Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rewards

Here is a picture of the entertainment center in our living room.

Notice anything missing?

I decided a few days ago that the only sure way to keep the TV off during the day was to simply eliminate it completely. I've tried in the past to say it will stay off, have even tried unplugging it when certain young people weren't looking, but they're quick, those kids of mine. It never takes them long to catch on, and as soon as I'd leave the room the TV would be on again.

(And then, admittedly, there was the convenience factor. How easy it was to distract them with a cartoon when I was "too busy" to be bothered!)

I wasn't entirely convinced that my impulsive idea was a good one, but one morning last week I decided to remove the TV, VCR, and DVD player from our living room. While Dylan watched in shocked fascination, I hauled first one, then the others into the garage and set about cleaning the thick layer of dust that had settled beneath and behind them. "But mom", Dylan said sadly. "I'm afraid I'll miss our TV."

"Son", I told him. "I'm afraid I might, too. But I bet we'll find lots of other fun stuff to do and before too long, we won't even miss it at all."

I had no idea how right I'd be.

It's amazing.

That very same day, I was getting ready to run some errands with the kids and thought I'd sit first to nurse Meghan before loading everybody into the van. As I settled into the recliner with Meghan in my arms, Dylan instinctively reached to turn on the TV and then remembered it wasn't there. Without a word, he went to his room, brought out a book, and sat with Caitlyn in the loveseat to read while I finished feeding Meghan. Quite seriously, I was stunned! I had expected much more resistance, particularly on his part.

I'm convinced more every day that removing it was the right thing to do for our family. Instead of the the TV being on, constantly, in the background, I've moved a CD player into the living room along with a few of our favorite CDs, which we listen to quietly while playing or doing chores. It's so uplifting to hear the beautiful songs of Michael Card as we go about our day; fun to dance silly with the kids while listening to the Little People songs they love; and a joy to really spend time with my kids, doing things like reading more books, building more block towers, coloring more pictures, assembling more puzzles, and using our imaginations rather than sitting and staring at the TV for countless precious hours of the day.

I should say, though, that we haven't gone so far yet as to remove the TV and VCR/DVD player from our master bedroom. It's where Darren and I watch the news, and where Dylan and Caitlyn know that, from time to time, they'll be allowed to watch a video or cartoon. We're finding so many other rewarding ways to have fun that maybe one day, we'll be ready to get rid of those, too!

6 comments:

Mom of boys said...

We eliminated TV from our day about a month ago. I also moved a CD player into the living room and bought several Veggitales CDs since the Veggi videos were mostly what they watched anyway. Now, if I ask them if they would like to watch a movie, they will usually go get the CD instead.

Kids adapt pretty readily at this age! Mom and Dad are a different story!

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

He who wears the most black wins. said...

SO wonderful, Melissa!!

It was hard for us to take the plunge as well but, we, too, have found that we spend more time together now and don't even notice it gone. We have no cable or satellite, but we still have a t.v. closed up in an amoire in the family room that's connected to a dvd player. Friday nights are our Prentice Family Movie and Pizza nights--an oh how the kids LOVE to see that baby light up! :)

Have a great weekend, sweetie!

Mom to Almost Four said...

So you've done it too. I didn't have to remove the TV - just keep the doors closed. It has been the best thing. Creativity is so much more now that there is a whole lot less TV.

Alice said...

This is a brilliant idea, and the results do not surprise me at all! Your entertainment center looks fabulous, btw!

Jennifer said...

You are amazing. I have had the same experiences (with it just kind of turning itself on!) but I'm not brave enough to get rid of it. Your post has me thinking, though.