Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Turning the television OFF

A while back, my blogging friend, Lauren, asked me how we realistically turn the television off during the day.  How we convince Ada that it's a good idea.

Her question made me laugh at myself, because in all honesty, we watch too much television every single day.  So my first response is, Lauren, when you find the answer, let me know!!  However, we have been purposefully trying to turn the television off as much as possible, so I have a few suggestions of how we are working on it.  We are certainly in process.  We have not arrived!!!! 

Okay, first things first, I think about what times of the day when I most need Ada to be occupied.  This is when I do let her watch television--during dinner prep, when I am getting ready to tutor, or when we all need to be some where by a certain time.  Or, when I really, really need the house to stay clean or straight, then I definitely let her turn it on.

I also think about good alternatives to the television.  See the pictures below.  (Thank you, Jessica, for Candyland.  Ada and I play it multiple times a day, so I have a love/hate relationship with the game).
We also try to get outside for a little bit everyday.  We go out during John's morning nap to avoid the awful afternoon heat, and our time outside always involves water!!  I think kids need to be outside as much as possible.  It's not a good day unless there is at least a little bit of dirt underneath Ada's fingernails;)

Sometimes we even go outside first thing before the heat has arrived.  I bring John's exersaucer out, and we all three enjoy the fresh air.  This trip outside doesn't involve water.

And I make sure her toys are accessible.  I used to keep all of her toys upstairs in an effort to keep downstairs straight.  But, I found that the television ended up being on all of the time.  Now, her toys are where we spend most of our time, so she usually chooses the toys over the television.  Because of this, we are making it a habit to do a quick "pick up" of downstairs at least twice a day.  And I make her help me, even though it slows us down.  Trying to instill those habits!!  (The ones that I have trouble with myself!!)

Another way to keep the television off is to let Ada help me with the housework.  She loves to clean the oven door or the dishwasher door and even her little table and chairs.  I am also teaching her to fold her own clothes and put them away (with much guidance from me). 

And, in a few weeks, we are going to start a weekly preschool curriculum that we will take up a chunk of our mornings.  I am hoping that will provide even more structure to our days, eliminating even more the need for cartoons in the background.

And bottom line, we have good days and we have bad days.  And we take it one day at a time, and I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning!!

Any mom's out there have more television alternative suggestions?  I am all ears!!!!


Dayna said...

Well, I am not a mama, but I spend lots of time with my niece who will be 4 in November. One trick I use to get the tv turned off is to play Christian music at a moderate volume in the background while we do other things (like arts/crafts stuff or household chores)...sometimes that little bit of extra sensory stimulation from the music is enough to keep her brain going without have the tv on! Of course, a dance party for Jesus is bound to happen at some point in the day, so be willing to dance and be silly in place of tv:-)

Ashley said...

Laura Beth,

I think I have some suggestions. I am not nor have I ever been a big TV watcher which kind of makes this easy for me. However on 2 different occasions we have made drastic measures to not watch television. My husband LOVES TV. I kept telling him I was going to have it turned off so he could find a new interest and be more motivated at home. He grumbled at first and then he said you know, maybe that is not a bad idea. So we did. I never missed it, but he read and read and read. He worked outside, stayed outside with our daughter.

Currently we are renovating so we do not have our cable rerouted yet. We are once again READING, playing outside, crafts, she loves animals so she looks for frogs and plays with our dogs. I always plan to spend 30min to 1 hour undivided time with our daughter usually doing girly things- painting nails, beauty shop, coloring, crafts, and board games. Eva also has Melissa & Doug wooden chopping veggies and fruits so she cooks with me. Whenever Eva does watch TV which is very limited she watches movies. Laura, I hope these things help you. You will be amazed at how you do not miss it if you stay busy and just never turn it on. Eva never even ask us to watch TV. Best wishes!

Jenny said...

LB, we are doing the same thing here. We spent the first three months of Emily being a newborn just watching t.v. because that is how I made it through the day. Now, we're limited to 3 30-minute sessions of t.v. Usually this is first thing in the morning, after lunch, and then while I'm making dinner. We have a jar that has three "coins" (I think old plastic toy quarters) in it. Each coin represents 30 minutes of t.v. Each time Andrew watches t.v. he has to take out one of the coins and give it to me. At the end of the day, if he has any coins left over, he gets to pick out a prize. It's motivation for him to choose not to watch t.v.

Hope it helps!

Lauren said...

Thanks for the ideas Laura Beth!! It is such an encouragement to hear that other mom's out there are trying too. We are already putting some of your ideas to practice today!!

Nicole said...

Great ideas. I was just thinking this week I want to turn the TV off and get Ava to play more. Hopefully when it cools up we will spend more time outside.

Rose said...

you've given some good sugg.to get a child to divert from the tv to somethingelse. it's one to one ideas. rose

Jess said...

Thanks for the ideas!!! We def. need to get outside more...my pregnant self just can't take it. I can't wait for it to cool off for the park! You have encouraged me to turn it off even more!!!!