Monday, October 19, 2009

TV and kids

Lawrence J. Peter: " Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object. "

I saw this quote from ScreamFree Parenting Tip of the Day and had to pass it on about the TV epidemic:

My children can be incredibly creative, generous, helpful and kind. They can also be needy, greedy, self-absorbed, and whiny. I didn’t really catch on to an interesting little trend until our TV recently broke and we had to go without it for close to a month. What I noticed was quite phenomenal. My kids grumbled at first, but then they began to read more, play more, help more and laugh more. What I realized was that the mood in our house was directly proportional to the amount of television we watched.

The average American child between the ages of 2-17 watches 25 hours of tv a week. 1 in 5 children watch 44 hours a week. As a busy parent, I get that. Turning on the TV is easier than “entertaining” your kids or listening to them whine about how bored they are. Period. It just is. But I am here to tell you the truth: You’re actually shooting yourself in the foot if you have this mentality. You’re making the chances of them cooperating less and the chances of them being lethargic greater. Just try it out for a week and tell me that I’m wrong: limit tv (both when and how much) and objectively observe your kids’ behavior. I have a strong hunch that you’ll be pleased with the results.
Let's face it - turning off the TV is difficult, and it will be doubly so if you and the people in your household are used to watching it. I think it will take more than a week to really feel the difference because the first week the kids will complain for the first twenty hours the TV isn't on and you'll wonder what to do. By the second week, you'll struggle with each other because you are not used to spending so much time together. By the third week, you'll wonder how you had enough time to watch that much TV.

Don't cut out TV completely, just sit down and plan it out at the beginning of the week (do the planning with the TV off).

Over the weekend I had conversations with friends about our agendas in life. When our agenda is to get through the day, TV is the easy answer. If your agenda is people, then you won't want the easy answer.

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