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TV might cause autism, definitely causes chaos

Everett_and_the_tvs
I recently cut off the cable at our house. If you knew me three years ago, you would be shocked. I've always been pretty relaxed when it comes to media's effects on my kids, but in the past few years I've seen more and more negative results of too much TV (even though I tried to limit the amount and quality of their exposure, I often failed due to a huge number of factors). Even when they weren't watching TV, my 6-year-old and 3-year-old were arguing with me about it.

I wrote about this for Culinate, and was amazed by the quality and quantity of the responses to my piece (where I was, mostly, talking about giving up Rachael Ray and replacing her with beloved cookbooks). The day after my piece went up, my boss sent me this article from Slate, which gives evidence that TV watching in young children might cause autism. I had to gulp, because my middle son is speech delayed, and I had to wonder if it was his frequent exposure to his older brother's television shows at a young age. The theory is that babies need three-dimensional stimuli, and an abundance (in my book, "abundance" means more than an hour a day, even in my loving, attentive, active and book-reading household, our TV days were often more like 3-4 hours) of two-dimensional stimuli is ultimately harming. No, I don't think this is isolated to the sorts of parents (or more likely, low-cost in-home infant care) where babies are strapped in car seats and plunked in front of TVs. This is homes like mine, where mama is trying to juggle too much and lets the kids watch three hours of Nick Jr.

I'm not suggesting that everyone cut their cable off, too (well, I am suggesting that, but I would never judge you for not doing it), but I think it's worth taking a closer look at the various studies and my anecdotal data. In my house, TV causes chaos, and so far I've been a better mama without it.

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We don't have cable and I don't miss it. With kids, I think it would be harder to drop cable than to never have it. My daughter remembers everything, so if we watch something on youtube once, she'll ask for it again and again. No way she'd forget what programs she wanted if we had cable.

I try to limit media exposure, mostly because it feels like a crutch. I need the dvds or youtube videos sometimes, but I don't want to make it my go-to plan. Lots of kids I know seem fine with much more tv in their lives, but like a lot of things, it doesn't feel necessary or that enjoyable for us.

After moving from Portland to London about 1.5 years ago, it was a simply way to rid of a TV. We simply did not buy one once we reached the UK. We lived without for about 1 year. It most certainly made it easy for me to feel that I was not exposing my children to too much TV. I did resort to the portable DVD player for Maisy or Peppa Pig (have you seen this? it is great!) video while preparing dinner....

Upon moving to Sweden about 3 years ago, I was actually insistent on getting a TV. I felt it important for the children to watch to enable them to help learn the language here. And in a very short time I see how dependent they (and I!) have become. I have wondered if it has simply been a backlash as it is a bit of a "novelty" after being without...

In short, I think that everything should be in moderation. Having a TV is important so that parents can teach how to watch responsibly....but I most certainly know that it is much easier said than done....

I'm more of a moderation-in-all-things person in this. Since my spouse works in video production and I'm in front of a computer most of my work day, it seems kind of strange to me to avoid the digital world entirely at home -- it's our livelihood. Granted, in our off hours, we like to mix it up more, but I'm not comfortable excluding it entirely at this point. I grew up with kids with limited tv/movie watching rights who wanted to do nothing else when they visited my house, which was kind of boring/irritating to me at times. In contrast to most of them, I was a relative bookworm, but my tv access was only really limited by my bedtime (not for content or time). One parent I knew (slightly) told his kids that his tv set was "broken" and that he couldn't get parts because of the embargo in Cuba -- don't know what happened when his kids found out he was making that up.

There is a linear relationship between hours of tv watched and BMI (a measurement of whether or not children are a healthy weight for their height) plus television is used to market unhealthy foods to children. Watching TV spends less calories than sleeping: it puts us into a torpor.

Oh, now it's television? Last week it was heavy metals in the vaccines. Next week it'll be high fructose corn syrup, video games and clowns.

We dont watch to much tv around here,maybe a video every couple of weeks or so.The crappy thing about that is that my kids are drawn like a magnet to any tv at grandparents,friends or even at stores.GRRRR so frustrating to hear that she watched 2 hours of something not content appropriate @ grandmas because g-ma's a pushover.

We kept the Tv on a tight leash when the kids were littles. Just one kid show a day. With Tivo, no commercials necessary. Now that they are older, 14 and 12, I find that we watch Tv mostly as a family... remote in hand, to pause and discuss situations that might come up. Some nights we watch a movie or a single show. Other nights we are doing board or card games around the table or heading outside to do other stuff. Tv time,just like many things in life needs to be held in check, like clutter or sweets. A little is fine, just be careful.

We have cable almost precisely because when my kids do watch TV (never more than a 1/2 hour a day, with many days, particularly in the summer, of no TV at all) I want them to have access to a quality show -- PBS On Demand, Discovery or something like it. This is the way it's always been in our house -- and my six year old has a 150 plus IQ. I think it'll be OK.

