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shanajo
12-27-2010, 10:57 AM
I'm planning on banning TV and video games during the week once our xmas break is over. Although, I am planning on allowing occasional educational shows and games that have educational value, and that I decide on. (Such as Starfall for my 4 year old and maybe a bit of Civ 5 for my 9 year old as she got the game for xmas as she's really learning a lot from it already.)

The Wii and computer games have become all consuming to my kids, and it is driving me nuts. For full disclosure, I was firmly in the "no video games allowed" camp for years. Even when I was growing up I hated them and saw no value in them. Of course, I'm not so firm in that belief now, and having a husband who has been a gamer since junior high has softened me on the issue.

I am just seeing how addicting these video games can be, not to mention the TV. My kids were never huge TV watchers and these days our only available TV is what we can watch through instant Netflix downloads. However, what's been happening is they are begging to play the Wii and computer games all day long. If we finish a lesson the first thing out of their mouths is, "Can I play Wii now?" If I tell them we aren't playing video games at this time they immediately ask to watch something on Netflix. They are craving this constant screen input and while I don't think things are out of control right now, I can see things heading that way.

Thankfully my husband is on board with my plan. I'm even thinking of making them earn video game and TV time during the week, to be used on the weekends. I'm not sure on that yet. My boys are going to be not-so-happy with me when they find out about my new video game and TV plan. I think the girls will be okay with it, although it will be an adjustment.

Have you implemented a no TV or video game rule of any kind in your house, either now or in the past? If so, how has it worked for your family?

Busygoddess
12-27-2010, 11:47 AM
We don't have video games at all here. We do have several DVD games, but those are generally used only on family game nights or when we have company. I do monitor screen time, though. Each day, the kids can watch 2 hours of educational TV and up to an hour of non-educational TV. They also get an hour of educational computer use & up to an hour of non-educational computer time. I make some exceptions for computer time if dd needs more time for her schoolwork (if I think the need is legit).
After they've finished half their school, done half their chores, & read for at least 30 min, they can either have their non-educational TV or computer time. THey can have the other after the rest of their school is done, their chores are done, & they've read for at least 60 min. That way, the non-educational stuff is being earned by doing chores & educational stuff. Also, attitude is a determining factor. If they do their school & chores, but have a bad attitude about it, they won't get the non-ed TV or computer time.

The kids are fine with it. I think a big part of that is the fact that screen time has always been monitored. Sometime's we've allowed TV before school, sometimes not until after school is done. We've never banned TV completely on school days, though.

With all that said, the TV is on a lot in our house. We don't watch it most of the day, but either the TV is on or there is music playing all day. Silence is not welcome in this house - I have to have background noise at all times.

hockeymom
12-27-2010, 01:03 PM
We didn't have any video games until last year, when we got a wii. DS is pretty good about limiting himself, with the exception of when he gets a new game (like for Christmas). When that happens I try to give him lots of time with it for a few days, so the magic wears off. Then he'll often go for weeks without even thinking about the wii, so I don't stress about it much. We definitely won't be getting any other systems; he wouldn't be able to be quiet long enough to play them anyway.

DS really only likes educational TV and watches a lot of National Geographic and Discovery, usually on demand because he doesn't like commercials. It's great down time for him and he learns so much, I really don't worry about it. It's pretty much the only time in the day that he's not talking and needing attention, so it's sort of time off for me too. :)

That said, I have no problems with taking the wii away if he doesn't turn it off as soon as I ask him to, and he's well aware that I'll be good on my word. He doesn't spend much time independently on the computer unless he's doing his "research" (taking notes on car information) or playing educational games. Both of those activities are skill building and limited so I don't really have to monitor it yet.

TamaraNC
12-27-2010, 01:30 PM
We took away public-schooled DS14's laptop two months ago because he was so consumed by video games and chatting. He was angry about it for a couple of weeks, but after a month he admitted to me that he liked having the time to do other things -- like music, art, etc. We're planning on giving it back to him after the New Year for 30 minutes per day, after homework, afterschool work, and chores are done, and only if he's had a good attitude. HSed DD7 and DS5 only think to ask for computer time on weekends (we do a small amount of weekday HS work online), and I limit them to PBSkids. The little kids can watch up to an hour of educational TV during the day, and then all three get to pick one half-hour TV show in the evening. We don't have a gaming system, but I have considered a Wii, which would only come out on yucky-weather days when we can't go outside.

If only I could limit my own nonproductive computer and late-night TV time...

dbmamaz
12-27-2010, 02:38 PM
We are a serious gamer family. I'm not always happy about it (ok, i spend hours berating myself over it), but dh has always been a SERIOUS gamer - baseball stat games and war strategy games as a kid, a rated chess player in canada as a young adult, and soon after we got together, World of Warcraft. I have always had a love-hate relationship with games, where I love them but get very puritan on myself saying its a waste of time and I should be doing something productive.

Well, first the kids started playing WOW w hubby, and then the youngest (who was 4?) wanted to try. He was struggling, so i helped . . . and before I knew it, 4 yo had wandered off and I was glued to the screen. I was still working then, and I actually cried because I didnt have time to play. DH promised to find me time to play . . . and it turned out to be the biggest shared activity dh and I have.

So . .. we cant eliminate games. And i must admit, games are a big motivator for my youngest (my only late reader) to read.

But there are SOME limits. During school days, there are no non-educational electronics during 'school' hours - which is whenever I say it starts (around 10:30), to whenever we are done (usually around 2:30 or 3 for the younger, and 30-60 minutes later for the older one). Although sometimes when i'm exhausted from martail arts, i give in for a gaming break. But i'm hoping to get back on a better schedule after this break - which is 2 full weeks of free gaming time!

Stella M
12-27-2010, 04:26 PM
I know how you feel. However...I take a slightly different approach. I haven't banned any tv/games, just put a timer next to the computer and explained to ds that he needs to view/play in 30 minute stretches and then do something different so that his eyes and body aren't affected by close screen, sedentary activity. And I try to stay involved and interested in his hobby - even though I was anti-games/computer/tv - so I stay close to him. Ideally, there would be so many amazing non-screen things to do at our house that he wouldn't always be choosing the screen. We're not quite there yet. The Scientific Homeschooler had a good post on this recently.

Banning and enforcing bans takes a lot of time away from a relationship, which is why I'm not going that way. I do try to model and encourage producing content online/screen rather than simply consuming content and that seems to be working.

Ds does know he needs to eat, dress, clean teeth etc before computer time. In term time it's up for discussion whether he goes on before doing school work.

I personally would prefer it if he was outside climbing trees all day. So I hear what you're saying.

