no more

this sweet picture is of my kids…
watching tv.
not quite as cute now, huh?

i used to be pretty regular on letting my kids watch one video each day. but i’ve become lazier and the habit has grown stronger in my kids, and they are watching movies multiple times a day. its just become too easy. they are happy (or comatose) and i can get stuff done. but no more.

we took the tv out of the playroom yesterday and it will stay out all summer (hopefully). we’ll reassess in a few months if it will come back in.

what are your tv rules? do you even have tv in your house? is it just not an issue for you?



  1. 1
    Team Martins says:

    We addressed this issue right when we got married… my hubbie feared it would be too hard for us if we got cable or such… self-control about not vegging completely out b/c of our draining jobs when we finally did get home together.

    Because I hadn't really struggled with that kind of self control, I pitched a bit of a fit (no HGTV, no TLC… what?!) And he, usually a real compromiser type, absolutely did not want a tv in the bedroom. Anyway…


    Now, that we have two kiddos, when he gets home in the evenings… by the time there's been dinner and playtime with each other and bedtime stuff… there's just not time! We hardly even think about turning it on and enjoy occassional dvd's on the laptop… it feels like something extra fun when we do!

    So, that has translated to our kids I think… my oldest recent received a bunch of kiddy videos from an aunt and we pick up good ones at the Goodwill… but I notice once we watch one, she's clamoring for another and another. That has made me limit it to one every once in a while on our one shared tv downstairs or very occassionally on the laptop.

    I want them to learn self control by having some exposure, but with the idea that watching even good stuff is a once and a while thing…not the norm. We'll see how we're able to keep this up, but here's to hoping.

    And, b/c I've been thinking a lot about this lately– as is proably obvious by now, here's to stopping my rambling!

    Good luck with the transition! Happy summer!

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    No TV before school or right after school. We allow taped movies which allows us to escape all those wonderful commercials. But… on sick days we do allow more tv.

  3. 3

    Nice one for removing the TV. Brave too LOL. Isn't it amazing how The Box insinuates itself into daily routine. Our two are still little (almost 3) and haven't yet watched any screen at home. They've seen a little at other houses but are only interested for about 5 minutes. Who knows how long we'll be able to keep them away from it. The Pooh Bear DVD we were given for Christmas is gathering dust somewhere…

  4. 4

    We have a tv, because in moderation it's a fantastic educational vehicle and wonderful entertainer. During the school year, tv isn't really an issue. My kids are a bit older than yours, and they're busy with school and friends and activities. Now that it's summer, we give our kids "TV tickets." You can buy a roll of carnival tickets at Office Depot or Wal Mart. Each kids gets 15 tickets a week. If they want any screen time (tv or computer) they pay a ticket. One ticket is 30 minutes. This teaches them to budget their time and plan what they watch. At the end of the week, if they have unused tickets, they can save them up for a prize… but no rollover tickets.

    We don't have cable. Never wanted it. We get most of our videos from the library and watch a lot of PBS. But the computer is very tempting to them…. I've found our sytem to work great. Most kids at age 4 or 5 can start doing this. They need to be old enough to 'plan ahead.'

  5. 5
    Christina says:

    awww … No, I still think it's a cute picture!

    We are usually too busy to think about it. The kids usually play well together so I tend to have music playing rather than the TV. But now with a move coming up, the TV definitely gets turned on more. We LOVE movies so going to movies is always a huge treat and I buy most of the new ones. At home, we make it a fun "movie night" with popcorn, etc. and it's a great time TOGETHER.

    I refuse to feel guilty about having my kids watch TV. I enjoy TV shows, why can't they? I usually sit down and watch it with them … we laugh and talk about it together … and if I need a break or have to get something done, big deal if they get to watch some TV. They have lots of time outside, playing, running around. And when life settles down a bit more, I'm sure time in front of the TV will decrease again.

  6. 6
    theknittingcowgirl says:

    I think I would put away tv from my home… but I don't leave alone, so I can't because other people in my family love it. I prefer to talk, to listen to the radio, to knit, to cook… only some few times I watch tv, when there's a beatiful film or documentary.
    But I don't have children.. I don't know what I will do if I have them.

    Yours are so sweetie! ;-)

  7. 7
    kaylin rose and mara anne says:

    Love that idea. We only let the girls watch 1 Sesame Street a few times a week…maybe 2 or 3. In the winter months, at times it is on once a day, but that is it.

    I am hoping that we can keep that up as they get older. We will see.

    But, we have 3 TVs in this house…on in the kitchen, so I can watch TV since I am in there all of the time.

