This summer I’ve done some serious soul searching about how I’m spending my time. One of the things my husband and I decided to do was dramatic for us…
WE TURNED OFF THE TV!
For two self-professed TV-aholics, this was a serious change.
Our children, now all grown and living on their own (sniff,sniff!), can hardly believe it. We were a family who had the TV on for most of the day, even when no one was watching. As my husband told one of our friends, “I have been addicted to TV since Bugs Bunny.” (A little reference for the over 45 crowd…).
Let me tell you, the results have been nothing short of outstanding.
First of all, we talk more… a lot more. For two people who constantly communicate since we work and live together 24/7, it’s STILL been a huge increase.
It’s not all about quantity either. The quality of our conversations has also changed. We’re discussing our philosophies and beliefs, our dreams and goals, our mistakes, our victories…. instead of talking about things that don’t matter… like politics (UGH!), or the plot of whatever stupid show we watched the night before, or even a depressing news story we can’t do anything about anyway….
Secondly, we are getting A LOT more done. The laundry is caught up. I’ve cooked more. Our house is clean. Home projects are being planned and getting finished. Hooray!
Lastly… and this is the biggest one…
We are much, much, much more peaceful.
In our 30+ year marriage and all our crazy, busy life, turning off the TV has been a big game-changer for us.
Actually, ALL our screen time has significantly decreased. Especially the obsession with my cell phone. Yesterday, a Sunday, I didn’t even look at it until well into the evening. Seriously…. NOT ALL DAY.
We keep looking at each other and asking, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
My answer is… “I don’t know.”
If you’ve read my website, listened to my podcast, or heard me speak, I rail against screen time for my little late talking friends. I have advised family after family to turn off the TV for their toddlers who are irritable, hyperactive, dysregulated, and have terribly short attention spans.
I should have taken my own advice.
Now I know firsthand that what I’m recommending is good for any family who is stressed, burned out, or even just a little scatter-brained and distracted. (Ring any bells? Do you recognize yourself?)
Experts agree… especially for children.
Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new statement about screentime…
“Media in all forms, including TV, computers, and smartphones can affect how children feel, learn, think, and behave.”
“Because of their immature symbolic, memory, and attentional skills, infants and toddlers cannot learn from traditional digital media as they do from interactions with caregivers, and they have difficulty transferring that knowledge to their 3-dimensional experience. The chief factor that facilitates toddlers’ learning from commercial media (starting around 15 months of age) is parents watching with them and reteaching the content.”
“…For children younger than 2 years, evidence for benefits of media is still limited, adult interaction with the child during media use is crucial, and there continues to be evidence of harm from excessive digital media use.”
Bottom line… The words “evidence of harm” are serious! Rethink your patterns about screentime for little ones! It’s not as educational or as beneficial as we think!
You can read the full position statement at aap.org.
More tomorrow…. I’ll be doing lots of other things until then, instead of being attached to a screen!!