In terms of 'addiction', I heard an interesting idea on the radio last night. It's not so much an addiction, because there's no biological component, more of a learnt behaviour - play computer game, get a reward (winning the game etc) - then the brain begins to crave the reward state. So the child wants to play again.

laundrycrisis
12-27-2010, 06:06 PM
Games - I am married to a gamer. So it is difficult/impossible for me to ban them totally, forever. However we have gone through some periods when I did totally ban Xbox games - the latest time for six whole months. This was tough. I took the games and hid them so that not even my husband knew where they were. He agreed that our youngest son's behavior was so extremely affected by them that it was necessary. We are just off this ban and I am going with "limits" and seeing how it works out this time. We do not have a Wii and do not want one. Our kids also do not have any sort of handheld electronic devices. I have enough challenges with DS1's attention issues that I cannot handle competing with a device like that - plus they are not old enough to care for one without destroying it anyway - and we both agree we want them playing real games together, not electronic ones on a dinky screen (which also would not be good for DS1's vision issues.).

TV - they watch stuff the Tivo records. Mostly Phineas and Ferb and Jacob Two-Two. The TV shows really are not a problem here. They limit them really well. TV was a problem when DS1 was much younger though, and I did have to unplug him for a while.

Dutchbabiesx2
12-27-2010, 06:12 PM
we have a Wii rule in our house, for every 30 minutes they play, they will then need to go outside and play for 60 minutes, no matter the time or weather! When it is asked, I remind them of the rule, they check the outside and in bad weather re-think the request.
Our DS 8 will flip out mentally at some point after playing the Wii, usually at bed time for no apparent reason, DS7 plays at a friends house on occasion, we do notice he is a little more aggressive after.
To each his own, but parents who help their children balance technology with healthy growth are putting their children's long term needs a top priority.

schwartzkari
12-27-2010, 06:21 PM
We have a Wii and Netflix. The kids are allowed to watch cartoons in the morning while eating breakfast then we turn all electronics off in the afternoon with the exception of the computer and internet because we use educational software and Time4Learning. We use the Wii as a means of family time and also P.E. for homeschool (seriously, Just Dance makes you sweat! lol.) Otherwise, my daughter is not allowed to play on the computer or Wii without asking. She gets free time on the computer each Friday but ONLY if she has earned it through good behavoir and doing her chores during the week.

farrarwilliams
12-27-2010, 08:00 PM
I go back and forth a little. One thing I have definitely observed is that the newer and more novel it is (new game, new system, new website, new TV show, etc.) then the more they want to play. Also, the more I try to control it, the more it sets up a power dynamic that I don't really like with them pestering me to play or watch all the time. When we're able to, I like to let themselves burn out on it so that they leave it behind on their own. I first did this with TV when they were about 4 and it worked brilliantly. Before, they would pester me to watch TV all the time (well, that's a total exaggeration as they're really good about things like that, but it was still getting to me) so I taught the kids to use the remote and find the things they wanted on live TV and the Tivo Now Playing. Then, I let them go nuts with it. Took about three months. After that, they stopped watching so much and brought it down to the amount of time I thought was about right. I did the same thing with their DS's after their bday - let them indulge A LOT for about a month then let them cut it back naturally.

So that's my ideal. But I'm impatient and technology moves so fast these days. So sometimes I really limit it and am more top down about it. For us, what often works best is looking at the time together when they start and then talking about getting our eyes off the screen when it seems like an opportune moment. Of course, sometimes, again, I'm all authoritative and it doesn't happen that organically. The other thing that helps is that there are set times in our day when screen time is possible - early in the morning before we get moving (as in, before I get up) and then again in the evening. Unless they're sick or we're specifically having a "lazy day" then they know not to even ask. We're too busy with school, friends and activities usually anyway.

shanajo
12-27-2010, 08:32 PM
We didn't have any video games until last year, when we got a wii. DS is pretty good about limiting himself, with the exception of when he gets a new game (like for Christmas). When that happens I try to give him lots of time with it for a few days, so the magic wears off. Then he'll often go for weeks without even thinking about the wii, so I don't stress about it much. We definitely won't be getting any other systems; he wouldn't be able to be quiet long enough to play them anyway.

DS really only likes educational TV and watches a lot of National Geographic and Discovery, usually on demand because he doesn't like commercials. It's great down time for him and he learns so much, I really don't worry about it. It's pretty much the only time in the day that he's not talking and needing attention, so it's sort of time off for me too. :)

That said, I have no problems with taking the wii away if he doesn't turn it off as soon as I ask him to, and he's well aware that I'll be good on my word. He doesn't spend much time independently on the computer unless he's doing his "research" (taking notes on car information) or playing educational games. Both of those activities are skill building and limited so I don't really have to monitor it yet.

I think between all four kids the got 7 Wii games for Christmas, plus Regan got Civ 5. And no, they were not from us. Although, we did ask MIL to buy Civ 5 because we knew that we could use it as a homeschooling tool. So uh, yeah, they are in hyper Wii mode right now.

My kids all do mostly well with getting off the Wii/computer when we ask, although Coen does meltdown sometimes. He's four though. It's the constant asking to play that is driving me nutty. And when my husband is home he won't set any limits to them with video games, so that's frustrating too. Of course, I need to work that out with my husband. ;p

shanajo
12-27-2010, 08:40 PM
See, right now I'm trying to enforce limits on gaming/screen time and that makes me feel like a lot of my time is being taken away from our relationship. I feel like the enforcing of the Wii/screen time rules. I hate always having to say "no we aren't playing Wii right now" or having them ask me every 2.2 seconds if they can play a Wii game. And then asking if they can watch TV if I say no to the Wii. It is not making me feel good about my relationship with my kids at all. Plus, there is the fact that my kids do not get along with each other or me when they are playing video games. The games really make them aggressive, especially with my boys. And we don't have violent games.

I haven't done an all out ban before, but my theory is that it will be easier to just say, "We aren't playing wii/computer games on the weekdays" so that they will come to understand that there is no point of even asking. Then on the weekends they will be allowed to get their video game fix. And , the more I think about it the more I think that we won't make them earn Wii time on the weekends, but they will have to have good behavior on the weekends to be able to play. We are often so busy on the weekends anyway that it's easier to keep them from playing so much. We are busy during the week too, but we are home a lot, which has made it difficult for me to enforce limits.

shanajo
12-27-2010, 08:41 PM
we have a Wii rule in our house, for every 30 minutes they play, they will then need to go outside and play for 60 minutes, no matter the time or weather! When it is asked, I remind them of the rule, they check the outside and in bad weather re-think the request.
Our DS 8 will flip out mentally at some point after playing the Wii, usually at bed time for no apparent reason, DS7 plays at a friends house on occasion, we do notice he is a little more aggressive after.
To each his own, but parents who help their children balance technology with healthy growth are putting their children's long term needs a top priority.