    Good Luck! Enjoy the out doors :)

  8. 8
    Laurel @ Ducks in a Row says:

    We have a NO TECHNOLOGY day every Friday. I'm not quite ready to take it away altogether. So, no TV and no computers on Friday – for momma too!

  9. 9

    We have a tv, but it is only hooked up to a DVD player. At that it's lucky to get used once a week. As for my kids, it's kind of funny because I tried to sit them in front of a movie the other day because I was sick and they didn't care one speck that it was on. Good in the respect that I never wanted my kids dependent on the tv, bad because well, obviously I needed them to be baby sat at that moment. Instead of any tv or movies with the kids we play games, go outside, or do other things that are better for all of us in the long run. I, for one, and thrilled that we don't have a tv around. It's nice to be forced to do other things, be more productive, and have better time together. I don't think I'd ever change it up. It forces me to be the mother, wife, and woman I want to be since I don't have an easy out.

  10. 10
    Sarah N says:

    we only have 1 tv … its amazing at 6 months the little one is already mesmerized so we minimize watching tv to when he is asleep and its usually baseball games or the news that is on. i am fully committed to raising him with as little tv as possible – and when it is tv watching, its the good educational type not the electronic babysitter type. as easy as it is to do i am hoping we can avoid it! good for you on taking the tv outta the playroom! yay for summer!

  11. 11
    Calista says:

    Right now my daughter watches one episode of tivo'd sesame street with her breakfast and thats it no more tv for the rest of the day. When I was a child every summer as soon as school got out my parents took the tv out of the house. It didn't come back until school started again. This went all the way until I was old enough to get a summer job, like 15 or so. It forced us to go outside and play!! I am sure I will do the same for my kids when they are old enough to want more tv and turn it on themselves.

  12. 12

    Well. . . I am no mother of the year. These other women are great but I can not compete. My kids are 7, 5, and 3 1/2. My 7 year old has some serious problems with TV. I admit that it is one of my weaknesses. It is not easy for me to sit and play with them and I get a ton done when they are getting brainwashed.
    Now I am sure I am justifying things a bit here but I don't know if the big deal is how much they watch but what they watch. Now 24/7 of TV might be a bit too much. However, There are great shows on TV and DVD's. I do need to get a handle on TV but it is a very hard habit to break. My hubby also happens to be a serious electronic nut so we have several TV's around.
    UGHHHH! I don't know. Can we mom's possibly have any more guilt piled on us?!

  13. 13
    lindsey says:

    ka-lee – let no guilt be layed on you! i'm not sure how long i can actually last with this no tv thing, but i hope it can be a long time. and i'm with you – the quality of what they watch is really important. we're constantly figuring out this mothering thing, huh? its not just about what works for us, though, but what's best. sometimes what's best is a sane mommy!

  14. 14
    Sara D. says:

    I struggle w/ this daily. My kids are allowed to watch one show after nap time, for about 30 minutes…although, I usually lose track of time and it becomes an hour. It used to be MUCH more, but I caught myself falling into bad patterns too…and it wasn't so much my kids fault, as it was mine because it was just WAY too easy w/ the TV. However, I have to catch myself from being too legalistic about it…because the fact of the matter is, I love them, I am home w/ them, we craft like crazy, we play outside, we go to the pool, my house is always messy…so, they are not neglected, and sometimes I just need a shower. And that's okay. I mean, I practically watched 10 hours of tv a day as a kid, and I think I'm mostly normal. Mostly.

  15. 15
    Mommy Laity says:

    Keep us updated on how it goes!
    Caedra watches more T.V. than I would like, but I don't have the sanity to change that yet. If she wakes up before me in the morning I put on PBS cartoons for her to watch so I can boot up. The problem is that I often forget to turn them off, because she's occupied and I'm free to do stuff. She doesn't nap anymore so she always watches a movie during Grant's afternoon nap. I don't have the sanity yet to implement "play in room time". The most of a continuous break I get is 15 min when I try that. Not enough. I'm hoping to get her into pre-school or something instead in the fall. But until then, or until I can get her to play in her room quietly for an hour and a half in the afternoons, afternoon movie time will continue. Like you said, mommy's sanity is more important than anything else sometimes.

  16. 16

    TV! I can live without it. My husband on the other hand, turns it on before the lights when we walk into the house. When he is home it is on all the time and then I get sucked in. Thankfully he loves to watch Westerns and Sports. It is so easy to plot our children in front of the TV and get things done, but I love to hear the sounds from my 3 year olds room when the house is quite – sans TV. Her imagination runs wild but if the TV is on, it sucks her in too! So, every chance I get I challenge my husband to turn it off and then when it is just me and my daughter at home – the TV is always off!

