The Great Television Experiment

…was a great big flop.

OK, that might be exaggerating a little bit. I suppose I should backtrack anyway, since I wasn’t blogging when the experiment began.

It was almost the end of Lent (a more ominous beginning than “It was a dark and stormy night,” don’t you think?”) and I was sitting around and realized that I wanted to make a change as a parent. I knew that my daughters and I had suddenly gone from my parenting goal of no more than an hour of television a day to having it on constantly. It had only been exacerbated by the purchase of a 46 inch Sony Bravia…a major splurge for my husband and I. Before I knew it, my 22 month old daughter knew every single theme song from Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr. It was time for a change.

So, I turned the TV off. I tried to be realistic, saying that if the girls had a really good day they could watch one video (a 30 minute sing along or the Leap Frog Alphabet Movie) before bed. I could do this…right?

I did do it. I was really proud of myself, my girls, and my husband. We cut back on our television watching during the day time drastically. I was worried less about my husband and myself than I was about my daughters. You hear so much about how bad television is, and I hated the thought that I was hurting them in some way.

And, television made parenting easy. I could sit on the couch and knit, I could read, I could clean…I could do the things that helped keep our house together and me on the sane side (eh…). It made it easy to tune the girls out, and I didn’t want to do that. I was worried that I’d miss something.

But, I wasn’t as happy without the television on some during the day. I felt more anxious, more stressed out, more pressured to be the perfect parent, which I know doesn’t even exist anyway. I felt like a failure when and if I did cave and turn the television on.

So, the great television experiment was, in a way, a big flop. I don’t want to go back to nothing but that one bedtime show. But I know I don’t want to be the mom who leaves the kids in front of the box all day long, either.

I think most of all, what I want is the realization that whatever I do, whatever choices I make about the television or otherwise, that I’m doing the best I can do, and that’s all I can do. My children are resilient. Watching The Lion King three days in a row (maybe even more than once in a day!) isn’t going to scar them for life.

Maybe the great television experiment was more successful than I’d thought. I’ll think on it when we watch Peppa Pig.

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3 thoughts on “The Great Television Experiment

  1. What a perfect piece of research – you had an hypothesis, you tested the hypothesis, you analysed the results and you reached a conclusion – a perfect experiment!!!!

  2. Unless it’s drinking or smoking, I wouldn’t ever completely give up something. Just cut back, but say half and see how it works. Personally i thought I was watching too much sports so I cut back to watching one game of my favorite team and one other important game each week. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t that hard.

  3. I say, God has blessed us 20th Century mothers with a wonderful tool!!! Use it, don’t abuse it!!! I think our sanity should account for something, don’t you? A happy mom makes for a happy family. If you feel the need to clean (or whatever) and can’t have kids underfoot use the tools that you have on hand. For all us knitting moms out there sometimes you just gotta knit to make yourself feel happy! LOL So, sit and watch a good movie with your kids and if you get to knit how can that be bad?

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