Your Wii rule is a great idea!

shanajo
12-27-2010, 08:46 PM
We have a Wii and Netflix. The kids are allowed to watch cartoons in the morning while eating breakfast then we turn all electronics off in the afternoon with the exception of the computer and internet because we use educational software and Time4Learning. We use the Wii as a means of family time and also P.E. for homeschool (seriously, Just Dance makes you sweat! lol.) Otherwise, my daughter is not allowed to play on the computer or Wii without asking. She gets free time on the computer each Friday but ONLY if she has earned it through good behavoir and doing her chores during the week.

I really, really wish that we could create folders in our Netflix instant queue. I would be so much more willing to give the kids more TV time if I could tell them that they can watch TV if they choose something out of a specific folder. As it is we have something like 300 movies in our instant queue, not all of them kid appropriate, so if they want to watch something I have to sit down with them and sort through all of those films and try to find something that they are interested in watching and that is appropriate for them. It's so time consuming! And if they sit down on their own to choose something they will choose something obnoxious.

I really want to get Just Dance! I think it would make a great family exercise activity for these cold winter days when it's hard for us to be outside.

shanajo
12-27-2010, 08:50 PM
I go back and forth a little. One thing I have definitely observed is that the newer and more novel it is (new game, new system, new website, new TV show, etc.) then the more they want to play. Also, the more I try to control it, the more it sets up a power dynamic that I don't really like with them pestering me to play or watch all the time. When we're able to, I like to let themselves burn out on it so that they leave it behind on their own. I first did this with TV when they were about 4 and it worked brilliantly. Before, they would pester me to watch TV all the time (well, that's a total exaggeration as they're really good about things like that, but it was still getting to me) so I taught the kids to use the remote and find the things they wanted on live TV and the Tivo Now Playing. Then, I let them go nuts with it. Took about three months. After that, they stopped watching so much and brought it down to the amount of time I thought was about right. I did the same thing with their DS's after their bday - let them indulge A LOT for about a month then let them cut it back naturally.

So that's my ideal. But I'm impatient and technology moves so fast these days. So sometimes I really limit it and am more top down about it. For us, what often works best is looking at the time together when they start and then talking about getting our eyes off the screen when it seems like an opportune moment. Of course, sometimes, again, I'm all authoritative and it doesn't happen that organically. The other thing that helps is that there are set times in our day when screen time is possible - early in the morning before we get moving (as in, before I get up) and then again in the evening. Unless they're sick or we're specifically having a "lazy day" then they know not to even ask. We're too busy with school, friends and activities usually anyway.

You know, I do the same thing and I think my plan to ban video games during the week is part of that. I'm just feeling like the games are taking over our lives, because even when they aren't playing they are plotting their next chance to play. I feel like lately they are loosing focus on other things because they are so stuck on wanting to play video games. I'm betting that if I ban it for a few weeks (at least on the weekdays) that they will begin to self-regulate better.

farrarwilliams
12-27-2010, 08:55 PM
I really, really wish that we could create folders in our Netflix instant queue. I would be so much more willing to give the kids more TV time if I could tell them that they can watch TV if they choose something out of a specific folder. As it is we have something like 300 movies in our instant queue, not all of them kid appropriate, so if they want to watch something I have to sit down with them and sort through all of those films and try to find something that they are interested in watching and that is appropriate for them. It's so time consuming! And if they sit down on their own to choose something they will choose something obnoxious.



You *used* to be able to have separate Netflix queues on the same account. I'll bet you still can... Or you can just leave it. Just a thought.

shanajo
12-27-2010, 09:21 PM
You can have separate profiles for DVD's that are mailed, but not for the instant downloads.

hockeymom
12-28-2010, 07:35 AM
See, right now I'm trying to enforce limits on gaming/screen time and that makes me feel like a lot of my time is being taken away from our relationship. I feel like the enforcing of the Wii/screen time rules. I hate always having to say "no we aren't playing Wii right now" or having them ask me every 2.2 seconds if they can play a Wii game. And then asking if they can watch TV if I say no to the Wii. It is not making me feel good about my relationship with my kids at all. Plus, there is the fact that my kids do not get along with each other or me when they are playing video games. The games really make them aggressive, especially with my boys. And we don't have violent games.

I haven't done an all out ban before, but my theory is that it will be easier to just say, "We aren't playing wii/computer games on the weekdays" so that they will come to understand that there is no point of even asking. Then on the weekends they will be allowed to get their video game fix. And , the more I think about it the more I think that we won't make them earn Wii time on the weekends, but they will have to have good behavior on the weekends to be able to play. We are often so busy on the weekends anyway that it's easier to keep them from playing so much. We are busy during the week too, but we are home a lot, which has made it difficult for me to enforce limits.

We honestly haven't been in the position too often yet (maybe because we only have one so there is no sibling rivalry or getting worked up about stuff together) but if it were me I wouldn't hesitate to ban it if it's causing such discord. I remember as a kid my parents decided to take the TV away for an entire summer--it was cruelty beyond belief of course, until we forgot about it a week later and didn't think to ask for TV until well into the fall. Although it might be ideal to work things out in a more subtle manner, that's just not always possible. If an outright ban during the week gets you the freedom of being pestered and creates a bit more balance in your family I think it sounds like a great plan (mind you, I'm saying this while allowing DS to play his wii first thing in the morning--unheard of in this house!). You can do it, mama! :)

InstinctiveMom
12-28-2010, 11:53 AM
It's nice to see such a varied response to this issue. :) I really like being part of a community where everyone's viewpoint and position are respected.

Our rule is and has always been 'no TV/video games/movies on school days'. This started back when LBB was in Kindergarten and has been one of my 'better' rules (if I do say so myself). At this point, it's just how things ARE - we don't have to spend a lot of time enforcing it. There may be an occasional reminder, but they're good about following the rules most of the time. I do slack occasionally and let them watch or play on a school day, but usually only after school work is done and the house is tidy.
I tried the 'earn your TV time' thing and that just got too complicated for us, so we stick with the 'none on school days' and that works well for us. This year, we're using a student planner (STARS (http://thisadventurelife.wordpress.com/homeschool-forms/)), so they won't be asking me 'is today a school day'. They didn't ask all the time, but enough that it was sometimes annoying.

I am also married to a gamer -one who recognizes his propensity for addiction and has outright banned WoW from our house, lol. Much as I'd love to play (and so would he), it would be an all-consuming thing, so we've stayed away. Starcraft, on the other hand... :)

I prefer having Netflix to what's on TV. One positive thing I have noticed about the DVR and Netflix is the lack of commercials. I hate advertising to kids with a passion, and the influence that media has over my kids has been lessened with the less actual 'television' they watch. Netflix has been a big helper there; they can still watch TV series without the commercials. It's also easier to enforce a 30 minute time limit; when one show is over, they aren't sucked into another episode automatically; they have to press buttons. It's easier to press 'off' that way because there's a mental break between them.

