We haven’t always been tv-less. We got rid of our clunky big box 8 or 9 years ago, when our oldest child was 2 or 3. We didn’t mind getting rid of it, but we didn’t do it for ourselves–we did it for Jack.
Our firstborn is definitely an HSP, and he would perseverate for hours on whatever cartoon I’d let him watch on PBS Kids while I was folding laundry. He’d ask endless questions about what the characters did, and why.
The first time he repeated a huge chunk of cartoon dialog at the dinner table, we started talking about getting rid of it. It freaked me out how firmly Curious George was lodging in his little brain.
Within a week, the tv was out of sight. We hauled it out for a few big football games that fall, but it was so much trouble. Not long after we just gave it away.
***** ***** *****
We’ve never been dogmatists about our tv-less life (although I loved stopping cable salesman short with my “we don’t have a tv” line). We’ve watched plenty of shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime (as my What I’m Into posts reflect), and my kids watch a short movie 3 or times a week during rest time.
We’re not purists: in fact, for these 8 or 9 years I’ve thought regularly about what an older and wiser woman told me right after we gave away a tv. While our kids are tiny, she said, it may be best for our family to ditch the tv. But there may come a time when I want the biggest tv in the neighborhood.
“Whose house did you like to hang out at when you were a teenager?” she asked me. “I’ll bet it wasn’t the one with no tv.”
My kids aren’t teens yet, but we felt like it was time. We really want to watch sports, together. My oldest son is obsessed with baseball–though he loves any sport with a ball–and streaming games online was never satisfactory. My daughter loves college basketball (and so do Will and I!) The Olympics are around the corner. And a rare family movie is kind of tough to watch on my 13″ MacBook.
So on Saturday we headed to CostCo and picked one out. (Thanks again for the CostCo tips!) It’s not tiny; it’s definitely not the biggest tv in the neighborhood. But we did make a pile of snacks and watch the game on Sunday, and everyone loved it. (Well, the game was terrible, but still.) I think it’s likely that watching UL basketball games together will be something our family does.
Our intentions are good–sports and the occasional movie–but I know the tv thing is a slippery slope, and we’re trying to be intentional about the habits we form around it, especially while it’s new to us. I’d appreciate any advice, tips, or warnings you have about managing media at your house–I’m a little rusty after 8 or 9 years without!
Does your family have a tv? What are your personal and/or family guidelines for using it well?