If you also have looked at Fatherville.com, you might have gotten Michael Farrell’s tip of the week about limiting TV watching. Hey, I’m all for that, but eliminating the TV would take the commitment of a zealot, or the patience of a saint. Sometimes, the kids, like adults, need some down time. For example, right now, my six year-old daughter is on the second day of the flu. How I wish she were involved in imaginative play or perhaps working on her chess openings. It was also she could do yesterday to keep the moaning volume down low enough to hear the TV, which I said she could do all day. Yes, ALL DAY.
On the other hand, just like for adults, a 100% diet of American Idol and CSI can make you dull as dryer lint. That’s why we limit TV to a few PBS shows and a still fairly short list of approved movies. And to keep that supply fresh, especially if you don’t have added cable stations or watching times don’t coincide with preferred programs, you still have several options:
- Plan daily trips to the local video store and keep those DVDs coming.
- Buy a TIVO or ReplayTV. We have a ReplayTV and love it. It easily records multiple versions of Connie the Cow and Charlie and Lola, which just wait quietly on the hard drive for when the kids are ready to watch. Whenever we want to stop the TV for dinner or an outing, my daughter always confirms, “are we recording this?” and when she gets the answer she wants, she is happy to walk away with no crying. ReplayTV, as the underdog in the ongoing PVR (Personal Video Recorder) battle, offers “free” pricing from time to time, with only a subscription fee to pay. The other great thing is that third party software like mReplay for Mac allows you to copy kids shows easily on to a Mac laptop to show the kiddies while traveling.
- Subscribe to Netflix DVD Rentals and always have supply of DVDs on hand. We haven’t done this, but I know plenty of people now who swear by Netflix.
I certainly don’t advocate a lot of TV watching, but we try to teach our kids moderation in everything. TV is like the random ice cream cone and they know it. It’s not for every day, but appreciated when it’s permitted.