I really don’t know if I’m ready to admit this. Right here. On my blog. For the whole world to see. But… Here it goes…. My husband and I love TV. There. I said it. We enjoy binge watching a drama on Netflix or watching the Friends series for the ten-thousandth time. We often choose to watch TV instead of play a board game or finish a long-forgotten project in the garage. We hate to miss Wheel of Fortune, and movie nights, with popcorn and pop, are a very inexpensive date. So…my husband and I love TV.
Since the birth of our son, I do my absolute best to make sure he does not watch TV. I keep it off throughout the day when I am home with him, and I absolutely never put on a show just for him to watch. However, we still fail miserably in this area because we hate to miss the news or Wheel of Fortune, and sometimes he wakes up late in the evening when we are in the middle of a movie, and sometimes I am bored in the afternoon, so I turn on The Doctors, and sometimes I watch the Today Show or Kelly and Michael for some company. So, yes, my son watches TV.
I always try to get through the self-checkout at Target as quickly as possible. You may assume this is because I have a young son who, by the end of a shopping excursion, has escalated his noise level to inappropriate decibels. You may also assume that, like many, I love the convenience of the self-checkout, but hate the constant anxiety that ensues when I use it. I mean, honestly, sometimes I feel like the menacing self-checkout voice is just plain out to get me, or she just really, really thinks I am going to shoplift something. Okay. Scan the item and place it immediately into a bag, so I do not get yelled at by the voice. Please place item in the bag. It is in the bag. Please place the item in the bag. It is in the bag! Please call for assistance. Okay. Stay calm. Just wave over the self-checkout-helper-person. Stay calm.
However, the real reason I try to make the self-checkout process relatively quick is because my son never takes his eyes off the screen. As my items and their prices pop up one-by-one and the menacing voice expresses the price of each item, my son stares at the screen, unblinking, seemingly unaware of any other activity taking place around him.
My son has loved screens–I truly believe much more than the average child–since he was old enough to notice the TV in our living room. This causes me to be dangerously obsessed with how many screens my son comes into contact with each day, and let me tell you, it is A LOT.
Through the course of one day, my little boy’s attention is diverted to a screen of some kind countless times. Let’s review a day in his life. Because I have the news on in the morning, our television screen is the first thing he sees when he ventures into the living room to find his toys. He watches, fully entranced by the monitor, as I disarm our security system to let the dog out. I try so hard to stay off the phone in front of him; however, throughout the course of the morning, he reaches for the screen on my phone as I check the weather, call his dad, and answer a text from his Grandma.
My son has more interaction with screens when we go to our favorite pizza joint for lunch where he is immediately enraptured by Sports Center above our table. Then, we go get groceries where he becomes entranced by the monitor on the self-checkout or the screen above the cash register. When he wakes from his nap, he curiously walks over to the computer that I left carelessly on the floor while I was blogging. Even when he is at the park, he never fails to notice the mom on the bench next to me who uses her phone like a lifeline to survive one hour at the park with her child.
This is just one day in the life of my son, and he never misses a screen. He is such a curious little boy that he learned from a young age, there is something entertaining and important about these screens, because the adults around him are constantly captivated by them. I feel a twinge of guilt every single time I see my son looking at a screen. This is because I have seen the way they run our lives, the way kids live for them, even more so when they become old enough to make the choice–they always choose the screen.
I will never be that guy who does not allow TV in her home. I will never be that guy who never watches it. However, my husband and I are going to attempt to raise our children in a television-free environment for the first three years of their lives. This would mean that we no longer watch the news or Wheel of Fortune until our son goes to sleep. This would mean that I can no longer turn to the TV when I am bored in the afternoon, waiting for my husband to get home. This would mean that we no longer depend on the TV when our son is not only awake, but disturbingly hyper, at 3:30 in the morning.
No TV until they are three. Just saying this makes me cringe. It is going to take an incredible amount of willpower for me, and even more for my husband. However, I want my children to grow up in a world outside of cell phones, tablets, and television. I want them to learn by doing, not just watching. I want them to turn to books when they are bored. When my children are teenagers, I do not want the center of my living room to be the television, so I want to give them a fighting chance by keeping them away from it as long as I am able.
So, please wish me luck! If anyone has any great tips for keeping little ones out of trouble and away from the TV, comment below 🙂