Thursday, December 10, 2009

The (Accidental) Great TV Experiment

Last April Ella got her ears pierced (because she was constantly sticking things IN her ears trying to get them ON her ears -- I figured ear piercing was better than a trip to the ER!). She hasn't let me touch her ears since. This past weekend my mom bought her a new pair of Snow White earrings hoping Ella would let us change her earrings. On Sunday I got one earring changed amidst much crying and screaming. Then she refused to let me put the other earring in.

So I drew a line in the sand: no TV until she lets me put the other earring in.

I'm not a big fan of TV to begin with and Ella watches exactly 1.5 hours per day (Dinosaur Train and Sesame Street on PBS). I really could care less if she never watches TV again so this was a line I was willing to draw.

For the first two days Ella asked constantly to watch TV. The answer remained the same: If you let me put in your other earring, you can watch TV. She would say no and walk away. By day three she stopped asking to watch TV asking only once per day. Today is day 5 of no TV. I have one stubborn little girl!

My husband and I have been absolutely amazed by the changes in our daughter in only a few short days of no TV. "They" tell you TV is bad for kids. I'm here to tell you that "they" weren't kidding.

Ella can be cranky, stubborn, ornery and strong-willed. Since the TV has been off she's been delightful! She's happy. She's cheery. She's a down right pleasure to have around! I find myself stopping what I'm doing to sit down and play with her because she is just so much FUN! I don't know what it is but there something in TV that makes her not fun to be around. We noticed certain attitudes and words in shows we don't like so we banned them (do you have any idea how many times Charlie Brown's friends call him stupid?!?! It's amazing!). But this is something totally different that I just can't explain except that Ella is just in a much better mood.

This morning as the clock ticked later and later, I realized that Ella, who is usually up between 6 and 6:30 AM with a 7 PM bedtime, is sleeping later. She has not woken up before 7 AM since the TV was banned. Most mornings she is not up until 7:30 AM. I could tell that she was tired when she was waking up earlier, but I had no idea how to get her more rested. Now, I know!

So what has Ella been doing? Nothing abnormal -- just more of the stuff she did when not watching TV. She spent 30 minutes one morning sitting in her bed quietly reading books. She pretend plays with her Little People and her dolls. She builds a lot of buildings with her blocks and then screams when her little brother knocks them over. She's been sitting at the table with me in the morning while I do paperwork "writing" her name and cutting out "coupons" (seriously, that kid will spend hours cutting up paper!).

Yesterday... she let me READ to her. THREE BOOKS! Ella prefers to read books herself and I think I've read maybe three books to her in the three years she's been alive.

I've been posting about this unintended experiment on my Facebook page and a lot of moms are thinking of trying this out with their own kids. GO FOR IT! Turn the TV off for a week or two and see what happens. This is the perfect time of year for it. There are a million holiday crafts out there to do. You can bake. You can sing Christmas carols (something else we've been doing a lot of this week!). Go to the library and get some holiday books to read together. When it gets dark, drive around looking at all the lights. Make some hot cocoa to bring along for the ride.

And if you decide to take the leap and turn off the TV -- let me know if you saw a change in your little one, too!

1 Thoughts From Others:

The Campbell Family said...

I notice a definite change in my oldest when he Odoes get to watch TV. Unfortunately, going without doesn;t make him any better. Wish it had the same effect as Ella!

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