Right now, we're still out of school; our school year starts in January. The boys both got DSi's for Christmas, so they've been glued to them. Beginning Monday we started getting ready for 'back to school' so they have to make sure their chore chart is done before they can play or watch. So far, so good!
~h

dbmamaz
12-28-2010, 12:27 PM
Yeah, i keep hoping my husband will get over WOW . . . but otoh, i spend almost as much time on line with this, my moms group, fb . . . and all the fascinating articles/videos my fb freinds post . . .

hockeymom
12-28-2010, 12:49 PM
It's nice to see such a varied response to this issue. :) I really like being part of a community where everyone's viewpoint and position are respected.


I prefer having Netflix to what's on TV. One positive thing I have noticed about the DVR and Netflix is the lack of commercials. I hate advertising to kids with a passion, and the influence that media has over my kids has been lessened with the less actual 'television' they watch. Netflix has been a big helper there; they can still watch TV series without the commercials. It's also easier to enforce a 30 minute time limit; when one show is over, they aren't sucked into another episode automatically; they have to press buttons. It's easier to press 'off' that way because there's a mental break between them.



1. Me too! :)

2. This is why we like shows on demand, no commercials and a natural break between programs. I am so envious that you all have Netflix; we just got it up here but it doesn't have many of the types of shows DS watches so there's no point in spending money on something we won't use much. I loathe commercials aimed at kids so we've spent a lot of time talking about the messages that are being sent. DS totally gets it--he loves quoting commercials (he memorizes them and repeats them endlessly) but he knows that most of the time they are misleading. It's funny to hear his take on it--he's so suspicious. But he doesn't like it when they interrupt his programs; he takes his TV watching time very seriously!

Busygoddess
12-28-2010, 01:40 PM
We also love having Netflix. The kids watch Netflix & DVDs. The few occasions that they watch TV, it's almost always on PBS, except for the one episode of MSB on Sat mornings (when we remember to turn it on). All of us hate commercials, so being able to watch our shows without them has been fantastic. Plus, we don't have to worry about missing an episode. It means that we're going to permanantly be a season behind on all our shows, but we're ok with that. We don't have many channels, so Netflix has let us watch shows we wouldn't have had easy access to otherwise. We're really big on doing things on our schedule, not others' schedules, so Netflix has been a huge hit since we got it.

I, personally, won't ban screen time on school days, because it would be more trouble than it's worth. If we banned screen time on school days, I would have to make exceptions for educational screen time. We regularly use documentaries & shows like MSB for school. We're also making sure that the kids learn how to use the computer, and next year they want to learn programming. Plus, they play various educational computer games for review. So, I would have to allow TV & computer time for educational use. Then, we would also have the issue of is today a school day or not. What determines if a day is a school day? Is it just Mon-Fri, because those are the days I plan for? Is Saturday a school day if we do a Science Lab, take an outside class, or make-up some work from a sick day? Is it still a school day if we aren't doing school because we're sick? What if one kid is sick & not doing schoolwork, but the other is fine & doing schoolwork? I consider our school week to be Mon-Fri, but we learn informally on our non-school days, too. So really, everyday is technically a school day for us.
For us, it's just easier to have specific time limits for educational & non-educational screen time. On weekends & holidays (days school is not planned), they don't have to do school work to have non-ed screen time, but they still need to have done their chores & educational screen time comes before non-ed screen time. It's simple, easy, everyone can keep track of the rules, and it's easy to track on a chart. I understand why some people ban screen time during the week, but it's just too much work for us. It would still require time limits - both for school use & free time - plus the extra hassle of defining school days. Plus, my kids would try to manipulate the system. Most of what they enjoy watching is educational & most of what they do on the computer (even in their free computer time) can be considered educational. So, they would constantly try to convince me that they should be allowed to watch Mythbusters, even though it's a school day, because Mythbusters is educational. (you can substitute various shows or sites for Mythbusters in that last sentence)
I think that the way we do it teaches them that (almost) everything is ok in moderation, helps them learn to moderate, and teaches them about priorities. I'm not saying that other ways don't teach those things. Our way just happens to be the best way, to teach those things, for our situation.

jettyspagetti
12-28-2010, 04:35 PM
I used to be completely against all forms of video games and I can live without a tv. Just give me books lots and lots of books:) Of course my husband loves video games and will have a tv on constantly if its up to him. We made a deal when we had our son to give up cable/dish and just watch network or dvds. We made it 5 years before we went back to a satelite. Both kids-instantly addicted to tv. I limit it to appropriate shows and pretty much any science/history/documentary they show interest in. They still watch more than I'd like. On weekdays I usually can find something on netflix streaming to go along with something we've studied that week and I work in about 30 minutes of tv time after a few hours "work" time. When everything that's on schedule for the day has been completed then they can watch some tv.

As far as video games, my son dislikes reading fiction/chapter books so he must read for 30 minutes in a novel we've chosen together and he gets 30 minutes of video game time in exchange. Once its used up, it's gone. Summer and winter breaks he gets extra time one hour for 30 minutes of reading. It has ended the constant struggle in our house. He also has a PSP but generally we kept that for car rides. We call it his pacifier and it makes for a quieter and generally more enjoyable ride anywhere:)

InstinctiveMom
12-28-2010, 05:13 PM
I will clarify to say that if we're watching a show or video or playing a game that is part of the lesson plan, it's OK. I see that as totally different than tv for fun, and so do the kids. Since we've always done it that way, it's not a conflict in their minds. Part of the difference is the level of interactiveness. Watching a show for educational reasons (not value; most of what my kids like to watch by choice is educational as well) vs. recreation has to do with the follow-up. Educational viewing/playing has a discussion or other related activity behind it; some sort of assessment to make sure that the goal was met, whereas recreational viewing/playing, though they may also learn from it, is less goal-oriented.

We do the same thing with books - they have to read XYZ for school, and also a 30 minute block, and they also may read for fun. The difference between reading with a purpose vs. recreational reading is pretty clearly delineated.

