There’s a new rule in our house: TV only on the weekend. Before River started school, each day around noon I would put Sol in bed for a nap and River was allowed to watch ‘a show’. A show was either a DVD or programs on ABC2 (a commercial free station dedicated to programs for preschool aged children).
Depending on the length of Sol’s nap, River spent between one and two hours a day in front of the screen. Multiply that by 7 days and he was watching around 14 hours of television per week. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with this but it was the only block of time during the day I had to work, make phonecalls, return emails etc; The part I felt ok with was that the content he was watching was not commercial or violent or aggressive. The part I didn’t feel ok with is that I felt too lazy to change a pattern we had fallen into.
I have a few friends who don’t have a television in their house and their children spend their time being creative or playing outside. Because there isn’t television in the house there isn’t the option to watch it. For those of us living with a television, limiting the viewing time is the task.
I didn’t announce to River the change in viewing hours I just made the decision, confirmed it with Pete that was our new plan. When River came home from school and asked ‘Can I watch a show?’ I said, ‘No. You can watch a show on the weekend but not during the week.’ He asked why and I explained there are plenty of other things to do besides watch TV. River didn’t protest (phew!); he just got on with playing.
Even for us adults turning on the teev and zoning out can be relaxing, but overall I think watching television makes people lazy - body, mind and soul!
What do you think? Do you have a TV? How much does your family watch?