Our July One Small Change is probably the scariest one of the year: TV-free Tuesdays. In the way of Meatless Mondays, this change is meant to decrease consumption of energy, but it also serves another, possibly more important, purpose.
Before I had kids, I had proposed to Craig that we get rid of our TV all together, or at least get rid of our cable service. I had full intentions of not letting our children watch TV. Ever. Craig did not think ditching the tube was a good (or sane) idea, and so the tv remained.
Now, two kids later, there is more tv watching going on in my house than I would have ever imagined, and it’s my fault. With a two year old and a three year old underfoot, TV has become a tool. My dad came to visit a few weeks ago. “I don’t know how you get anything done during the day. It seems like they both decide together when they’re going to misbehave or stop listening to you,” he said. A couple hours later, both of the kids were parked in front of a DVD movie, motionless. Dad had his camera out and was taking pictures of them. “This,” I said, holding up the TV remote, “is how I get things done.”
The studies all show that TV is bad for kids, dropping IQ scores and upping body fat percentages. I find comfort in the advice my Mom gave me when Carina was a toddler: “If you get to the end of the day, and you have things you need to get done, it’s ok to turn on the TV.” The problem is that my kids are waking up with TV, twice a day. It’s the first thing they ask for in the morning, and also after nap. Callen will even say, “Let me watch a show to make me feel better” if he is sad or hurt.
So, I’ve designated Tuesdays as our No TV days. To be quite honest, I don’t know if I will be able to keep this one going. I am cheating this month. I didn’t just choose Tuesday because it sounds nice with “TV”. We have a very busy schedule on Tuesdays this month, so if I make it through the hour and a half of at-home time in the morning with no TV, I’m pretty much safe. It will be a different story in August when all our extracurricular activities end and we’ll be left to entertain ourselves. Often the kids have no problems entertaining themselves, but when they are out of control or trashing the house, it is I who reaches for the remote.
Oh, yes, and then there’s that energy savings thing I mentioned, too. Because when our TV is on, our Satellite box is on too, along with the amplifier, and speakers, and sometimes the DVD player too, and maybe even the v-smile video game. So, skipping one day of TV a week probably won’t save enough electricity to be noticeable on our bill, but that’s why it’s called One SMALL Change, right? Only this one doesn’t feel so small.