We don't have set time limits for gaming or television viewing; like Brandi mentioned, all things in moderation. :)
~h

shanajo
12-28-2010, 05:22 PM
We honestly haven't been in the position too often yet (maybe because we only have one so there is no sibling rivalry or getting worked up about stuff together) but if it were me I wouldn't hesitate to ban it if it's causing such discord. I remember as a kid my parents decided to take the TV away for an entire summer--it was cruelty beyond belief of course, until we forgot about it a week later and didn't think to ask for TV until well into the fall. Although it might be ideal to work things out in a more subtle manner, that's just not always possible. If an outright ban during the week gets you the freedom of being pestered and creates a bit more balance in your family I think it sounds like a great plan (mind you, I'm saying this while allowing DS to play his wii first thing in the morning--unheard of in this house!). You can do it, mama! :)

Thanks for the encouragement! We actually talked about the tv/video game ban over dinner last night and the kids were all just sort of, "Oh, okay". I explained my reasoning very gently and made sure they understood that their Wii games would still be there for them to play on the weekends. Then they asked some questions about it to understand the rule better (i.e. clarifying that they may be allowed educational games and shows sometimes). I'm honestly okay with them spending time during the weekday with them watching something like Liberty Kids, Mythbusters, or a documentary, so if they want to watch TV for something like that I'm not going to get in the way of that.

Another positive thing that happened yesterday involved my husband. When he was growing up his life was video games. He always had the newest Nintendo system and he would spend hours everyday playing, even during the school year. Now when he's home with us he always wants to play Wii with the kids, so he encourages them to play. I think he forgot how creative our children can be when left to their own devices. It's almost like he was believing that they needed the Wii to stay entertained! So, he is home on vacation this week and yesterday I told the kids no more Wii for the afternoon after they'd played all morning--literally from the time they got up until lunch. They sort of stomped and whined for about 5 minutes, but then they were off! They did crafts and they worked together to set up a school room in our living room to play school, which they ended up doing for 3 1/2 hours straight. My husband was blown away by how into it they all were and how detailed the plot to their school room game was. And the boys were actually learning real educational things from their big sisters. I was like, see?!?! Look how wonderfully they play together when the TV is turned off! Ahhh, I love when I'm right. ;-)

shanajo
12-28-2010, 05:30 PM
I prefer having Netflix to what's on TV. One positive thing I have noticed about the DVR and Netflix is the lack of commercials. I hate advertising to kids with a passion, and the influence that media has over my kids has been lessened with the less actual 'television' they watch. Netflix has been a big helper there; they can still watch TV series without the commercials. It's also easier to enforce a 30 minute time limit; when one show is over, they aren't sucked into another episode automatically; they have to press buttons. It's easier to press 'off' that way because there's a mental break between them.

~h

Yes, that is what I love about Netflix too. We had cable for a few years up until this past August. One of the best parts about not having commercials as part of our TV watching is that this Christmas our kids literally had no idea what to ask for, because they didn't have 504850948058409 commercials telling them what they "needed". When my IL's asked for lists for the kids I was able to sit down with the kids and gently suggest things that I knew they'd love, that were not the "latest and greatest" toy or electronic, which I knew they'd play with once and forget about. They ended up getting some really great gifts that are both fun and creative. I mean, yeah the boys still got tons of super hero figurines, but that's fine by me with how elaborate their story lines get when they are playing with those!

shanajo
12-28-2010, 05:41 PM
I, personally, won't ban screen time on school days, because it would be more trouble than it's worth. If we banned screen time on school days, I would have to make exceptions for educational screen time. We regularly use documentaries & shows like MSB for school. We're also making sure that the kids learn how to use the computer, and next year they want to learn programming. Plus, they play various educational computer games for review. So, I would have to allow TV & computer time for educational use. Then, we would also have the issue of is today a school day or not. What determines if a day is a school day? Is it just Mon-Fri, because those are the days I plan for? Is Saturday a school day if we do a Science Lab, take an outside class, or make-up some work from a sick day? Is it still a school day if we aren't doing school because we're sick? What if one kid is sick & not doing schoolwork, but the other is fine & doing schoolwork? I consider our school week to be Mon-Fri, but we learn informally on our non-school days, too. So really, everyday is technically a school day for us.
For us, it's just easier to have specific time limits for educational & non-educational screen time. On weekends & holidays (days school is not planned), they don't have to do school work to have non-ed screen time, but they still need to have done their chores & educational screen time comes before non-ed screen time. It's simple, easy, everyone can keep track of the rules, and it's easy to track on a chart. I understand why some people ban screen time during the week, but it's just too much work for us. It would still require time limits - both for school use & free time - plus the extra hassle of defining school days. Plus, my kids would try to manipulate the system. Most of what they enjoy watching is educational & most of what they do on the computer (even in their free computer time) can be considered educational. So, they would constantly try to convince me that they should be allowed to watch Mythbusters, even though it's a school day, because Mythbusters is educational. (you can substitute various shows or sites for Mythbusters in that last sentence)
I think that the way we do it teaches them that (almost) everything is ok in moderation, helps them learn to moderate, and teaches them about priorities. I'm not saying that other ways don't teach those things. Our way just happens to be the best way, to teach those things, for our situation.

Really, my goal in doing this ban is to just get over this hump of my kids thinking about the Wii and TV non-stop. As of now I don't have plans to keep the ban in place long-term, although maybe the weekday ban will stay in place naturally if we find it works really well for us. But for now I really need us all working together on focusing on our new life as a homeschool family without a zillion distractions. I want us to be snuggling together on the couch and reading together, and not have the kids asking me when we'll be done so they can play a video game.

It's like, we are four months into our homeschooling journey. Our first four months was okay, but we were all dealing with the adjustment to this new life in our own way, and not all of it was positive. But now that we are through those initial hurdles (which I documented in great detail on this very forum, ha!) I think we're finally ready to dig our heels in and do this thing right! For me right now that is going to mean the Wii/TV ban during the week. We do educational things everyday too, but since we are more formal in our learning during the week it will be relatively easy for us to define the boundaries of what days we can and cannot play Wii. (The kids know that the weekend is when daddy is home, so that makes it easy. And they always know that they get special video game privileges when daddy is home on the weekends or if I declare it a day off because someone is ill or something.) I really feel good about this decision! The only question now is how long I feel the ban will be necessary. :-)

Busygoddess
12-28-2010, 06:18 PM
Really, my goal in doing this ban is to just get over this hump of my kids thinking about the Wii and TV non-stop. As of now I don't have plans to keep the ban in place long-term, although maybe the weekday ban will stay in place naturally if we find it works really well for us. But for now I really need us all working together on focusing on our new life as a homeschool family without a zillion distractions. I want us to be snuggling together on the couch and reading together, and not have the kids asking me when we'll be done so they can play a video game.

