This week has been Screen Free Week presented by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. We’ve observed it in our house as a “TV Free Week” for the little one as both parents use the computer for work and watch a little TV after he goes to bed. I’ve done this before and it was a big deal. Mommy guilt had overwhelmed me. Had my child watched TV before age 2 (going against the advisement of the American Association of Pediatrics)? Yes. Did he sometimes watch more than the advised 2 hours? Not often, but yes. I made excuses for the necessity of it as he needed breathing treatments from a young age and it was the only way to keep him still. But was that the only time he watched TV at this point. Of course not. So I was determined to dial our TV watching back. I planned our week. We were busy from morning to night with crafts, puppet shows (still a favorite), snacks, books, etc. Whining and constant asking “to watch” were a big part of that TV Free Week. I also remember that the constant pleas for TV diminished throughout the week. “It” was no longer a part of our routine. Other activities had taken its place. It was also challenging because he had hand, foot and mouth so we couldn’t go out for a few days. When the week was over, I was elated. We would be TV Free! We would escape the pull of the idiot box! No boob tube for us, dude. Alas, my husband returned from his work trip and burst my bubble. No TV was an impractical goal. He reminded me that moderation was a good goal and a far easier maintain in the long run.
And we’ve done well. Sometimes the TV is a part of our morning routine so that I can get a shower or do some work and sometimes it isn’t.
So, with our previous experience in mind, I unofficially embarked on “Screen Free Week.” By unofficially, I mean that I didn’t discuss it with my husband or our son. I just didn’t turn on the TV. When asked, I redirected. Surprisingly, no one noticed. What have we done? There have been a few more puppet shows this week. We’ve spent a bit more time outside enjoying our neighborhood. And, we’ve spent a whole lot more time together, which is really cool.