I've recently been asked to blog over at nurture-natural parenting magazine! What an honor! I went through and read some posts from other bloggers to see what they were talking about. I found one called "Two weeks TV free".
I've been pretty uneasy with the amount of TV Butterfly has been watching of late. So I decided to have a TV free day to see how we went.
I was dreading the day, I thought I wouldn't be able to get anything done and that it would be a
VERY long day!
I don't know what I expected to happen, but I was absolutely astounded at the results!
Lately I've been feeling so disconnected with parenthood, I hated playing and would avoid it at all costs. I'd always have an excuse not to have to play. Butterfly and I were clashing a lot, I had actually yelled at her a few times. We were both snappy and cranky.
The TV would be on ALL day. Some kids have the TV on but barely watch it. Butterfly is not one of those kids. I'd ask her if she wanted to come outside while I hung clothes... She would choose to stay in and watch TV. I'd ask her if she wanted to help me water the garden... She would choose to stay inside and watch TV. Anytime I'd be doing chores, she would watch TV. In between chores I'd sit next to her on the couch, but since Mike the Knight does nothing for me, I'd pick up my iPhone and browse the net. Anytime she asked me a question I'd have to ask her to repeat it because I'd been reading. If she did ask me to play, it was always 'in a minute' while I finished typing something. It sucked!
Just by turning the TV off... ALL of our problems seemed to resolve themselves! At first Butterfly was all 'where's the remote?' but soon we were engaged in play and she stopped asking. I found that, for the first time in ages, I actually enjoyed playing! We played board games, read books, read her Bindi magazine together and started using her Starter Stiles! She got the hang of it really quickly and loves sitting down to do it together. She learnt so much in one day! We talked more, laughed more and hugged more. She engaged herself in the chores I was doing, helping me clean windows and make lunch. It was nice to eat without the TV on!
The best part was, we didn't clash once!
I couldn't believe how easy the day was. I wish I'd known that pretty much all our issues could have been solved just by turning off the TV (and by extension, also staying off my iphone)! I'd read all the studies about TV rotting kids brains etc, I hadn't realised that it rotted relationships as well. We had become so used to using the TV to get things done. Butterfly has no siblings so I felt I needed the TV to provide stimulation for her.
As a family, I think we will always watch TV. It can be relaxing and fun, and Butterfly has learnt a lot from certain shows. Bindi the Jungle girl especially has expanded her world and taught her about respecting animals.
However we will be imposing some restrictions. I didn't want to be 'that family'... But I've tried letting Butterfly regulate her own TV time and it hasn't worked. I need the TV off for my own mental health, I seemed to be the person benefitting the most (which always benefits Butterfly as well!)
We will allow TV in the afternoons, occasionally movies on especially hot or rainy days, and Butterfly has a DVD player in the car for long trips.
This adventure has been about finding our family's healthy balance.
The TV is on right now, and I'm on my iPad, but when Butterfly asked me to play a board game I was careful not to say 'in a minute'. I put down the blog, I turned off the TV and we played. Today hasn't been as easy as the first day, I've changed herbal supplements and am really tired and hubby is on overtime. So the TV went on earlier today, and we did go to Maccas for ice cream to kill some time!
They may be baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction :)