My Battle With The Idiot Box

My life was ruled by the television when I was a child. Thankfully, till I was around 10 there weren’t any satellite channels available and there was nothing like cable television. I loved watching movies, and a few shows on TV.

 

I have always been an above average student, very good in extra-curricular activities and loved reading books as well… So no one really complained at home. My parents were happy till the time I was getting nice grades and piles of certificates for debates, dramatics and dance. I was happy as I was allowed to choose what I wanted to do in my spare time.

Now I realise, I missed out on a lot of things. I didn’t take out much time for friends, outdoor activities and socialising. When I was not doing anything related to school or reading a book, I was  only watching TV. As I realised this, I make sure Zoe has lots of things to choose from when she gets bored. TV should be one of the options but not the only one.

This needed a lot of hard work, not on Zoe’s part but on mine. Being a TV Junkie and a movie buff, I had to bring down my time in front of the screen to a minimal. It was not easy, but once I take a decision, I generally stick to it. The next challenge was convincing the husband. His parenting approach is ‘let the child be…’ and I have no problem with that. We never stopped Zoe from watching TV, rather we limited our TV time.

Now for my 2.5 year old, TV means an hour of Barney in the morning besides a couple of minutes of what mamma watches in the evening. A couple of days back, I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right. Then it struck me, when one day Zoe missed her afternoon nap and sat beside me while I was watching a movie.

She watched the movie with me for about 10 minutes. Then she got off the couch picked her books and started reading to herself (she obviously doesn’t read yet, she mimics her parents). It was then I realised that this always happens. If we are watching anything which is not of her interest she does not sit in front of the TV for long.

So, I was right in what I was doing. I just need to go on like this and Zoe will hopefully have more things she can do in her spare time. I really don’t know if this approach works for everyone, like it worked for me.

Do you have a better idea to keep the TV time limited? Am I being too harsh because eventually it should be her decision to do what she wants… Isn’t it?

A story-teller, a Communication Trainer, a Parenting Blogger, a wife to her best friend and mum to the most adorable 2-year-old – Zoe. Falak Randerian, plays many roles, her favorite Being Zoe’s Mom. She runs story telling & communication workshop for kids My Little Chatterbox. You can read her personal blog Being Zoe’s Mom and her parenting website which she runs along with her elder sister www.momsters.in . 

  • We don’t watch TV. We have disconnected the Tata Sky connection, which is only activated when either set of parents visit because they cannot live without TV. I had a phase when I would watch TV for 2-3 hours and repent that I wasted so much time doing something unproductive. Slowly, I distanced myself from TV. Now for last couple of years, I don’t even realize I have a TV at home which I can switch ON. I would not say I am being harsh on my son. He is 21 months old now. TV is not part of his daily routine as it is not ours. We do show him few Rhymes on Tab once in a while. There are friends who have done this before. So, I know it is OK. I am most skeptical about letting him watch those stupid advertisements which push all sorts of products on kids.

    • Can’t think of completely cutting off the connection. That would be harsh on us not on Zoe, she is least bothered. 🙂

  • I am uncomfortable about the songs my 19 month old likes! While the good, thoughtful mother in me wants him to watch the magnificent animals on Nat Geo and / or laugh at Jerry’s antics, he has little patience for the two! At times when I have to leave home for work, I have to resort to switching on the TV for him to divert his mind. But with Tata Sky + I have recorded Blu, Cars and Baby’s Day Out. He has shown a liking for animation movies…anything better than watching ‘Fevicol Se’!

    • Absolutely, I prefer showing age appropriate things on DVD to her than these meaningless songs.

      • I am aghast at people tuning in to item songs for kid parties. Why? Why? Why? After being a mother, I am no longer amused by little ones dancing to songs way beyond their age. And therefore, I also used to hate a lot of children’s dance shows.

        • I swear, and the worst part is the costume, makeup, steps, expressions everything is so ‘adult like’. I can’t stand it.

  • Thank God that my kid has lost her interest in Tv and her screen time is couple of curious george movies only which I feel she seems less interested now a days. I agree being a TV addict it was hard to cut down on our TV time but somehow even I managed to come out of it now.

    • It isn’t that tough, if you are able to convince ur partner. 🙂 For me that was the toughest part.

        • Gosh…these ‘kids reality shows’ are such a tun offs. I don’t really understand what goes on in the mind of those parents who pushes their kids to that level. Encouraging & approving a kid is different but i even saw parents bursting into tears when their kids were not selected…I mean what kind of message they are passing onto their kids??

  • WE had no TV time till Vevi was 2. After that , I let her see 10 minutes of DVDs. So she knows what to pick up and see and I get total control over the content. My own TV time is during her sleeping times or none at all. Its a huge lifestlye change but I see that she can do much more play and rely on her own imagination to come up with something to entertain herself..
    Till now it works for us, lets see as she grows up and peer pressure plays a part.

    • Absolutely. Let’s see how things shape up.