It's like, we are four months into our homeschooling journey. Our first four months was okay, but we were all dealing with the adjustment to this new life in our own way, and not all of it was positive. But now that we are through those initial hurdles (which I documented in great detail on this very forum, ha!) I think we're finally ready to dig our heels in and do this thing right! For me right now that is going to mean the Wii/TV ban during the week. We do educational things everyday too, but since we are more formal in our learning during the week it will be relatively easy for us to define the boundaries of what days we can and cannot play Wii. (The kids know that the weekend is when daddy is home, so that makes it easy. And they always know that they get special video game privileges when daddy is home on the weekends or if I declare it a day off because someone is ill or something.) I really feel good about this decision! The only question now is how long I feel the ban will be necessary. :-)

I wasn't saying you shouldn't do it or passing judgement at all. I was simply explaining why it's not something that I would do & why we do it the way we do. I know our situation is different from others' & what works for one family won't necessarily work for another. I so often hear people saying that one reason they ban TV/computer/games on school days (both homeschoolers & public schoolers) is because it stops the kids from asking all the time. In our house, it would be the exact opposite - they'd ask more, trying to find the loopholes :) Obviously, you should do what you think best for your family & hopefully you find the balance you're looking for.

shanajo
12-29-2010, 05:24 PM
Oh, I didn't think you were passing judgment at all! Just further discussing the reasoning behind my decision. This has been a really great conversation and it's nice to see how others handle this issue!

Teri
12-29-2010, 07:52 PM
We have a wii and a DS and my oldest son has multiple platforms of his own (he is 21 and buys his own stuff). I don't really stress about it. They go through spurts where they want to play it quite a bit, then they ignore it for long periods of time.
The tv sits inactive all day until after dinner (and husband turns it on) most days. Sometimes I have something that I want them to watch from Netflix or Discovery. I do believe in a lot of visual input as we all tend to be very visual learners in our house.
There was a very interesting story on NPR this week about gaming. Maybe it will make you feel better. ;)
http://www.npr.org/2010/12/20/132077565/video-games-boost-brain-power-multitasking-skills?sc=tw

MamaB2C
12-30-2010, 05:20 PM
We use the Wii as a whole family activity. We almost always play together and I find quite a bit of value in it for DS (he will be 5 Sunday!)

We have bowling and tennis tournaments (Wii Sports), frisbee dog, archery (Wii Sports Resort) and Just Dance competitions, figure out the puzzles and levels on the Lego video games (my fave is Lego Harry Potter but hubby prefers Lego Indiana Jones), snowboard and ski jump, play Monopoly.

DS knows all the names and attributes for scores of characters on his various Lego video games, has memorized the layout of dozens of complex levels, strategized to solve the puzzles or problems, and learned very basic money skills and how to read a few of the words...all while having fun.

I am careful about which games I let him play, and playing with him has allowed me to see the value I might otherwise have missed.

Sam
12-31-2010, 10:32 AM
Yes, that is what I love about Netflix too. We had cable for a few years up until this past August. One of the best parts about not having commercials as part of our TV watching is that this Christmas our kids literally had no idea what to ask for, because they didn't have 504850948058409 commercials telling them what they "needed". When my IL's asked for lists for the kids I was able to sit down with the kids and gently suggest things that I knew they'd love, that were not the "latest and greatest" toy or electronic, which I knew they'd play with once and forget about. They ended up getting some really great gifts that are both fun and creative. I mean, yeah the boys still got tons of super hero figurines, but that's fine by me with how elaborate their story lines get when they are playing with those!

OMG this is the exact reason I hate commercials (and one of the reasons I'm glad we HS now instead of DD being in PS). When it comes time for Christmas, birthdays, we get to hear about things she ACTUALLY wants rather than what every other kid in the class is wanting or what the tv said she should want.

The first time, I fell for it. She came home raving about My Little Pony. It was totally awesome and the best toy ever. So we got her some for Christmas. She played with them for 2 days... never again. That's when I stopped listening to what she *said* she wanted for gifts and started watching for what she actually *showed* an interest in.

This Christmas was free of gifts asked for by other children or advertised on the TV and DD said it was the best ever. She's still playing with everything and still telling us all about the cool things she can do with this or that (she got mostly arts and crafts stuff this year)

jess
12-31-2010, 01:24 PM
We haven't had a TV since shortly before my first was born, but videos were getting to be a major problem. When we moved, we decided to limit them to one video each a day at a specific time (some days I let them agree on a third video, depending on how long the first two were, what the weather is like, and so forth), and they aren't allowed to have internet access on their computer (which they mostly used to watch videos on pbskids and nickjr) until DS is reading fluently and regularly. They took to this with surprisingly little complaint.

It's not a perfect solution (if they decide to push it and choose long videos, they can be watching all afternoon. Fortunately, they don't often try to take advantage like that), and is probably going to continually evolve. Eventually (ie. in spring, when I can force them outside all day), they'll probably have to earn entertainment screen time.

Games haven't really been a problem - neither DH nor I are gamers, either. They both have Leapsters and occasionally go a little overboard on them, but that tends to be pretty much self-limiting and I don't feel it's a problem. I kind of want to get a Wii with games with a physical element only.

Kell
12-31-2010, 10:34 PM
My husband, too, loves his video games. Otherwise, we would have none in the house.

The boys use the computer for only educational sites. I'm pretty sure they don't realize there is anything other than Starfall and the like on here.

Television, however, is another matter. My boys get an hour a day of whatever they want (and by whatever they want, I mean anything on PBS, or Nick Jr.). One program chosen by one, and one by the other. There are also occasions when we will watch educational DVDs or a fun family program, but that is purely at my or my husband's discretion. If they ask too much about the television, they forfeit their tv choice for the day. It may sound mean and dictator-ish, but I refuse to have my children obsessed with a screen.

Stella M
01-01-2011, 12:44 AM
I used to be a full-on Steiner mama, so it feels weird for me to be thinking this, let alone saying it, but I really think the problem isn't the medium ( tv, computers, games ) but the way it is used. If our kids are just consuming digital product, that's not so good. If they are using it in a creative way to produce content - that's something else.

There are health and safety issues to take into account with any sedentary activity ( including reading! ) so I definitely wouldn't want a child sitting there for hours, but imo, screens aren't inherently good or bad.

Also, some children do tend to be obsessive - I like to describe it as "my child needing to immerse himself in his learning experience."

Anyway, I know this is somewhat off topic from the OP's question.

kewb22
01-01-2011, 09:27 AM
I feel your frustration. My ds becomes obsessed with whatever game he is into at the moment. He wants to play it all the time. He talks about it all the time. I actually told him a few months ago that I know that video games are an important part of his life and that he loves but I just don't care and I don't want to talk about it anymore and that he should reserve those conversations for his father (who is a gamer).

I find when my kids have too much screen time that they become downright nasty to one another and unpleasant to be around. When I notice the behavior tracking in an unpleasant direction they are unplugged. No tv, no computer, no handhelds, until I see that they are truly respecting one another. It can last a day up to 2 weeks. It all depends on them. Sometimes, it is worse on me then them for the first few days.

