Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer 2009 Unplugged?

I'm nervous to even write this out loud, but I'm thinking about giving the "unplugged" lifestyle a whirl this summer. By that I mean no (or very limited) TV or computer for one whole summer. Will that turn mommytown into crazytown? Stay tuned...

If you are already unplugged, I want to hear from you! How do you make it work? Plug in for a second and leave me a comment, will ya?

This idea is still in the thinking about it stages. I reserve the right to come to my senses at any moment. : )


Deanna said...

Hey there. We aren't unplugged (though we try to keep the kid TV - if not our own! - to a minimum). But, we are looking at trying an "unschooling" style for the summer. Might fill that intimidating summer void!

Vintage Chica is a great blog and she is hosting a "summer unschooling project" if you want to check it out: http://vintagechica.typepad.com/summerunschool/2009/02/its-a-start.html

Phillips Family said...

THis is an interesting notion. I have thought about cutting waay back on TV time over the summer, simply because I cannot get the "Special Agent OSO" theme song out of my head. My kids don't watch a lot of television, but they do watch one program a morning so Mommy can actually look like a person and not a walking zombie.

I use the computer a TON during the day to look up a variety of information (oh..and to check my Facebook account). Not sure if I could unplug that. I will be interested to see how this would work for you!

Good Luck!

Grace said...

OK this is what I would do. Swim, swim, and when you can't swim, crank up the music and eat sugar free popsicles and icy pops! ( don't forget to invite a friend over that doesn't watch TV.)

Elizabeth said...

Deanna, thanks for that link...I can't wait to check it out. I love the idea of "unschooling."

Phillips family, I use the computer a ton during the day too, but I have had to cut way back because it's hard to tell the kids they can't use it but I can. I can't believe there was a time when I could just watch food network whenever I got the urge and email while breastfeeding all day long...those days ended once Emma realized there were actually other non-food-oriented channels on the television. Sigh.... the older my kids get, the better my behavior has to be. I am relishing the fact that I can still eat a cookie in front of Teddy and he is none the wiser. Babies are awesome that way.

As far as my "unplugging" goes, there are definitely going to be some ground rules, like I totally get to use the computer after the kids go to bed. And B and I still get to watch a little TV. Brandon is so not unplugging from ESPN. It is not happening. And I think the kids can watch a movie or a show ocassionally. It doesn't have to be an extreme, all or nothing kind of thing. I just want to get to a point where most days we don't turn on the TV or computer during kid-awake hours. I think that will be my goal. We'll see though, like I said, I may decide this idea is totally nuts and chuck the whole thing.

Grace, I'm with you on the swimming thing. That is definitely my plan this summer! Can't wait for that part to start!!


Katherine said...

We were mostly unplugged from the TV until a few months ago. Nelson probably thought our TV only worked when there were SEC football / basketball games playing! :)
So, to that end, I can say that going TV-free during kid-awake hours can be done without much hassle. However, even then Nelson watched an occasional video on the computer (mostly home movies, but occasionally some web content and you-Tube videos).
The computer would be much harder for us (ahem, ME). :)
I must confess that for my INTJ self - it is my safe way to connect to the world. I may not answer my phone, but my computer is ALWAYS on and connected.
I, too, miss the days of sitting in front of a computer nursing all day -- but Nelson won't let me do that now - even when Grant is willing! :)

I think it would be harder to start doing it once they're used to screen time, though. Before, Nelson didn't know the difference. But now, I think he would protest if I told him that he couldn't watch SteveSongs or Between the Lions all summer . . .

Jennifer said...

You can do it! I mean the modified version. Maybe you could make it a reward. Like if Emma eats something new and healthy, then she can watch 30 minutes or play a computer game. When my kids were those ages, I would go to the gym twice a day and worked out like crazy. They could watch tv at the gym, so they were always happy to go. I know it's cheating, but you can't control the plugged-in stuff outside the house. The trick is to go, go, go and keep meal prep. super simple.

Phillips Family said...

Don't kids spoil all the fun? I, too, hated the day when Isaac figured out that channel 52 (Food Network) was not the only channel on our television. :)

Elizabeth said...

I think your point about keeping meal prep simple is so true! I mainly use TV to get dressed in the morning and to make dinner. I think I can streamline these two things so that they don't require a television show to do. Plus, often if I just suggest something else for the kids to do they will happily do that instead of watching TV. The tricky thing is when we are all exhausted. That is when TV/computer is my drug of choice. I feel like I need to be ready with some plan of what to do when we're all too tired for Candy Land or playdough.

Staying out of the house definitely seems to be the other key component. Luckily we can go to the Y and the kids don't have a TV in the kids club...I can watch to my heart's content while on the treadmill though. Don't tell them that. : ) Thanks for all these great suggestions!

Ramona said...

Love this post and the comments! I had a fleeting thought recently along the unplugged lines... I was wondering if you think that would be unplugging music too? Probably not, the more I think of it, b/c you didn't say music :). I'm thinking it would be good for us to watch less tv and listen to more music. And it definitely would be good for me to stop running to the computer, but it's so fun :). And I was just talking to Amanda about unschooling yesterday. It's not for us, but I love the idea, and want to try to do some of that same kind of idea outside of schoool. I'm looking forward to checking out the recommended blog next :). Have a great day! Oh, and I loved your last post too. Charlie made me laugh really hard :). Have a great day!

Elizabeth said...

I think we should only listen to acoustic music that Charlie plays on the guitar...ha ha, just kidding. I need to listen to more music too. I'm not sure what happened to that part of my life. I used to be a big music person and now I never listen to it. I'm hoping this unplugged thing will lead to lots of new discoveries of things we can do for fun that maybe we don't do now because we're too quick to hop on the computer or flip on a show. So far today we haven't watched any tv or done the computer...except for me right now. (kids are at preschool) :) I don't think anyone has noticed anything is up, and the kids played so well this morning. They both came up with things that were creative and didn't seem to miss TV at all. I am not looking my cutest, but I don't think the people at Target and the library really cared. So far, so good!

Robin said...

As usual, I loved reading your post and all the great comments. As you know, I am quite the anti-TV spokeswoman (having been raised that way until middle school by two educators and having written college papers on the evils of TV commercials). But like Jennifer, my kids get their TV fix at the gym. It is my guilty pleasure. And my kids do watch videos from time to time...they are especially fond of our wedding video and my sister's wedding video, which never fails to amuse me. Clearly, these are not kids used to a lot of action in their shows (my sister's wedding was bilingual and included several insanely long prayers). :) It is ironice that this summer my kids will probably watch MORE videos than usual thanks to the impending arrival of #3. But we'll also have a lot of grandparental entertainment, so maybe it won't be as bad as I think. :)

Good luck and keep us posted!

Elizabeth said...

Robin, I'm laughing out loud at the thought of your kids zoning out to a long, bilingual wedding prayer. I'm not sure that counts as screen time. : ) Charlie's current favorite show is "How It's Made," a weird documentary show on the Science channel that explains how all sorts of random things are made (think golf clubs and hardwood floors). That kid is going to be a wealth of random information. TV's not all bad!

I have been weaning us off of the TV & computer this week and I am happy to report that we are all surviving, even thriving. The less you watch,the easier it is to not watch, if that makes any sense. We're not totally unplugged though. I'm still stumped on what to do when the kids are exhausted (like after school). It's too late for a nap...I have to get dinner started...any creative solutions for what to do during this very tired time in our house?

MaryAnne said...

I'm not ready to unplug, but I think it's a noble idea. My sister unplugs a few days each week - she actually unplugs the computer monitor and sticks it in the closet (they don't have a TV).

Happy Mother's Day!