Okay, let me start this post by saying that I love watching TV and movies. In fact, if you ask what my ideal Friday night is, I’d say: sushi and a movie on my couch. So when Jimmy was born, I had no idea what to do. There’s so much information out there about how TV can be bad for kids, or how it’s fine in moderation. I never planned to take the tv away altogether though. And then, when Jimmy had developmental delays with his speech, YouTube videos became a catalyst for him to start singing and saying words: TV was actually helping!
Fast forward a bit and we started having nightly battles over turning off the tv and going to bed. It was the worst, because it either ended in tears or me being very tired the next day (often both). This was one of the things I loved about traveling though because TV isn’t really an option when you are on the road. And everyone is too distracted/tired/busy to notice!
So, if you don’t already know, we moved a couple weeks ago and someone (me) forgot to schedule new internet. We were without TV and internet for about ten days because of it and that’s how we found out what kind of an impact TV was having on Jimmy.
Here is everything we learned:
Bedtime became easier
We used to turn the TV on at night as part of the bedtime routine. While it was nice at first, Jimmy ended up being sort of addicted to it and would stay up later and later to keep watching. Now that TV is out of the picture, Jimmy falls asleep much easier at night since he doesn’t have something so stimulating to keep him up. Plus, he is spending his time during the day being more active so he is more ready to sleep at the end of the day.
We started to read A LOT more
TV has always been a crutch for me when I am busy. I turn it on to occupy Jimmy and free up my time. Now that I don’t have that excuse, I’ve found myself spending a ton more time reading with him. And actually we both love it! Jimmy is getting exposure to reading, singing, and all kinds of new words (the same things television provided). But now we are doing it together and engaging in a really fun and productive way. We also read more before bed since he’s no longer watching TV during that time.
Jimmy’s general behavior has hugely improved
This one is so speculative, but I’m very certain I’ve noticed a big difference and can attribute it to getting rid of TV. Before, Jimmy would play with toys while watching tv and it really took his focus away. Now when he plays with his toys, he is much more focused and spends more quality time flexing his imagination muscles. His attention has also really improved since he doesn’t have the TV to distract. He’s been better at engaging in conversations and communicating his wants and needs to us.
We have more time for outdoor activities
With the added time since we decided to take the TV away, I found that we’re much more likely to go outdoors. Instead, we’ll head for the beach or take a walk or hike. It can get really monotonous living in an apartment, playing with the same toys every day (at least for the adults). Now, we spend more time at the park too. Especially since Jimmy loves a good slide, he’ll spend hours there getting in some great exercise. And the rest of the family is getting more outside time too!
What we’re thinking for the future
Since the results were so drastic, we’ve decided to keep the TVs off whenever Jimmy is home and awake. When he gets a bit older, we’ll probably introduce it in the form of weekend movie nights or something. For now though, I’m just happy to see the improvement. And because Jimmy is a normal toddler and flying is tough, we definitely still break out the iPad whenever we’re on a flight!
If you’ve been thinking about trying to take the TV away, I really recommend it! And I’d love to hear how it worked for you!