Many of you take great interest in our tv-free household . To recap for new readers, we have been tv-free for almost a year now. North has seen a handful of children's videos in that time and a couple Thomas the Tank episodes at his Grandparents but that is about it.
In our last update I told you on a few occasions North had gotten his grubby little hands on a dvd at the library and had suckered me into bringing it home. After one viewing I usually hid the dvd and told him I had returned it for another child to bring home. But in the past few months we haven't been doing that either.
Becoming tv-free is kind of an addiction. Suddenly you become such a purist, a total snob about the stuff your child is exposed to. I suppose because North rarely watches television, when he does it is glaringly obvious how much of it he absorbs and mimics yet clearly doesn't really intellectually or emotionally understand. The last video I let him watch was Bambi and for days afterwards he'd say things like, "I don't want the dogs to chase me with their teeth like Bambi" or "Where is Bambi's Mama? Did the man take her?" or "That's a bunny like Thumper" or "That's a deer like Bambi". You can see why the first two comments are disturbing (bad call by me letting him watch something with such emotional height), but the second two are an example of how television stunts his imagination. When he sees pictures of deer in other contexts they are no longer mystical forest creatures but have been pigeon-holed to be "just like Bambi". The same goes for simpler and happier shows like the Wiggles. He watched one of those dvds about five months ago and for two months afterwards any red car we saw was "Like the Wiggle's big red car, Mama!".
The other problem with dipping our toes in the video pond was that television is a serious drug for the child. North would zone out (as if on a high) completely, the show would end and he'd immediately ask for more (as though his high were plummeting), have a mini meltdown because I said no and then for days afterwards beg over and over to watch the tv ("just a little bit, Mama").
And so, after not much thought, we have cut out absolutely any screen time whatsoever.
My parenting style is what some like to call, "wacky" and what I like to call "different", but of all the choices I have made for my children and our family so far, this is the one I am most sure of, am most proud of and the one from which I can truly see and experience the positive effects.
You can read more about our tv-free journey here and here with some ideas on just what to do with your little one instead of popping him in front of the screen. Tricia from Little Eco Footprints also has some wonderful ideas on how to cut screen time here and here.
If you are curious about the benefits of going tv-free and about just how detrimental television is for children please brave the following for some more educated insight.
Children's TV Watching linked to Early Puberty, Dr Laura Markham