I don't think cable itself is the problem. I agree with philomom and many others here. Like sugar, fatty foods, anything, it's all about how much. As my sage grandfather used to say...everything in moderation.

We're pretty infrequent watchers around here for no reason other than we just don't turn it on much. I don't find that I need "rules" about when or how much or anything just because it's never really been much of an issue. We have days where it's not on at all and days where they may watch a few PBS shows in the morning or afternoon. I am purposeful about turning it off after a show so that it's not "background noise" which I think has helped in keeping it from being all consuming. Watching tv is an activity, not just something passive, for us. My mom has noticed that my boys will play for long periods of time and she thinks it's related to the fact that we don't watch much. I think that's probably true, but again, not something I ever really tried to make happen.

We've never had cable because I have a big problem with paying to hear advertisements. Frankly, they should be paying me to watch it. But that's another topic I suppose. So, we're looking forward to next February when the tv will no longer work. Out it goes. I imagine at some point it may return, but it's not something I'm itching to replace.

There are so many environmental factors that go into parenting, everyone's personality being just one factor...so to narrow it down to one stimuli equals a very concerning SPECTRUM disorder is so ridiculous to me. There's a million reasons to limit the amount and type of TV our kids watch, but autism? Gimme a break.
We wouldn't even be reading Urban Mamas if we weren't involved, loving, pretty awesome moms doing the best we can for our kids. Sometimes I think we might need to relax and give ourselves a break, because like every mama before us, it's hard, we're gonna fail at times, and no child grows up perfect, but we can do our best to love our kids, and that's what's really important. So I say do what feels right for your family and your convictions at the time. :)

I had to laugh out loud when I read this topic. I have a four year old son who I have never let to this day watch 1 minute of telelvision. He is autistic and has been diagnosed since he was 18 months old. My other son we adopted from the foster care system when he was two years old. He was in a foster home with five other children and a single foster mom were he watched television from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed. He has absolutey no signs of autism. He also has not watched television in the year since we brought him home. I do agree that watching television is not a great thing, but come on do we really have to make sure silly associations.

I saw that article this weekend at it got me a bit hot and bothered. My son reacts very strongly to television, and it has had me worried about his possible placement on the spectrum. That article was kind a sock in the gut until I realized that it had been written in 2006. I did some more searching on the internet, not real in depth, but enough, and saw that a lot of the articles on the subject simply referred back to the original slate article. I didn't see any other studies, and couldn't find the one referenced in the article. Being written in 2006, I really expected to see more on the subject, especially if it had turned up a strong connection.

I know the tv affects my son adversely, but I have a hard time jumping on a bandwagon spawned by a single article in Slate. I'm a little surprised to see this here.

OK, I get it, upper class, college-educated people shun TV and blue collar people watch it all day long.

Did you know that to make one pound of meat is the planet destroying equivalent of driving three hours? Why don't we start that conversation while we're judging TV.

I agree that TV watching is not great for kids, but this article really seemed so alarmist to me. It's crazy that anyone would try to blame autism on sitting in front of the TV-as if to suggest that parents of kids with autism could have prevented it by not having a television in the house. As a kid we watched TV from the time we got home from school until we went to bed. That was in the early 70s, so the cable theory seems weak at best. I think there's a terrible sickness amongst parents always looking for the next theory to spend our time worrying about.

I think this post speaks to a desire in all of us to find an easy fix to what may be some extremely complex issues. It's not easy to put together a functional family. Or a healthy family. Or a family of people who feel treasured and respected.

TV is perhaps a small part of it, as are some other choices that we hold onto so firmly -- food, choice of house, choice of transportation, choice of cleaning products, breast v. formula, etc.

If only.

Clearly, nearly everyone has firm opinions about the above, just as I do. As much as we would like to feel like we could control the happiness of our children by some of these choices -- I don't know if it works so simply.

On the other hand, having a joyful family, which relaxes and just has fun together and tries to leave the stresses of the world at the door, feels like the most simple, happy thing of all.

I watched a lot of tv in my youth and I'm not autistic. And our home wasn't chaotic.

I think what people are talking about has little to do with tv itself and everything to do with trying to fit far too much into our days. Having said that, getting rid of our tv gave us back a couple of hours each day, which has become valuable time for us to re-connect with each other, explore more, learn more, read more and talk more.

It was hard at first, but we don't miss it now.

I think this is another case of parents trying to find a cause for something that can't be explained. Personally, I doubt there is a link between TV and autisim.

We don't have cable. My husband and I cancelled it years ago (before kids) in an effort to save on our monthly bills.

