...stepping over a screaming Little Eco, hid it in the spare room. That was three days ago and the television has remained unplugged (except for right now as Daddy Eco has snuck it out to watch some sport thing).
We’ve lived without a TV before, and despite Daddy Eco and I agreeing that our home is a calmer more loving and creative space without it...it invariably comes out after a few weeks and creeps its way back into our life. Little Eco loves watching TV...and I don’t mind her watching a little. We try and limit it to the recommended less than one hour per day (for her age group), but if we let her she would sit there for hours. She wakes up and wants to watch TV. She comes home from pre-school and wants to watch TV. She has a bath and then wants to watch TV. It’s automatic. I know she’d much prefer to be playing, painting, drawing, or cooking…but she automatically goes for the television first.
We recognised that she needed a little help to wean her of her TV dependence. We felt guilty for relying on it to entertain distract her when we wanted to get things done and we could see that it was robbing her of valuable imaginative play. Watching Consuming Kids and Where do the Children Play only reinforced that change was needed. I’ve also started to notice the lovely manners and tenderness of the few children I know who are growing up without a television.
So we’ve been planning to move the television from our lounge room into the study. It will be there if we really want to watch something…but it won’t hold centre stage of our family area any more. We’ve been planning the move for weeks. Building up to it. Seeking out hints for how to minimise TV time. Talking about ‘when we...’. In other words, we’ve been procrastinating... dreading...
Then on Monday Little Eco woke and started watching TV. We were busy and had things to do, so let her have breakfast in front of it. Before I knew it, it was 9am...nearly Playschool time. It's her favourite show, and as far as kids shows go, its one of my preferred – so there I left her for a little longer. Come 10am, I tried to dress her and get her ready for a Playschool concert she’d been excitedly anticipating for months and months. A real life Playschool concert and all she wanted to do was stare at the screen! It was like she was hypnotised. My struggles to dress her, and her determination to watch the TV, resulted in a temper tantrum...from both of us!. So back to the title of this post ‘I unplugged and picked up the TV and stepping over a screaming Little Eco, hid it in the spare room’. I was honestly surprised by the horror in her face when she realised what I was doing. She banged and banged on the spare room door begging for the TV to be bought back out. I felt horrible...horrible for doing something that bothered her so much...and horribly guilty that we’d let it get to this point.
The space where our TV was…now free for some weekly strewing.
So the Television is staying away for a few weeks. It won’t ever return to our lounge room and it will one day settle into the study. We’ve also extended the ban to all ‘screens’ by restricting our computer time till after Little Eco has gone to bed.
Up until tonight, Little Eco has been regularly asking for the TV to be returned. But moments later she’s lost in some wonderful imaginative play or happily helping us with a chore or asking for us to join her in a jigsaw or board game.
Going TV free hasn’t been as hard as we thought and we’ve already seen an increase in communication and creativity in our home. Returning home from preschool today she didn't even ask for the TV. She instead fed her dolls, played, and danced and danced.
We’re forever struggling to maintain a calm connected home...despite being a busy working family....and I think putting the TV in its place was the best change we’ve made so far.
Anyone else banished the TV from their living area? Or living TV free?