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Tuned Out – How & Why My Kid Rarely Watches TV

2012 June 12

A little while ago I posted something on Facebook about how interior and fashion design maven Kelly Wearstler has a “no technology during the week” policy for her sons.

The reaction? Mainly shock and disbelief.

My reaction to the reaction? Mainly shock and disbelief.

We’ve adopted the same thing chez us forever so to me it seemed perfectly normal…and attainable.

During the week, Little D does not watch TV or hop on the iPad for a game or anything similar. It wasn’t actually a conscious effort on our part, which probably helped matters, we just never turned on the TV or gave her access from Monday to Friday and so it became a household habit.

We don’t watch the news in the morning before school and work, we are too busy getting ready for school and work and the last thing I could imagine is another distraction to make us even more late. And after school, she finds other things to occupy her time – art projects, books, making forts, jumping on my bed, frozen yogurt excursions, tormenting her brother, and the like. She does not have her own iPod, iPhone, iAnything. We have an iPad and she can use it for games…on weekends. We have iPhones but we use them…for us.

Now granted, we have two very important factors working for us here: a) we live in a warm climate so we aren’t trapped indoors for six months at a time while winter blasts away outside our windows and b) she only gets home from school around 4pm most days, which means we only have three or so hours to kill before bedtime.

But it’s just not filled with TV.

Does she make up for it on weekends? Yes. I don’t want her to stand there looking clueless when her friends are bantering about The Backyardigans and The Fresh Beat Band (well, maybe we can skip The Fresh Beat Band…) so she watches a few shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which she relishes with every little part of her soul. And then, when they are done, she asks for one more. And we usually say yes. Then when that one is done, she looks to me and asks, “What do you want to do now?” And we move on with our day.

I am not saying it’s easy. But I am here to tell you, from experience, that it’s not that hard, either.

And frankly, for our little family, the more tuned out we are, the more tuned in we have become.

Do you have TV guidelines in your home? What are they? Do they work?


*Photo via here

3 Responses
  1. June 12, 2012

    Wonderful and inspiring post in this overly-saturated digital world!
    I love that line about tuning out and becoming more tuned in to whats important. I hope we can adopt a house rule like this as Jack grows up…I have a reality TV addiction that needs to be detoxed!

  2. June 12, 2012

    Reese is still little, but we watch Sesame Street some morning and I usually watch part of the Today Show for the news and weather. My husband is more liberal with the TV on weekends, so she can differentiate between at least 4 different sports already. We sometimes watch videos on the iPad, usually about whatever animal she’s obsessed with (right now, lobsters and turtles). I think there is also something to *how* you watch, not just what. When Sesame Street is on or we are watching a video, we usually talk during it and I explain things periodically. I grew up in a very strict almost-no TV household and I do think less is better…but I also can’t sing along with Schoolhouse Rock.

  3. June 12, 2012

    Think we should begin this program. Wonder how tough it would be going cold turkey with a 3 yr old. But maybe best before we’re up against 2 little shrill voices.

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