Family: Unplugged

May 5th, 2011

We have made a conscious decision as parents to limit our kids’ exposure to “screens.”  And by “limit,” I mean “virtually eliminate.”  While Miss Mouse does enjoy looking at pictures on the computer and watching the occasional home video clip, that’s pretty much it.  We don’t watch Dora or Blues Clues or even Sesame Street, and when our pediatrician tried to distract Miss Mouse by asking her questions about various Disney Princesses, she got only a blank stare for her efforts.  Miss Mouse has no idea who Ariel is.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am extremely satisfied with this decision.  I love that we read, and sing, and play outside together rather than vegging out in front of the boob tube.  But there are some days, when it is really exhausting to be an “unplugged” family.  Days when Buggie is cranky and Miss Mouse is wired but bored and Josh and I are bone tired from a long day of work and I find myself thinking how nice it would be to pop in a movie and plonk her down in front of it.
But it’s exactly that instinct — to use the TV as a temporary baby-sitter — that leads to precisely the type of screen habits I want to avoid: mindless, glassy-eyed zombie watching that is way way too common in our country (and not just among children!).
And so we rally.  We put on some music, hold hands and sing.  Or dance.  Or do puzzles.  Or paint pictures.  Or play “Mommy is sleeping let’s all be quiet…”  Some day, I look forward to watching movies with my kids.  But for now, I’m glad that Miss Mouse thinks “Sleeping Beauty” is just something I call her in the mornings when she wakes later than usual!

One response to “Family: Unplugged”

  1. Isa says:

    I think that this is one of the best decisions you've made. It's really creepy to me to watch a toddler staring endlessly at the tv, even if it is sesame street, and ignoring everything else. I just hope we're able to be so diligent–my laziness might set in and then we'll all be stuck singing along to Blues Clues…

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