Stay connected to Common Sense
Get the latest in kids’ media, tech, and news right to your inbox
Diary of TV-Free Mom: Day 1 - A Groggy Morning
The first morning of our TV-free week didn't go exactly as planned. Despite extensive preparations -- including several new books from the library, audio books, kid-friendly podcasts, art projects, and bowls of cereal set out the night before -- my husband and I still didn't get the sleeping-in time that comes with Saturday morning cartoons.
While the kids' initial reaction to screen-free week had been filled with mournful sobs and emphatic declarations of "That’s a bad plan!" -- they soon built up excitement around the idea. I think that might have had something to do with how early they woke up.
6:14 a.m. As I stumbled through the dining room to hook up the iPod for my son, my daughter was already engrossed in a book. "I love reading!" she said. If the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood had been there filming a reality show, this would have been their golden moment.
6:17 a.m. Back in bed, the covers pulled over my head, when my son -- who's 4 -- comes in to ask for help putting his headphones on. He puts the Pinky Dinky Doo podcast on and goes back to the living room, this time leaving the door open so my husband and I can hear everything the kids say to each other.
6:32 a.m. My daughter comes in for help with her finger-knitting project. She can’t get the yarn tied around her finger. I help. She leaves.
6:33 a.m. She comes back in because she’s forgotten how exactly to finger knit. I show her how to wrap the yarn around her finger and pull one loop over the other. She gets the hang of it but decides she wants to sit on top of me while she finishes her project. My husband and I urge her to go back to her room. She protests. We insist, etc.
6:40 a.m. My daughter finally leaves the room. I pull the covers back over my head. I drift off.
6:45 a.m. My son comes in to get help opening up the CD case for one of the audio books. He leaves.
6:46 a.m. He comes back in to ask which book goes with the CD. I tell him. He leaves. The morning continues like this, though we eventually get a blissful 20 minutes of peace when both kids are building a spider web of yarn in their bedroom. But since my son has left our bedroom door open, we can hear every word they say to each other, including arguments. Still, it’s better than nothing.
7:11 a.m. I finally get up. There’s only so much choppy sleep I can handle before it feels like absolute torture.
My husband and I definitely miss the more peaceful TV-filled Saturday morning. But seeing the kids so excited about books and creative projects is rewarding. Also, this experience may have inspired my son to quit a bad habit. He’s been saying "weird" non-stop -- about everything from what we serve for breakfast to pretty much anything his sister says. But this morning he tells me this is also "weird-free week."
With the rest of the day filled with out-of-the-house plans, we don’t miss the TV much. Our next challenge will be how we deal with the early evening, when my husband and I often use the TV to deflect any pre-dinner meltdowns.