Video Killed the Radio Star… and my children’s creativity too.

Remember that song?  Ok, I’m dating myself but I was only 2 when it came out!  Ok, I was 7 but who’s keeping track?  Anyway, the song is about the good old days of radio and goes on to tell the story of  a singer and how television killed their career.  Well, not much has changed since the late 70′s.

Television PhotoNow before I begin, I’m not going to start preaching the evils of tv and how you should all chuck your set out a window or anything crazy like that.  I happen to like watching a show here and there.  Even if watching The Bachelor does lower my IQ temporarily, it’s still kind of fun… and don’t get me started on my girl Oprah.  Love her.  Here’s what I know about tv and my kids though.  When my husband and I start to get lax and don’t monitor the amount being watched for our girls – we pay the price.  Oh do we pay the price.

So here’s what happened.  Life gets busy, right?  I’m not going to try to justify it, we got distracted.  We’re both working hard and the t.v. started becoming a bit of a babysitter.  We’re not talking crazy amounts of hours, but still, I’m not proud.  So what happens, at least with my kids, is that their creativity gets sucked right out of their bodies.  I mean it’s just gone.  All of a sudden my 8 year old believes there is nothing fun to do in the world but watch tv or play on the computer and all her toys are lame and everything is boring.  It’s like a crazy vortex that she gets pulled into where nothing matters but the almighty video.

So we hit the wall.  My husband and I knew we only had ourselves to blame, but who wants to sit around and play that game – it was time to set it straight.  We pulled the plug.  I mean everything.  No tv, no video games, no computer time…nothing.  For three weeks.  Can you guess what happened?  I mean after all the complaining and whining…

Yup, life returned to normal.  The kids were playing together, thinking up new games, playing with old toys, creativity was everywhere!  The best part was their joy came back.  No more grouchiness and back talk, just happy kids goofing around.

We’ve got two weeks left in the unplugged world and then my plan is to bring it back in moderation.  Maybe a half hour a day.  I’m not opposed to letting them watch a movie and play some video games on the weekends, but I’m not going back to the land of apathy and sass talk.  No thanks.

Was this all stuff I knew before?  Yes.  Did I let it happen anyway?  Yes.  It’s just one of life’s gentle little reminders that tells us to stay alert and that when life goes a little out of balance you’ve got to stop and reset.

A mini clip just for nostalgia’s sake – Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles

What do you do about TV in your house?  Share in the comments!

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