I’ve been living TV-free for 7 years now! Boy it feels GOOD! I really don’t miss it one tiny bit. I am able to be a happy, sane, and involved mother and I want you to be able to do the same! Here are 7 basic steps to transition into No-TV-Mommyhood.
- Figure out your “why”
- Remove the temptation
- Start slow
- Let them join you
- Plan ahead
- Minimize responsibilities
- Start having fun with your child
Figure out your “why”. Why are you going to take the road less traveled and avoid putting your child in front of the TV? It’s got to be important to you. If you’re heart is not in it, you wont stick with it, no matter what it is. So… research! Research the effects of excessive screen time. Find out how much is excessive. The more you know, the more you’ll care. Research is key to changing habits. And believe me, it won’t take long. Now that you have decided that you are committed to this endeavor…
Remove temptation. Get it out of your house! Cut the cables! If you are used to using TV as your baby-sitter you are probably going to have some withdrawals. And if you are the one watching too much TV, the withdrawals are going to be tougher. So prepare yourself for the weaning process! Don’t leave any room to slip back into old habits. I mean if you were going to quit smoking, you wouldn’t leave cigarettes around the house, would you? No! The risk of giving in is too great. However, smokers who are trying to quit do use nicotine patches, so don’t be afraid to…
Start slow. If you are not ready to slice and dice and completely forget about your TV, that is totally normal! And healthy. Slow, consistent changes result in an improved lasting lifestyle. Slowly shorten your TV/screen time to a certain number of hours per week. Not sure where to start? Try reducing the screen time in your home by 20% a week. So if your child watches TV 20 hours a week (that’s 2 movies a day) you would reduce it to 16 hours, then to 12 hours, then to 8 hours, then to 4 hours, then 0, etc. By the end of the month you could be a happily adjusted No-TV-Mom!
Let them join you. You don’t always have to shoo your child away in order to get something done. Look for opportunities to teach them new tasks and do things together. Hit two birds with one stone and… do chores together! My 2 year-old is an incredible sweeper and table washer. However, I only figured this out because I let her do it with me! The list of possibilities really is endless. Keep your eyes open! And don’t forget to…
Plan ahead. If you know you have things to do that will be hard to do with children, either do it before they wake up/after they are asleep, or plan something extra fun for them to do during your project time. A special craft, fun activity or a trip to Grandma’s house usually does the trick. It’s also just fine to practice establishing boundaries and be firm that they need to play on their own in their room for a certain period of time while you are doing your thing. Just don’t let things become so stressful that you feel like the only way to manage is to put your kids in front of show. Prioritize and…
Minimize your responsibilities. Let go. Our lives are way. too. busy. There are plenty of things we can cut out. Because let’s be honest with ourselves, if we are so jam-packed with responsibilities, projects, and to-do lists that we have to use TV to entertain our kids in order to accomplish it all, what’s the point? Do those things really matter? If you really want to go without TV, you have to make time to go without it. It does take more effort to entertain your children, so you won’t able to take on as much. But don’t be sad, because you are going to…
Start having fun WITH your child! Stop sending them away. I mean we’ve only got until they are 16 to really spend time with them. After that they are driving, dating, and super into their friends. Cherish this time. Find things that are entertaining to you as well as to them. Discover, learn, work, and just play together. It is an amazing opportunity we have to be mothers of God’s sweet children. Savor it. Spend your time looking at them, instead of the screen.
This week’s TV-Busting Alternatives!
- Go pick out pumpkins and carve them together
- Make cookies for someone in your neighborhood and deliver them
- Build a fort and have a read-a-thon (and don’t forget the popcorn!)