires and put the DVD player in Dad's closet.  Getting into the spirit of things, I picked up the television and hauled it out to the garage.  Everyone cheered!  Given a little direction, they themselves chose to unplug.

A few minutes later, my oldest daughter came to me and said, "Mom, you have to see this."  I walked into the living room.  The girls had a card game spread out over the table where the TV used to sit.  I loved her recognizing this as much as I loved seeing the girls use their brains during play.

But, at the end of the month, we'll get it back.  After all, I like my movies, too!

1 comment:

  1. We're pretty much like this at our house- and I'm amazed at some of the things my children have learned from the shows they watch- good, educational things- you just have to be careful what they watch.

    Ironically, yesterday I needed the girls occupied for a bit so I told them they could watch a movie after lunch...they played better (and quieter)than they had for two days.