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    I had TV growing up and dont remember it being a problem (maybe selective memory?) but when I had little ones I noticed how it slowly worked its way into their lives so … saved money by eliminating cable completely. I would monitor which movies and when they could be watched (one per weekend) and it is amazing – my kids are all in their twenties now and do not want to waste their time with television at all! While there were times it was embarrassing for them to admit we didnt have cable, all of them are so grateful now for those choices.

  18. 18
    Anonymous says:

    ONE MOVIE A DAY; in the a.m. when he's groggy.

    THOUGH; I do have on news for background noise during the day and might let him watch one show in the afternoon.

  19. 19
    Christina says:

    I'm with ya, Lindsey! No guilt allowed, Ka-Lee! We all do what we have to do in order to make it through the day!!!!! Some days I realize the TV didn't go on once … and other times it's on a lot. Just love your kiddos … we grew up w/o a TV in the house. I didn't see a movie until I was in junior high. I don't think I turned out better or smarter than anyone else I went to school with. And when my kids are with my mom now, you can bet she turns that TV on!! :o) Don't waste your life feeling guilty about something as lame as TV watching. :o) That's my two cents. hee, hee …

  20. 20

    It is so easy to rely on the TV! We have limited our kids to one video or 2 cartoons a day. It seems to be working out ok, but they are still young.

  21. 21
    Lisa Lewis says:

    For Ka-lee and any other moms in process: that you are even thinking about how much is too much is a great thing! Give yourself some good mom points for caring!!!

    I now have a 21 yr old away at college and a 14 yr old getting ready to start high school so I can speak to the long term results of monitoring TV. Where we live there is no TV without cable or satellite. When they were little it was one 30 minute video a day and boy did I use those 30 minutes! But I also mandated silent reading time for a different 30 minute period daily as well. I started that when they were each 3 years old. They also learned how to pick up and put away the books afterward! Reading could stretch into longer times but when the video was over it was over.

    We have alternatingly had no TV during the school week with limited TV use on the weekend; we have had PBS and video/dvd only; we have had one hour a day (or one movie) after chores and homework. Currently we have no paid TV but we do use the internet for Hulu to watch a favorite show once a week.

    My sons have been through public school, private school and home school so we have spent lots of time thinking about the frequency of the Time Vacuum during their educational career. They are good at discerning propaganda in advertising now so the "Mom I want that" days are long gone.

    Just remember that your rules can change as the development and season of life changes; one size doesn't fit all in parenting!

  22. 22

    Lindsey, I think it's good that you are acknowledging that you need to cut back on the tv but you should take it easy on yourself. Us "mom's" are really good at making ourselves feeling guilty when you are a fabulous mom. Jim Trelease, author of the "Read Aloud Handbook" states that research shows that children don't start showing declines in their scores until they reach 10 hours per week. Children watching less than 10 hours a week didn't show any differences. Here is a blog post from another blog I read that just did a post on using TV to good use.
    Give yourself a break.

  23. 23

    Great topic, Linds! We have not had a tv our house since our first year of marriage. Travis and I started doing that because we didn't have enough room to move it with us when we moved to Connecticut, so we thought we try and go without it. We loved it! We missed a few shows at first but after a few weeks we realized that life went on! We learned to do other things instead. We read to each other, we play games, and we get other things accomplished in the evenings. It is wondeful to be together interacting instead of zoning out infront of show after show on tv. And we do have our computer to watch movies on because every now and then a little bit of non thinking entertainment is necessary and enjoyable! :) As for the girls, we knew from the get go that we didn't want them watching a ton of t.v., and since I know that it was so easy and helpful to just plop them in front of the tube so I can get stuff done i had to set boundaries. We allow one day a week for movies. Friday! And oh, they so look forward to Friday Movie Day! Movie watching is a treat not just something to do. So on Fridays I get to "sleep in", get much cleaning done and other fun crafts and they love to watch their favorite movies. There are other occasions, like when I'm sick or one of them is sick, or they are at a friends and a movie is put on… but on a whole its limited to Fridays. I love how they go to books or coloring or bike riding first when they don't know what to do or Mommy is busy and can't tend to them. Good for you for giving it up. It definately is a lifestyle change but one that I think you will eventually love and be happy about. Your kids probably won't like it at first either, but I'm sure that'll change over time too.

  24. 24
    lindsey says:

    i don't feel like i've beaten myself up over this. i think i realized we hit a point that was too much and cold turkey is the only way i want to do it for now. although my original guidelines for the kids was one video a day, we've easily been watching 2-3 a day, and some were 1 1/2 hours long! thats definitely more than 10 hours a week.

    loving all the comments! keep it up, i'm getting some great ideas!

