Operation Hide The Remotes

I remember reading an article in adbusters encouraging everyone to “kill your tv”. It pictured two children, around the age of 10, on a sofa. You couldn’t see the TV in front of them and the photo was taken as if the camera were right in front of the TV. The children’s eyes are dazed, mouths open, faces expressionless. Before reading the article, the picture begged the question what’s wrong with these children? They were zonked. TV coma.
I’ve never liked TV. My mom always said I had so much energy as a child that it would never hold my attention long enough anyway. I’ve never caught on to sitcoms. Admittedly I fall into the American Idol and Xfactor trap, but I contribute that to my love of music.
We started using shows like Yo Gabba Gabba to assist during mealtime. The show went on, his mouth opened, he chewed his food, and everything at the table was relatively peaceful. Then he’d be done with his meal, the TV would go off and next thing we knew Hoop would be at our feet with both remotes in hand nagging for us to put the show back on. And by nagging I mean full on tantruming. There’s only so many ways to reason with a two year old. And by only so many ways what I really mean is that there is NO way to reason with a two year old.
So we started hiding the remotes.
At first, he’d ask to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and I’d tell him to go find the remotes, knowing of course, that they were hidden. He’d get distracted during his hunt and move on to playing with his toys.
That worked for a little while.
Then he started rooting around in our bedroom and would come back out to the family room with the remote from our bedroom in his hands. And that tantrum would happen all over again. So for the past few days, I’ve been hiding both remotes. And it’s been wonderful. In fact, I think he’s forgotten all about the TV.
We also deleted all the Yo Gabba Gabbas from our DVR. I know, risky move. But we really didn’t want a back up plan available. Watching that shit was killing my brain cells and I can’t stand the vacant stare that comes over his face when the TV is on.
So lately we’ve been reading books during mealtime. And it’s been heavenly.
Image borrowed from here.

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19 Responses

  • I was never into tv when i was a kid either, i dont think my parents ever had to temp me otherwise as i liked being outside. It sucks seeing people raise their kids in front of a screen.

    Ive never been one of those people who says “i dont have a tv” and scoffs. I love films, my boyfriend loves games and I love Jason Segel so its never going. But recently, I’ve really wanted to just switch it off. Christ, I’m really sick of the thing. I come home from work and its the first thing I turn on, and its the last thing at night.

    I’m thinking about having ‘no electiricty date night’, where we light a load of candels, cook our meal on a camp stove and play board games, and you know, talk!


  • I work in TV, so I it would be hypocritical of me to say TV is bad, when it is the industry I work in. However, we do have a no TV policy during meals. We all sit at the table and eat together and talk. Weeknights is no TV for the boys, and the only time the boys watch in front of the tv is during pizza and a movie night which is on Fridays. I’ve found that can be dangerous too as my older one will guaranteed eat one too many slices of pizza because he’s not paying attention and will keep asking for more pieces as he’s watching the movie, and complain of a stomach ache. So we’ve learned that 1.5 slices is enough, and if he asks for more, he’s easily distracted with a glass of water instead. We also only do an hour of TV in the mornings on weekends, then it’s outside time, then play with toys time etc etc. We do have TV, but we have strict rules! 🙂
    Fortunately for us, we never turned on Yo Gabba Gabba, so that is never on in our house even when we have the one hour in the morning mandate.

    • Ya, I wasnt’ initially for eating with the TV on but it just so happens that you can see the TV from our kitchen table and that someone is an absolute HORRIBLE eater ::cough cough Hooper cough cough:: and TV seems to fix some of the fighting at the table. But I agree, we’ve gotten ourselves into a hole that’s hard to dig out.

      • Ya, and they WILL eat more in front of the TV as my oldest always does when watching our Friday movies and ends up making himself sick, hence the rationing of pizza slices. So I can see how it was a helpful tool for you since the eating is such a pain.

