Monday, February 1, 2010

The Experiment

My kids are addicts.

TV addicts, that is.

We don't have cable - on purpose - in a misguided attempt to avoid the electronic babysitter.  There is not a wide variety of shows they watch:  the Nilsen kids suffer from deep seated fear of conflict and scary-sounding music, and as such shows like Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny, and even the feature-length Clifford movie are out.  So there's a steady diet of Max & Ruby, Martha Speaks, Curious George, and a smattering of Pingu or Pink Panther when we're feeling saucy.

The rotation of shows did get a bit heavy during the Christmas break, I will admit.  And I tried to rationalize it away - it is stress management [mine], they need their downtime [coma time?], it's PBS - that's educational, right?  

But when I started getting extra kisses from my 4 year old to sweeten me up, before springing a request for TV on me, I started to get mad.  When the baby started to associate her potty time with TV watching, I started to get self-conscious.  And when an episode of Pink Panther came on and my 1st grader said "oh Mommy, you have GOT to watch this, this episode is hysterical!" I knew that change was a'coming.

Those winds of change turned into a mighty gale:  we're turning off the TV for a month. 

Hey, I'm not shy.  I'll turn my kids into a social experiment at the drop of a hat.

So if you can't beat 'em, join em: I sold it to them as an episode from Sid the Science KidHey guys!  Haven't you ever wondered what Mommy & Daddy did when we were kids and there was no TV and no computers and no cell phones?  Well, we're going to try it!  We're going to investigate what it was like to live with no TV!

We made a chart for our investigations:

Exceptions are noted:  Olympics, Parties and Friends Houses

Whilst I don't think the 'experiment' angle is fooling anyone, I think they are cautiously curious.  I think they are wondering just now nuts they'll have to get before Mommy cracks and turns on Maryland Public Television at top volume while she curls up on the floor, a weeping mess.

I'll keep you posted, readers.  If my post begins 'I am typing in the fetal position on the floor' you'll know The Experiment isn't going as well as planned.


Jen C said...

I'm sorry. It's late and I'm exhausted so I must not have read that word right. Did you type a MONTH by mistake? Not a couple hours, a few days or even (gasp) a week?

Cheryl said...

Oh, honey, I really think you have LOST YOUR MIND! First, we DID have TV and computers when we were kids. Well, my brother had a computer when we were teenagers. Anyway - you know this means you will be the sole entertainment for your children, right? RIGHT?!?! Oh wait - you didn't say turn off the COMPUTER for a month. That'd be a whole other ballgame...

kirsten said...

I was ONLY EVER allowed to watch Sesame Street, or Mr Rogers if we missed SS. Mr Nilsen's parents didn't buy a TV until HE WAS SIXTEEN. (They rented one for the Olympics every 4 yrs. !!!!!!!!)

you think I'm hard core, you want to talk to my inlaws.

I think the idea is that they learn to entertain themselves/each other. Funny, right?

Anonymous said...

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!!! When Carin (at 2 or 3) told some friend "My Mama says TV will turn your brains to scrambled eggs", I knew the point was made! Good luck and I think it's a great idea.

Lori-Anne said...

Good for you Kirsten, I am SOOOO behind you on this! Growing up we watched a LOT of TV, even though my mum was pretty strict about what we watched. Now, a lot of my childhood memories revolve around kids shows, sitcoms, soap operas, talk shows and movies and how lame is that?! As a result, we keep our cable-free TV packed away and just haul it out for the occasional movie (for us) or the small handful of videos we let Oliver watch once or twice a week. But Cheryl is right - it does put the onus on me to be more entertaining (at least at this stage) and I need to take as strong a stance with my computer time as I do with the TV!!

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