We have a “no TV” rule in our house. The rule is: No TV during the week. You’d think it would make our life harder, but it actually makes it easier. This is because our kids are TV zombies. I hope you are lucky enough to not have children who turn into frozen statues when faced with a screen. Ours, however, are like addicts. So, we turned it OFF.
Nothing we say, nothing we threaten, nothing we take away will make it into their ears and into their little brains while the TV is on. So we simply stopped turning it on during the week. This made mornings so much easier. There is no TV to distract and freeze them in place while we are trying to get four kids out the door by 7:30 a.m. and to our jobs. There was less yelling to “Get your shoes on. Get your shoes ON. GET YOUR SHOES ON.” They were able to find their shoes, water bottles, backpacks, folders, and snacks without us constantly screaming and them constantly getting upset. Some mornings, when it’s nice out, they’ll even play in the front yard together with a soccer ball or baseball until it’s time to leave (of course they’re filthy by the time they get in the car, but whatever).
And after school, the rule remains. They go outside. They play with their eight billion toys or their neighborhood friends. They do LEGOs, or color, or play with the dog. They help me cook dinner. Sure, there were massive meltdowns as they got used to the rule, but over time it got better. And we no longer had to fight them to turn it off to take a bath or eat dinner. There are less tears and less screaming now.
There are exceptions. I’m not a perfect parent. When there’s a torrential downpour outside, sometimes we watch TV after school. When my husband or I have to work from home unexpectedly, and the other is out or being an Uber for one of the four kids, sometimes the TV comes on. If we find a babysitter who is willing to watch four kids on a weeknight, we let the poor girl turn on the TV so she’ll come back again next time we need a sitter.
And some days, when I’m just exhausted and need a break, I bribe them with a movie to take an early bath and finish an early dinner so that I can sit and have a glass of wine, catch up with a friend, or do a puzzle. There are good shows for kids these days, after all. The choices are really endless for quality children’s programming. It’s not the TV I object to at all. It’s how my kids act when the TV is on.
So the TV is off during the week. And for the most part, it’s worked pretty well.
What are your electronics rules in your house?