Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Goes On When The T.V. Doesn't

My parents rationed my television consumption when I was a child. I was allowed tiny bites. Very occasionally. I remember sitting all together on Thursday evenings and watching, The Cosby Show. Sesame Street was allowed on an occasional afternoon but it was quickly changed to Little House on the Prairie as soon as my older sisters dusty shoes crossed the threshold on their return from school. I don't remember ever watching Saturday morning cartoons. I don't remember missing it either.

I spent my childhood reading, listening to stories on record (yes, record) and playing outside. Hour upon hour was spent building forts (with running water and rather large fires), climbing trees with branches that hung precariously over the Sacramento River, riding bikes on the levee, playing on the tin roof of one of the many sheds near our house, and pretending to be Indians by hanging tobacco (green leaves of some sort) and animal skin (grapefruit peels) out to dry. I loved every moment growing up television deprived on acres of land. Don't get me wrong. On the occasional evening when my parents would go on a date and leave my oldest sister in charge we spent most of the night with our eyes glued to the television. We also made sure to turn it off at least 30 minutes before their expected return because the moment my mom got home she was sure to touch the back of the television set to see it if was hot from overuse. True story.

Fast forward 30 some years and I have to admit that my children watch much more television than their mother or father did in their youth. When Matt was young his family had a TV and VCR just for watching family movies. In recent months, Matt and I have taken great strides to limit the amount of television our kids consume. We are not a "no T.V. allowed" household but we have moved toward being an "occasional show when the kids have earned them" household. This movement comes because we know the benefits of rationing television. The biggest in our house being more pleasant children who really enjoy each other and have imaginations that are through the roof!

Here's the proof ...

A display of some sort.
Ping pong.
Taking a monkey for a bike ride.
More war.

The gang. Eating a pizza.
Protecting the gang from a monster.

The monster. Eating the gang.


Bird watching.

Bird watching and photo taking.

Pondering the little things.

Trapping animals.
He didn't stand a chance.

Dog trap.
Poor fool.

The monster attacking the kitchen.

"Helping" with dinner.

I have no idea.

Really helping with dinner.


  1. I've been working on this! Thank you for the encouragement! (it was out of control when Scarlet was tiny and almost born, and now it's the only way I can get him to sleep! argh!)

  2. I've found a few little talked about benefits of being a tv free house.
    One is children that are better behaved in town. I think that children who are overstimulated at home are not entertained by the stimulation in the store.
    The other benefit is kids who can be totally entertained by the occasional tv show. Sit them down in a doctor's office or a motel room, put on Dora, and they're a hundred percent happy.

  3. Tracey - Yes. When you have older siblings in a house television is SUCH a treasure during the end stages of pregnancy and the first few months of a babies life. Be gracious with yourself. YOu'll get there. And a bit of TV never hurt them. Unless of course a disney movie is spitting out profanities(that still CRACKS me up!!!)

    Heidi - So true! And I bet you never have to deal with your kids wanting things at the grocery store that NEVER would have caught their eye had they not seen it on an annoying commerical geared toward children! :)