  25. 25

    Oooohh t.v. watching was a bit of a sore subject in our house for awhile, ha ha. It was about 2 years ago that i got absolutely fed up with arguing with my 5 year old over what shows he could watch, etc. (It didn't help that i was pregnant & extra irritable either.) So that night, i went on craigslist, put our t.v. up for sale, and by the next afternoon it was out of the house!

    We just last month replaced it (after almost 2 years) but will not be getting cable. We have a DVD player & will allow the kids to watch select movies/shows that we allow. I'm actually really proud of us b/c you would think we would have gone overboard and had the movies going 24/7, but we've been really controlled! I've enjoyed doing my workout DVD's in the morning & my love & i enjoy one or two (mostly educational) movies per week, at night. And i'll definitely be a happy camper the next time i'm sick & need a "free babysitter."

  26. 26
    Jeannett Gibson says:

    no, we are perfect. we have no issues.


  27. 27

    We have a "no tv" rule Monday through Friday. This has worked well and honestly weekends are generally so packed with outdoor fun that we generally watch one movie over the weekend.

  28. 28
    Team Martins says:

    wanted to check back and see what others thought and i'm so glad i did… many great ideas!

    don't let my sleep deprived state (and typos- ha!) make anyone think i'm advocating more mommy guilt… there's enough of that out there!

    it's just been such a blessing to BE with my family, even when we snuggle to watch a video, but even more when we craft and swim and read together. that's how it feels to us! :)

    lindsey, you have some sweet children and so many fabulous ideas; i'm sure you'll find what feels best to your family!

  29. 29

    hi linds,
    it gets easier as they get older with school. they don't have time to watch tv with all the homework and sports. when they are a little more independent they will be outside playing. weekends are crazier with sports and church things, so it's hardly on then also. when they do watch tv, it's because they need a downtime and i'm usually right there with them. :)

  30. 30
    yingyangmom says:

    Hi Lindsey! Good for you for making the move! I can certainly understand how easy it is to just plop them in front of the TV so you can tend to what you need to. Gosh, i know I am guilty of this. While pregnant of our second and completely run down by the end of the day, I sat my little girl in front of the TV in the late afternoons while we waited for daddy to come home. Now, our rule is 2 hours a week max and no more than half an hour a day. This is actually pre-recorded educational shows. So I don't feel so guilty! ;)

  31. 31
    Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam says:

    oh yes, we have gotten too lax as well, and I am REALLY strict with the TV…it just happens sometimes.

    Last night, we all sat on our deck, swinging on the porch swing with candles burning, telling stories and riddles, and eating our icecream with fresh mashed strawberries. That is what it's about and you miss those moments with the TV.

    That pic is gorgeous though and your caption cracked me up. :)

  32. 32

    I have enjoyed reading all these comments. We have one TV, in the living room, and the only channel the kids may watch is Noggin (they are 6 and 3) and that is limited to a couple of shows/day; I try to not let them see commercials. They'll watch a DVD maybe once a week.

    When it's just me at home with the kids, the TV just doesn't get turned on. But, my husband works irregular hours, and when he is home, it seems like it is always on. I don't like it, but it is what it is.

    I'd like to get rid of it all together, but he just committed to 2 more years with our cable package – grrr.

    Anyway, nice discussion going on here.

  33. 33
    les_mason_curt says:

    We watch more movies than we should. But recently turned off our cable and went to the rabbit ears and the convertter box. It saves money and honestly I have not missed it one bit. I thought I would just die. People think we are so weird for having 12 channels. We spend more time together and hardly ever is the t.v on. The only time I find myslef glued to it is in the fall when new shows are on. But literally I think we have not turned in on in days. My son is into the video phase and I let him watch 30 minutes in the morning so he is not cranky and 30 minutes after nap. What can I say, the kid hates to wake up… It works for us all. I get some time to do stuff and he gets some time to be a zombe… I think it is great that you did this…

  34. 34

    I appreciate your honesty! I LOVE IT as a matter of fact. There are times when little ones end up watching more television than they should and we come around and pull ourselves together and regroup. I've been there and have also pulled back on the amount of time my little girls watch the tv. Running a business from the home is hard with children but I applaud you for all you do! Keep it up!

  35. 35

    God has such a funny sense of humor. This week is vacation bible school for us and I am the director so it is a bit crazy start to the Summer. So. . . my 7 year old was watching TV as I was rehashing the first night of VBS and I told her she could not watch a certain show that I am not entirely fond of. Later when I went back to check the "naughty/too teenagerish" show was on. Shame, shame. Well the penalty was no more TV for the day. Oh my, you would have thought I took her favorite doll away and flushed it down the toilet!
    There was a wake up call! We talked about how this seems to be taking over her life if she is getting this crazy about it.

