Tip #20 – No TV in the Mornings

Sep 21

Tips for Raising Kids in Digital AgeI realize this will probably not be one of my more popular tips.  For many readers this may seem a painfully obvious, common sense, bit of advice.  Others, however, may want to kick me in the butt for suggesting it because their morning TV time is so entrenched in their family routine that giving it up would be like dropping a bomb that explodes into a cacophony of whining, crying, and arguing.

I get it.  I’ve been there, myself.  For years I let my kids watch TV as soon as they got out of bed.  It kept them quiet, amused, and allowed me to slowly wake up (with coffee in hand).  But the same, frustrating problem presented itself almost every day:  I had to negotiate (read: argue) with them over when the screen had to turn off.  The conversation went something like this:

“Turn the TV off.”

“Not yet, Mom!”

“You need to eat breakfast.”

“No. It’s almost over.”

“How much longer till it’s over?”

“Five more minutes.”

“You need to get ready for school.”

“Five more minutes.”

“I don’t have time for this! You need to get ready!”

“Please!  Mom! No!  No! Don’t turn it off!”

“There’s more than five minutes left! I’m turning it off.”

“Wait…”

“You’ll miss your bus…”

And so on, and so on.  It didn’t matter that they’d seen that particular episode of Franklin twenty times.

Sound familiar? Two years ago, I banned the television – and video games – from being turned on during school day mornings.  The fights are obsolete.  In fact, my kids have nothing better to do other than, um, get ready for school.  Go figure!  No more fights.  No more rushing to get out the door.  It’s all rather Zen-like in our household in the mornings.

This is, by far, the single biggest improvement I have experienced in our morning ritual.  The screen is a distraction – the ideal procrastination tool – preventing us from doing something more valuable with our time.  (For example: I used to sew in the evenings, now I watch Survivor).  By teaching kids to shut off the screen when they need to complete a task (like get ready for school) parents are helping them recognize the value of staying focused and the limitations of a distracted brain.

Who knows? They may even have time to make their beds and clear their breakfast dishes, leaving you more time to get the stuff done that you want to do (as long as it’s not turning on the Morning Show).

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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One comment

  1. megan gruner /

    I am totally astonished that anyone would let their child watch t.v first this in the morning. What are people thinking!!! It is no wonder children have no imagination, can’t sit still and have anxiety issues.

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