I do limit tv and games on school days until after dinner. On the week-ends I am a bit more lax.

ejwaibel
01-02-2011, 09:16 AM
On video games, when ds was younger, we implemented an after 4pm rule...no electronics at all until after 4pm. Now that he's older, it's after 4pm plus he only gets 3 evenings for video games - which he chooses himself.
When we had TiVo, we didn't do anything for that year but watch TV. It was very difficult to decide to disconnect the cable. After doing it, I remember being lost for a few days and then it was a huge relief not to have it at all. After a few years, we got the Netflix streaming to the Wii if we want to watch something. I have noticed that my ds has started using his other 4 non-game days to watch stuff on Netflix. I've decided to disconnect that tomorrow.

Electronic entertainment seems to be a constant battle for us, no matter the age. I feel better when it isn't there, but it's such a struggle to let go of.

Cactus
01-02-2011, 10:52 AM
We as a family are not big TV watchers and our kids have not even seen any TV shows that have commercials in them. We are not at all into video games. About a month and a half ago, when we first considered homeschooling as well as the effects of TV (and the kids' friends talking about their DS video games), the kids were bombarding us with constant pleas to watch TV or video clips on the computer. The whole issue was driving us crazy. We knew they were not focusing on doing other creative things - they were moping around with long faces.

At the beginning of December, we decided to get rid of our cable (save ourselves $50/mo) because we barely watch it. Sure, my husband will miss hockey but our desire to rid our kids from a screen influence is top priority. So basically, they've gone one whole month without TV. No video games because we don't have any (no Wii, and the PlayStation2 goes unused). They have only asked to watch something maybe once or twice.

They got clothes and arts/crafts for Christmas. And even though they are 5 and 7, maybe a little bit old for PlayDoh, they play together great and with PlayDoh Mealtime Kitchen and Cake Making Station, they come up to us with a handwritten menu they made up, and play Restaurant. They ask us what we want, then they make the food with the PlayDoh (it has "molds" for chicken, veggies, steak, and the cake making thing molds layer cakes and cupcakes.) Then they bring the stuff to us on little plates. It's so cute and the PlayDoh food is almost real-looking. It's colorful and very creative. They take such joy at bringing us our dinner and we love it because they totally work together.

I must say that I doubt that many families (except many of you all here, I'm sure) would do that because most of them are too involved with TV and video games. It makes me so sad that so many families are losing their creativity and connection their children. Instead, as we've personally witnessed with the kids around us, they're attention-deprived, gaining weight, eating pure junk, and talking about TV and video games.

It worries me because every time I've tried to set up a playdate with my kids for the past few years, I find out that all they do at these houses is watch TV. I also ask what they were fed for whatever meal and it's always junk and sugary snacks. It's like nobody even tries. Also, when other kids would come to our house, THEY ARE BORED because we don't put on TV; we don't have Wii, and all we have are the more healthy snacks like fruit...our dinner isn't what they want. So they look at me sadly and they NEVER want what I offer. Then I get frustrated because the kids aren't having a good time. Then they're asking if they can go home.

At this point, I don't care and am glad to get rid of them! Not that I'm mean, but you know what I mean - It's awkward when your child has a friend over and the friend isn't having a good time. OR when our kids come home from being at a friends house and suddenly they're asking all about TV shows, toys, video games, and all the candy bars and junky snacks that they want and that we should buy.

This whole week while the kids had their holiday vacation (they're still in PS as of yet), they were with us the whole time, no friends. They used their watercolor paints, playdoh, had "picnics" and just used their imagination. No TV of course. They did errands with us, visited family, it was great. A few times they did ask to get together with a friend but the weird thing is that we just couldn't get ourselves to call up anyone because we didn't want to ruin what our kids had going. They play together great and they did so the whole week. The friends they were asking about (and I suspect all friends may be like this) rely on TV/video games for fun AND they eat junk. So we just couldn't get ourselves to call up any of these friends and have our kids revert back to that stuff.

As long as they had fun and they were creative and imaginative, I feel we were successful during this vacation. They are supposed to return tomorrow to school and I HATE sending them. My husband and I are almost at a decision to HS but are afraid that our 7 year old son will be bored at home. So we will have to wait until we talk it out a bit more...this "quick reply" turned out to be not so quick...

MamaTea
01-03-2011, 12:05 AM
We had an issue last year where as soon as the boys were done doing (read: rushing through) their school stuff they would race to the tv. They'd always be watching things like Myth Busters and History channel stuff, but still. They STARED at the screen all day. And then after supper they would try to convince us they needed to play Wii. My husband and I thought "great, so now we have kids who are homeschooled and have how many more hours of screen time a day than their publicly schooled friends?" which obviously wasn't the point. We decided that two hours of screen time on school days was a good amount for them (not including anything we needed to use a screen for in school) and they could have that screen time after a certain point in the day, assuming they'd gotten through school without any screaming fits and had also completed any chores they might have had. Screen time, as the boys came to find out, was anything with a screen. TV, Computer, Wii, etc. It actually ended up working really well for us because not only did they not bug us about "when can we watch TV", they also had to learn to budget their screen time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule sometimes, but generally speaking, its been a good fit for our family. :)

Melissa541
01-03-2011, 02:30 PM
Reading through all of the struggles with TV & video games y'all are having makes me wonder if I've just got it super easy with my kids.

My husband is a collector of retro gamin stuff, so we've got LOADS of consoles and games. We also have Xbox 360s (one in the living room, one is DD9's room, DSs for each of the older girls, and a Wii. So, yeah, lots of stuff. But no rules about usage; TV & computer are the same: no parent-imposed limits.

So you might think that our girls are screen-staring zombies, right? Nope. At this moment, as with the majority of the time, they're busy with other activities. DD9 is building a robotic arm & DD2 & DD4 are playing a game. At some point, someone will watch some TV, someone will play a computer game, the Xbox might get switched on (if DD9 turns it on, it'll probably be to listen to Last.fm). But they certainly don't spend the majority of their days glued to a screen. Even if they did choose to spend a day watching TV or playing a game they're totally into, I don't think I'd be upset. Infact, spending the day on the couch watching Vampire Diaries sounds awesome to me; I wouldn't begrudge one of my ladies a day spent that way, if they wanted to.

I've read what some unschoolers say about limiting candy. In short, they don't do it. More traditional parenting folks said, "What?! Doesn't your kid eat candy & nothing else, then?" The unschoolers say this: make bowls of candy (and nuts and fruit, etc) full & where the children have free access to them. Keep 'em full. Every day. And, sure, the kids are going to go nuts for the candy for a bit, if candy has previously been doled out piece by piece by parents. But after a bit, they'll slow down. They'll see that they don't have get as much as they can before it's taken away.

