Last month, during the first couple of weeks of school, C's teacher and I had the talk. Hand in hand with a Waldorf education, no TV. Not even because he's a Waldorf teacher and that's what they have to say, C wasn't adjusting to school life so easily and we discussed the extent of our TV watching and decided on a plan. The plan was to go back to the world of TV that I grew up in: Saturday morning cartoons. I loved waking up, as did C's teacher, to Saturday morning cartoons. Certain ones were only available Saturday mornings and I was excited to wake up and watch Jem, Smurfs and Fat Albert.
Further to that plan but not C's teacher actual responsibility was to fill the weekday TV time with something new. I have been long wanting to start reading out loud chapter books so I decided now was as good as a time as any.
After the first 2 days of no TV on a weekday which can only be likened to detox and withdrawal, C became quite interested in the first book that I decided to go with: Charlotte's Web. It turned out that it was the right book at the right time and the stars aligned quite beautifully. We were ready for reading chapter books out loud. Since last month we have finished Charlotte's Web, The Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh and are currently finishing up and looking forward to the second book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods. All of these books were sitting on our shelves just waiting for us.
If only all changes in life could be so sweet and simple.
The result: C brightened up in class and settled into the daily and weekly rhythms and routines better than I could have hoped for. We eliminated the exhausting, energy depleting nature of the TV and found an astounding amount of energy for all kinds of little projects and happenings around the house.
We've eliminated TV before but it's never gone so smoothly. This past year it has been a blessing. While I sort out myself and my new life as a working, single parent, TV has been the extra 5 minutes while I get ready in the morning or the afternoon nap that I desperately needed. Maybe it's in part due to C's age and he was just really ready for this. I'm feeling pretty grateful that we were able to eliminate it, when it really was a crutch that I didn't want to use any longer.
And don't get me wrong, it hasn't been perfect. Some days I fall asleep reading to him, or I cry the last 20 pages of reading Charlotte's Web. Those are the minor extra responsibilities of taking on this challenge, and it is in our day and age, it really is. I don't blame those that watch so much TV. We're scared to let our kids out in the street to play and roam and be the way I grew up 30 years ago. We are assimilating to our environment as best we can and when I say we, I mean all parents surrounded by so much technology. Can we even break the bad that is Netflix and the convenience of watching an entire series in a couple of days. Heck, I'm still watching TV after he goes to sleep, but my excuse is it is Little House on the Prairie and I'm learning really great parenting skills from it! The sacrifice is and I'm aware and not complaining about it, that I don't have time for this and that. I choose TV.
In any case, we have success at this time. Knock on wood.
If you are further interested in the effects of TV on children, there is a really great lecture coming up at the Waldorf School that I am looking forward to. Bottom line of the lecture is to learn how to use media to your advantage and to not let it use you. Next Monday evening with Jaimen McMillon.