no more tv

9:10 AM

Most of the time it feels as if the internet is only good for making you buy things you probably don't need, bad advice and making you feel generally less than. But every once in a while a post comes along that pushes just the right buttons and forces you to make a much needed change.
I posted both here and on instagram the struggles that we've been having with Birdie and her very toddler like behavior. I got so much amazing advice and book recommendations, it was truly overwhelming. We've read some of the books and put much of the advice to use and we've seen some huge improvements. Maybe one of these days I'll write about what finally worked for us but at this moment I'm just holding my breath and letting it all play out. However, one thing I do want to talk about is a big change we made that very same week.
There were a few people that suggested cutting out tv for Birdie but it wasn't until I read Courtney's post of Babyccinno Kids that I felt like it was a non-negotiable. I've always enjoyed Courtney's posts and her instagram feed because she has a way of sharing about raising her four kids in a very relaxed, down to earth and relatable way. Her post stayed with me all day and made me question just how much I had come to rely on the tv with Birdie.
It started innocently enough a 30 minute show in the mornings. Then we added a show in the afternoon. Eventually, once I realized how much I can get done when she was zonked out in front of the tv I started letting her watch it whenever she felt like it which turned into two and sometimes... three hours a day. After I delivered Teddy I relied on it even more as it gave me the opportunity to nurse him in peace and deal with his meltdowns. We would let her watch in the car when she got fussy, in restaurants, in the shopping cart... even as I'm writing this I'm realizing that it was practically all the time.
Now before you think I'm going to get all self-righteous on you and tell you that tv will turn your child into a monster (it definitely won't and I will be the first one to admit that sometimes times it's just necessary for your sanity because a sane mummy is better than a perfect one) let me tell you the biggest lesson I learned once we took it away - it made her more independent. Ironic no? I was using tv as a crutch to get her off my hands and less reliant on me without realizing that it was only making things worse. For close to two years now my husband and I would bemoan the fact that we would buy her such nice toys, created a wonderful playroom for her and yet she rarely used any of these things. Her playroom pretty much always looked pristine and untouched and other than a handful of toys here and there she rarely played with any of them. And on the rare occasions that she did she would demand assistance and basically make you play for her while she watched. And even with all the tv watching her attention span would last about fifteen minutes after which time she would proceed to fuss and whine.
Guess what happened when we took tv away??? She learned how to play by herself!! I couldn't believe the change we saw in just one week. Every day now she tears her playroom apart playing with every single toy, reading every book and coloring in every page of her notebook. Just the other day I was doing some work in the living room while listening to her play with her toy kitchen completely by herself in the playroom for close to an hour. She also started reading her books to her doggie and play house with him - putting him to sleep, rocking him, changing his diaper or feeding him. I actually have more time for myself now than I ever did before!

^ I snapped some of these without her knowledge when I would peek into her playroom ^

Now for the sake of complete transparency I will share some of the negatives that we ran into. One area that is still tricky is mealtime. In the past I would always put on a show for her while I made her food as it made the job much easier. Now she follows me to the kitchen and pesters me incessantly requesting a bite of every single item in the fridge. It makes meal prep twice as long but it's a small price to pay. As far as how we cut it out, we just went cold turkey. The first two days there were some pretty ugly meltdowns but by the third day she was no longer asking for it. Now we'll still have an episode (about once a week) where she will demand the tv but they are rare and don't even lead to meltdowns. So for us the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
It's been so nice to have quiet in our house again and not hear Mickey's high pitched yell emanating from the living room at all times. Instead I hear her sweet voice or the sound of her toy pots and pans clanging around. As far as more subtle differences go I've noticed that her creativity has grown by leaps and bounds and she's become much more interested in pretend play than she used to be. And I don't know if I'm misattributing things but she just seems happier in general. Just this morning she was playing with her sticker book on the coffee table and gently swaying to the music playing in the living room for a half hour straight and it was the sweetest sight I've ever seen.

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3 notes

  1. I have an almost 6 month old and when she was born my husband and I decided no tv. Our family is not too pleased with our decision but I will be showing them your post to show how no tv really can make a difference! Thank you so much for sharing!

    On a completely different note, I would love to see a post of a "tour" of Birdie's playroom! As my daughter gets see I want to turn our basement into a playroom and I would love ideas!

    1. Good for you! You know what is right for your child and your family, don't worry everyone else will see the light sooner or later :). It will be so worth it!
      I'm so glad you asked about the playroom! I think I will work on that this weekend!

  2. Tanechka, I'm so happy making this change worked out for you! And that it was a pretty easy transition too :) Cheers! ~ Lina


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