TV Turnoff Week: Only the strong shall survive

It’s the first day of TV Turnoff Week at our elementary school, an annual event to encourage students and their families to unplug and get moving, thinking, and doing stuff that doesn’t involve sitting like a zombie in front of electronic media.

I love my electronic media — sorry, I do.  But I agreed to the week, forcing a couple of uninterested parties in the house to join in.  Because yes, it’s all a big time-suck, the TV, the internet, the Wii, the DS, all of it.  The funny thing is that while we do use the TV every day, all the other things are limited or outright banned during the school week anyway, so turning off the TV didn’t seem like a big deal.  Well, for the kids, that is, who may watch a few minutes before breakfast, after they stumble downstairs still glazed with sleep.  That’s the extent of their TV watching most days.  Let it be gone. 

My TV watching is more important.  Like my children, I stumble downstairs still glazed with sleep, though I do my stumbling in the pre-dawn hours.  I turn on the coffee and then the TV, every day hoping to actually catch the hard news in the first fifteen minutes of that half-hour’s broadcast before commencing with my day.  I usually don’t, though, because I just can’t ever seem to get up when I should.  So I sit, coffee in hand, like a zombie, watching the second half of the news, which is mostly commercial for car dealerships or furniture stores, the news sprinkled in between, including the (snore) sports.  The day’s weather forecast is my cue to get up and get moving.

So, yeah, it hardly seems like a challenge to give that up for a week, right?  Wrong.  I need those 15 minutes of peace and solitude, because once my children are awake, bedlam begins.  Bickering, poking each other, spurts of energy that involve footballs and couch jumping, all before 7 a.m.  Those first 15 minutes of my day give me enough serenity to deal with the next hour or so of chaos before the bus comes.  And while I talked the talk, I sure as anything was not going to give it up for TV Turnoff Week.  So there.

(Ray, by the way, thinks my morning routine is silly, preferring to use his snooze button a few times before heading off to the bathroom to shave and shower.  I remind him that me with a razor before a cup of coffee is just asking for a trip to the ER.  Knowing well my lack of dexterity with sharp objects, he has no choice but to agree with the wisdom of my “caffeination before interaction” approach to the day.)

As it happened, though, this morning I did not watch anything.  Something is wrong with our DirectTV connection on the downstairs TV.  No news for me today.  I had to go through the awful rigamarole of starting my computer!  Getting on the internet!  Reading the news and weather on line!  Imagine the horror!

The kids did only slightly better.  Ellie and Mitzi opted to sleep late for a few minutes.  Cooper was distraught because he never gets to be in charge of the remote (he’s usually the last to get up) and he was missing his big chance.  Oh, the humanity.  The fact we were all still suffering that lost hour of sleep didn’t help our moods – nor did the fact that because of that lost hour we were waking up in the dark again.  Hardly energy boosting, daylight savings.

Of course we all survived, grumbling aside.  But it’s only day one, and not even noon.  How committed will we be?  And by we, I mean, me.  I’m wondering what will happen after lunch, when I usually let the little girls watch a show for “quiet time,” that blessed period which used to be for napping when the kids were younger.  Ahh, glorious quiet time. Will I be strong in my resolve?  Will I cave and let them turn on Crashbox so I can close my eyes for a few minutes to combat my Monday exhaustion?  (I mean, it’s only fair, since Joanna, being in preschool, never signed up for this event….see, already I’m wobbly.)

Oh, I’m quite sure my children can survive a week without television.  But, can I?

Stay tuned.

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12 thoughts on “TV Turnoff Week: Only the strong shall survive

  1. well, i’m not sure that muggy could do it…..however, since the big floor refinishing started a week ago last saturday, i have changed my morning routine. i no longer start the fire in the family room since that room was being done….so after the morning walk with max, we head into the living room for coffee and a little quiet time. we’ve (well, i should say I) have been doing our lenten readings to the quiet of the morning. i also went with grandma’s weather report….you know, the one where you look out the window, because that’s more accurate than those guys on tv! when i have my quiet time, it’s with a book, not watching roku. however at night pop and i do turn the tv on for a little diversion before going to sleep….i find that if i settle in bed with a book, i fall asleep and wake up at 3!!!!! and since we’re retired, we don’t care if it’s dark in the am, we just stay in bed till it gets light!!! good luck! you can do it!!!! xo

      • i no longer get the new cooking channel so when i would look at shoes, they’re mostly ones i’ve seen before on food network….besides, i CAN cook!!!!! and my dorks help me out! xo

  2. Awww Jenna…. I feel for you!! (seriously). I’m not sure we could do it in this household… although it would be good to try. I could definitely do with a reprieve from those Disney channel shows… I Carly (bleh!)… Crashbox (whatever that is) definitely sounds better! I like that your kids don’t touch any other media during the week. I fear I’m too late at this point to try and initiate that idea. At least they’re giving up the Wii for Lent. 🙂

    • Oh, I’ve become immune to iCarly, sad to say, but I sure didn’t miss it today or anything. Crashbox is on HBO — it’s a weirdly fun animated program full of math/logic games, puzzles, problem solving stuff. It’s about as educational as a show can get, I suppose — hey, it’s better than SpongeBob, right?? And, to update, we did give in to watch 101 Dalmations this afternoon. Alas. Tomorrow is another day!

  3. You are only punishing yourself. Get that afternoon nap while the kids watch a little TV. An hour a day is not a big deal.

    Morning news programs here are all about “entertainment”. No news gets aired. They do the weather OK. Everything else needs to be gotton somewhere else.

    Don’t not use sharp instruments nefore 10am.

  4. I hate that whole idea of being anti-tv, computer etc. It should be used within reason of course but as the kids would say this is how we roll. It’s our life in the 21 century. No one used these things before they didn’t have them which of course is obvious. Some people shun all of the new digital age so much that it makes one wonder if those same people use eletricity or cars and such. Each new generation has something new to embrace. It’s the path of progression. It’s natural. Those people whom I know who can barely use a cell phone and who can’t use a computer are going to be completely out of touch and greatly hindered one day. And sorry because of it. I have talked to adults who said they were never allowed to watch tv during the week when they were growing up and because of that they had no idea about all of the pop culture news of the day that their friends talked about in school. In most cases a little less tv and more homework would be a good thing but there has to be a balance. Excuse me for my rant. It’s a pet peeve that I have.

  5. John is talking to his parents through the computer right now 🙂 (Google voice).

    Jen, I really like NPR in the morning – you can try that next time your TV is on the fritz! xoxo

  6. I was raised without a TV. My first experience was when I was in Germany with Rays Father in 1962. There, invited to his friends on base. I remember my first view of such marvel was the assassination of President Kennedy, whom I had never heard of. I am still not a lover of TV. Sure I have learned a lot, with all the documentaries and history of the 1939 up to 1945. It taught me about history, and other such events, which I never learned as a child. Now, I prefer to spend my days creating things outdoors. The daily news to me is very depressing and America has a habit of dwelling on any given situation for days sometimes months. The radio is my way of getting the latest informative news. It keeps me focused. When my boys were small, they were always tuned in to Sesame Street. I am curious to know if your family made through the week. “Great article though” as always. You are a fantastic writer Jennifer.

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