LuSays

Lu says, "Let's talk."

Turn off the TV…and the computer too, while you’re at it!

It amazes me how many parents give their children unlimited access to the TV and computer.

Parents, we need to raise and train our children. Do you really think the TV, computer, and video games will do a better job than you?

Did my kids watch TV? Of course they did! I’m not a Neanderthal, but I monitored their time. They had to ask to turn on the TV. I used video games and TV time as a reward and a treat. And when my husband and I needed some “alone” time, they got to pick their favorite show. That’s right, if your too tired at night (what mom isn’t?) turn on the TV in the middle of the day and everyone is happy, especially your husband!

controllerBut this only works if TV is not a regular thing, otherwise they will be knocking on your door with, “Mom, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do.”

“There is nothing to do.” What mom hasn’t heard that? Go outside and play! Kids are not getting enough exercise, just look around you. You don’t need a current statistic to tell you that our kids are more overweight than ever.

Let me remind you of some simple, no-brainer alternatives to turning on the TV:

  • Turn on some music and dance with your kids
  • Go for a walk, go for a walk in the rain with umbrellas
  • Go outside and throw a ball (What’s a ball? It’s a round thing that comes in all shapes and sizes that you can throw.)
  • Buy a watermelon and see who can spit the seeds the farthest
  • Bake cookies together
  • Walk to the park, sit under a tree and read a book
  • Give them some water and paint brushes and let them “paint” something
  • Take them to the grocery store and let them plan the family dinner, and then let them help prepare dinner
  • Give the dog a bath outside, let them play with the hose
  • Play cards or a board game
  • Walk to get ice cream instead of drive
  • Have a water gun fight
  • Build a makeshift tent inside or outside
  • Keep a box full of “dress up” clothes that they can play with (My daughter used to run around outside in my wedding dress. She got way more use out of it than I did!)

The best thing you can give your child is you. The day may come when the last thing your kid will want to do is hang out with you, that is, if you didn’t establish having fun together. If you make it a priority to spend time with them and look for activities they like, it will be a natural progression for them to choose to spend time with you. That’s right, even your teenager will choose you over partying. I can honestly tell you that not one of my children ever attended a teen party with alcohol or drugs. (Feel free to ask any one of them.) And they very rarely attended parties at all.

As I close, I want to leave you with a story:

When our children were young we started Friday Family Night. Every Friday night we spent time as a family. One Friday afternoon my teenage son’s friends came by and they all left to hang out. As evening approached they came back to the house, and after hanging out for a while his friends left. I asked him where they were going. He said, “They are going to hang out at Ashley’s house and get pizza.”

“Son, why aren’t you going with them?” I couldn’t imagine why my son would be left out.

This is what he said: “Mom, it’s Friday Family Night! I want to be with you and dad.”

Even I was blown away! Establish spending time with your kids, and it will pay off big time, and in ways you never imagined.

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2 thoughts on “Turn off the TV…and the computer too, while you’re at it!

  1. Good points. I’m coming to this late, but thought you might be interested: I teach media criticism and regularly speak to community and church groups about media usage. One of the things I recommend is a personal or family media code of ethics, explained in more detail here: http://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/how-to-be-a-better-media-user/

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