I feel that way about TV, video games, computer. If a child gets an hour of TV a day & no more, then they're going to covet that hour. That hour is going to be super important. They're going to ask for it, wait for it, be excited for it. But if it's always available, if we're not assigning such importance to it, then the child doesn't feel like s/he needs to hoard what s/he does get.

Either that philosophy worked for us, or my kids just don't care too much about TV & video games. :)

Stella M
01-03-2011, 04:43 PM
This has been my experience too. However...it can take a really, really long time for kids to 'get enough' of whatever has been previously restricted - tv, games, sweets - and that can be a very anxiety provoking thing as a parent. Ask me how I know!!

I go backwards and forwards on this one.

KristinK
01-10-2011, 02:17 PM
it has been really interesting reading this thread. I have the same troubles as the OP with my kids. Especially my 7yr old. It's constant "when can we watch tv?" around here. As soon as we walk in the door from anywhere, she sits in the recliner and requests tv. as soon as work is done, etc. It's always tv tv tv. The kids get about 1hr/day, plus 30min computer time each day. Sometimes I think I should just leave it on all day till they get sick of it, but I honestly don't think my 7yr old ever would! she will watch ANYTHING. even golf, LOL. If the screen glows, she's glued to it. I don't think it's true that all kids will learn to self-moderate!

I've tried so many different methods and have yet to find the perfect one. I keep going back to having them earn their tv-time (we had been using a jellybean jar, until that turned into constant meltdowns from the 3yr old who wanted to eat the beans constantly) by getting their work done happily, getting their chores done without being nagged, earning extra points by good manners (losing points by rudeness and fighting, etc), etc. But then I lose consistency and we go backwards.

My biggest issue with tv is that the 3 kids have a VERY hard time agreeing on shows, so it turns into fights. So what I think is going to be "downtime" ends up fights with them and referreeing from me. It's hard to balance with 3 kids!

anwyays, I got alot of ideas from reading this too. great discussion :)

Sam
01-10-2011, 07:33 PM
my 8 yr old is the same way. If the tv's on, she'll watch it. Doesn't matter what's playing. For the kids though, they can watch treehouse (a preschooler/early schooler channel), Discover and History. That's it. There's too much crap out there for them to just flick through channels and I'm not fond of the typical preteen channels.

shanajo
01-11-2011, 09:30 PM
I have to update and say that our video game/TV ban is going very well! The older three kids haven't even asked to play video games or turn on the TV during the week. My four year old is having some minor meltdowns about not being able to play the Wii, but it's getting better each day. All four kids have been getting along better and playing more together. In the last few days they've been spending a lot of time around the kitchen table, sometimes playing together and sometimes doing their own thing. Yesterday morning one was playing legos, another was playing with her Littlest Pet Shoppes, another was drawing, and the youngest was going between playing with each of the kids to just sitting and snacking, while watching everyone else. I was so happy with how well they were playing that I just let them play all morning, and we didn't start working on our lessons until after lunch.

I'm really glad that I went with the ban. It's been a good thing for us thus far!

Sam
01-11-2011, 09:32 PM
YAY for it going well!

My usual reason for saying no to the screen ("electronics" in our house) is you have hundreds of dollars of toys that you begged for, go play with them. Sounds mean, I know, but I'm a mean mom lol

Stella M
01-12-2011, 12:36 AM
Glad it's working out the way you hoped!

Busygoddess
01-12-2011, 03:40 AM
Glad to hear you're getting the results you wanted. It's great htat they've been so receptive to it!

hockeymom
01-12-2011, 04:34 AM
Great news, Shana! I'd been wondering how it was working out.

justcatie
01-13-2011, 12:30 AM
I am so with you. The electronic noise is driving me nuts! I let DH talk me into an Xbox360 for our older boys for xmas. I find I am always telling them NO! GO READ A BOOK, build something, ride a bike, play superheros, something else, just not that!!!! (although, netflix does come in handy for documentaries, which they use as a bargaining chip...we want to watch a documentary! I find it hard to say no to that.). Luckily DH is seeing that they want to spend too much time on there and is backing me up on the time limits during the week, and longer limits on the weekend (45 minutes vs the 30 we give them during the week)

I am the same way with the computer...It's starfall or brainpop jr for the littles during the school week. Honestly, they love those two sites so much they don't really ask to go anywhere else. and they only get 30 minutes before they are off. Colin uses the computer for videos (especially howstuffworks and brainpop) and math, so he gets pretty burnt out on using it. So we watch a couple shows before we do school, MAYBE a couple in the afternoon. We might watch a movie if it ties into what Colin is studying, but I like for the TV to be off most hours of the day.

There is a No TV during and after dinner rule that stands 6 days a week in our house, with the exception of a weekly movie night. We need to unwind from the day and with 4 kids there is just too much to do to worry about what's squawking at from the box on the wall.

MamaTea
01-13-2011, 10:39 PM
Glad to hear its working out well, Shana!!

rumbledolly
01-14-2011, 03:47 PM
Growing up, my parents we're pretty flexible with TV time (after all it was so awesome to be one of the first people on the block with a COLOR TV...LOL). It was pretty much understood, school work first then TV. Of course we weren't homeschoolers so the temptation wasn't in front of our faces all day. We recently bought a Wii for family use and we play pretty much every night, mostly bowling, golf, those sorts of activities and my husband and daughter play Mario Bros. for about an hour a day (I'm so not interested in it). She also has a ds that she was just given by a friend. Our rule is if we're playing together on Wii a sports related game then it doesn't count towards your allowed time but other than that an actual never move off the couch only using your thumbs game is one hour total. I find it hard to limit computer time as we use a lot of internet based curriculum though I have made it clear - playing or chatting online is not done during our school day period!

As for TV, that's a tough one here. So far I've been able to limit daytime tv to just early morning when we're waking up and we catch up on the news so we can discuss what is happening in the world (I was told this was a no no by the PS system - too frightening for kids to know about what goes on in the world....hmmm...) and we do watch in the evening, mostly as a family for maybe an hour. We listen to a lot of Sirius radio via TV and we catch a Netflix movie or two every week and I am an old sitcom junky - I can't help myself. We do DVR a lot of stuff to watch 'later' so we can do it as a family and I think it does cut down our time a little as we're not forced to sit when it's a time we should be doing something else. Luckily as a family we all like to read so I find we go from one extreme of too much technology to the other extreme of OMG my eyes are killing me but I can't put this book down.

I guess it all depends on the family and individual. I have friends who set strict limits and the kids are miserable and all they think about it tv but I have others who watch no television and the kids could care less. I for one would have never survived my daughters younger years if it hadn't been for PBS kids! It was the only time she wasn't asking a question!