    Seriously, God is so funny to pick this week and right after your blog entry!

  36. 36
    Anonymous says:

    We have only one TV and at time that seems a bit too much. We have, in the past , had a strict NO TV at all, with one video allowed on Friday evenings, policy. That however has been altered slightly, and now I fear that Disney has taken over. This summer we will be allowing 1 hour of technology a day. We'll see how it goes.

  37. 37

    Here's where I am right now with TV/video games/pc etc. time:
    Our kids are 10,6 and 4. I recently asked a mother I respect from our church her opinion on something similar. The advice she gave was excellent and I think applies with TV (for our family at least). Here's what she said…she and her husband allow things (not bad things of course)in moderation. When/if they see that "good" thing becoming an obession, then they no longer allow it.
    I've found that 2.5 hours/day of all electronics is in keeping with moderation (for us). And we monitor closely what they watch and play. They still get loads of outside and creative time.
    ~In my opinion and for our kids.
    Great topic!

  38. 38

    Wanted to add-some days we don't even turn the TV on. Mostly after 5pm it's off for the night as this is guarded family time. There is nothing my husband and I watch on TV. We just don't watch it. During the school year – the kids watch much less. But I don't see a problem with letting them watch an educational show or something with a good message while I buy some time! Or goof around and play approved video games with friends.
    Again- the Lord leads each family in these matters. It's good to talk openly about a subject that we tend to feel such guilt over!

  39. 39

    What a cute picture :)

    I save the tv for when I need a long hot shower by myself, or if I'm in a terrible mood and can't shake it, or if one of the kids is sick. We all watch a musical show together on Saturday nights, and I'll turn it on during the week if they want to dance to the songs. (It's the Lawrence Welk Show, pure cheese!)

    I'd actually prefer that they watch shows that are entertaining vs. educational, as crazy as that sounds. I'd love for learning to stay as interactive as possible. My (questionable) logic goes something like… If they're used to a big dancing production to learn the numbers 1-10, I don't stand a chance with a boring algebra textbook.

    Anyway keep us updated on how it's going! And thanks for being honest about a topic that I think most people try to downplay :)

  40. 40

    We are the opposite of most people. We don't have TV during the school year in our house. During school we are all way to busy to waste time watching TV. In the summer we have a little more free time, so that gives us time for some shows.

    We have one TV. It is in the family room. It has the Blue Ray player, the Wii and the cable (in the summer…during school it only has an antennae.)

    So if you don't like what someone is watching or someone is playing a game, then you are out of luck.

    The kids have to ask permission before they can turn it on. No TV, movies or video games without asking.

    Some days it never gets turned on and others we spend a couple of hours vegging out in front of it, but I make sure it is balanced. If we watched too much TV the day before then there won't be any TV the next day.

    Also, I try to keep our days pretty scheduled. We get up, have breakfast, go to the gym, do a morning activity, and then there is down time. That is when they can watch TV, but they often choose to do other things.

    Then there is dinner, an evening activity, bath time and some more down time. So there isn't a whole lot of time for TV.

    Also, if I think they have spent too much time in front of the TV we have mandatory book reading time! ;D

  41. 41
    Aimee Friedrich says:

    hmm, good idea. I usually let the kids watch a show after breakfast while I check email and then while I'm fixing dinner unless they want to help w/the dinner fixing which they do like to do; then on Friday nights we all watch a movie together and Saturdays are usually busy; and Sundays after church we usually all end up in front of the tv sometime during the day and half of us falling asleep somewhere in there. :) so we don't watch too much, but it's nice to have for certain times of the day when everyone needs a little break.

  42. 42
    Courtney says:

    LL was only to watch TV during his nebulizer treatments. Thankful his treatments have been cut back, but he seems to be still watching the same amount of TV. I don't how it happened, but it must stop.

  43. 43
    Jessy, Greg, Grace, Jack, Nora, and Lexi says:

    That's fabulous! We have never had cable so with the big digital conversion we just got rid of our huge honkin' tv instead of investing in a new fancy antenna. I was getting really bad at letting the kids watch hours on end of PBS before we got rid of the tv. Now we just have videos (that they are getting tired of) that we watch on the computer. It's a lot bigger effort to watch something now than just turning on the tv used to be. I had weird sad feelings about getting rid of the tv, but the longer we go without it the happier I am we took the plunge and got rid of it!

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