  • We don’t own a TV – (chloe, i sound pretentious but I don’t mean to be). Nevertheless, our family still struggles with screen time. With the iPad, the iMac and the iPhone – we’re infront of a screen more than we’d like/need to be. New Years Resolution – limit that shit!

    • It’s true… all the screens are quite a distraction. I spend just as much time behind my computer as others do behind the TV. I guess you pick your poison, a? I’d love to get rid of the TV but I think Willy would lose his mind.

  • Ahhhh, that’s one thing that’s always been very different about us — I’ve always LOVED TV and you never had the patience for it…except for “Price is Right” and “Hunter” during summer breaks 😉 I keep toying with the idea of giving up TV, but I really do enjoy it. Is that bad? I feel like there is this social idea that ditching TV is “better” for you…but I’m not sure that’s 100% true. Have the people who say that seen “Homeland”??? Maybe moderation is key… Not that I have any when it comes to TV, but still.

  • we don’t have a tv in the upstairs of the house – where we hang with the kiddo. tv is in the downstairs man-cave den. works great since kiddo thinks “tv” exists only on the iPad (which is VERY easy to hide – outta sight, outta mind). We read books during mealtime too. works great unless you want to eat as well. Try reading the cat in the hat while chewing. Ha!

  • Yesterday we started “no TV Tuesday” and I feel like it already has improved his recent bratty tendancies. But I am a wishful thinker 🙂 Something about not catering to his TV whims makes me feel like a good mom – nevermind that when he woke up at 4:30 this morning asking for “milk please” he got it…baby steps

  • This is seriously such a good idea! i don’t have kids, but i will probably do the same when i do- crazy how addicted and glazed over kids get when watching tv

  • love this post. We got rid of TV when Wilf was three months old, mainly because I could see a terrible patten forming of not leaving the house until the breakfast shows had finished and the fact that when Tom got home the first thing he did was turn the TV on, it stayed on until we went to bed. It started off being about us not watching TV but I’m so glad we got rid of it then before I could show it to Wilf. I don’t mention not having TV on my blog as it sounds too self righteous but its the BEST thing we ever did. Wilf has seen some Barefoot book animations on Youtube everyone once in a while and some of the Sesame street clips with bands I like but other than that he’s not really seen any of it. Now Tom gets home and we chat and eat at the table, we do still have a netflix account and watch one episode a night of something like Breaking Bad or what not but in the day nothing, its great. I know Wilf is only one so maybe when he’s experiencing the terrible two’s or something I will change my mind and be a little more lenient, I cant say. I am glad I dont have to watch those shows though (although I quite like Yo Gabba Gabba when watched pre parenthood and slightly drunk) 🙂 xx

    • Good for you. I wish we could get rid of our TV too. I’m all for it, but Willy is a no go. I get it. We like to have friends over to watch sports and it would kinda suck to miss out on those gatherings. But I hate how much it’s on. When I’m home, I don’t turn it on at all. I seem to get through our days without any trouble as of late. The problem is when I work and he’s taken care of by Willy or my parents… then there is a day or two of TV detox I have to deal with. It is what it is. I would get rid of it tomorrow if it were up to me. And yes, Gabba Gabba must only be watched after a few drinks.

  • I was similar with TV as you were, but my boys actually can go weeks without watching a thing. They suddenly realize it and go, “hey, can we watch ___” – we have no TV channels at all but have Netflix instant play. What you went through sounds like quite an adventure, but I am so glad that you don’t give in and that you are still in charge.
    A friend of mine allows her child to control her. He gets his way. If he yells that he wants to watch something, she puts it on. When I tell her that maybe she should think about saying, “NO” she gets all upset, “but then I have to hear crying and whining for a long time.” I told her, “You’ll have to just deal with that! It is better than allowing him his own way.” but alas, I could only say what I could and the rest was in her hands. . .and she continued. I say nothing now.

    It is great that you all read now instead together! Yey!!! Books are fun!


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