My three don't watch any TV on the television, so no commercials. I do allow my three year old to watch a short movie each day during quiet time while her little brother and sister are napping. And, I'll sometimes put the little ones (age 1) in front of a series of Sesame Street podcasts to give me enough time to shower or pull together dinner.

I don't think a little TV is a big deal so long as it keeps the peace, is age appropriate, and is somewhat educational. For instance, some nights if we are running late for dinner, the choice here is to let three toddlers scream and tantrum for 30 minutes or to let them veg out with Sesame Street while I pull together their dinner. I don't think anyone would choose three screaming toddlers. Do I like sticking them in front of the TV? No. Is it better than the alternative. Sometimes, Yes, I think so.

As they get older, honestly, I'll probably relax more about the TV. I don't want them to be labeled as "nerds" or feel like they are missing out because they have no idea what their friends are talking about at the lunch table. They will be able to watch a few of the popular shows with us, and we'll talk about any issues that arise.

I think there is a happy medium that can be reached, and as long as you are actively engaging with your kids, a little TV isn't a big deal.

Isn't it entirely possible that the kids who aren't experts on the latest tv shows might find each other and talk or play about other things? You know, based on their own imagination instead of something canned? My kids are little still, so maybe I just don't get it, but really? I don't mean to sound trite but are we really talking about making parenting decisions based on whether or not our kids are "nerds" or popular? My mother's mantra to me as a child was "if everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you?" Sometimes parenting means going against the flow.

And as for autism, if only it were that simple.

Correlation is not causation. Research tends to bring up more questions that it answers. Perhaps parents of toddlers who are showing early signs of autism are responding by relying more on television than other parents? Is there something about the communities they studied that accounts for more television watching? I think the study authors are beign rather sensational by titling their study "Does TV Cause Autism?", but that is how you get more press coverage (and thus future funding for research, etc).

thanks for all your comments -- just wanted to respond to a few things.

the Slate article: somehow, I missed the date on that! phooey. sorry. i hate making a big deal of news that isn't news. i agree that correlation and causation aren't the same thing. i still think that the theory behind it could be valid -- sure, not every kid who watches TV will get some sort of brain disorder, but maybe every kid who watches too much tv when he's little will be negatively affected.

moderation: definitely. in my house we couldn't make moderation work. i tried for almost six years and had to give up. going cold turkey was the final and last straw in a very, very long and hard journey.

nerds unite: love your theory. yes to kids getting together to imagine that they're dragons and princesses and frogs and superheroes without having to connect it to a trademark. yes to this city, where it seems to be more and more easy to find other families who go without TV. yes to being nerds and being cool with it.

Kristin: perhaps others are looking for an *easy* fix, i'm only looking for a fix. maybe my family is thoroughly dysfunctional -- no, my family IS thoroughly dysfunctional -- but i'm certainly not saying "cut off cable and all will be well." it's been one bit of a process to fix some stuff that was broken. one brick in a foundation of better peace. 'having a joyful family, which relaxes and just has fun together and tries to leave the stresses of the world at the door, feels like the most simple, happy thing of all' -- wow, that sounds lovely, i wish that was simple for us.

Sarah,

I wasn't directing my comment at you or your family or anything that I wouldn't presume to know about.

I was speaking to what I have found in the parenting world in general, particularly when it comes to autism, to try to find the one thing, or series of things, that give *the* answer and makes a family work. As I found when my oldest child had colic, once I stopped listening to the supposed experts about my child, and started focusing just on he and I, the more we began to work together well.

So, if, when listening to your children, you discovered that TV was not healthy, then by all means, chuck the thing. It hasn't proven to be bad for my kids, and it hasn't given them autism, so we're keeping it. Hopefully, both approaches are OK.

Again, I was not directing my comment at you, just at the general trend to find answers everywhere, particularly for autism.

I totally agree with the theories of moderation. And more importantly, focusing on one's own particular child/family and basing decisions from there. I tend to get sucked into the general mutter of all things parenting and child-related. I think it can be harmful to parents and undermine our own insights and understanding of our kids.

FWIW, I don't think tv and autism have a thing to do with one another. Too much tv isn't good...just as too much hfcs/caffeine/etc. isn't good for kids, either. Moderation and paying attention to how are kids react to these things is the best we can all do.

I am not a fan of TV, but my husband is. That said, we do not have cable and only watch DVDs. My husband is mostly on board with no TV for our 15mo daughter, and will watch maybe watch 30 minutes a week of David Attenborough nature shows with her. I have to say that our daughter is completely obsessed with books and would happily spend all non-park time having stories read to her. That may or may not have anything to do with no TV, but I think the lack of TV it is a huge contributor. When I am going crazy with her while trying to fold laundry or cook dinner, I put her in the Ergo on my back and she gets to watch me work. I have also seen friends go through the TV battles with their kids and I’m glad that we will not have to deal with this (until she is older and can watch TV at her friends houses).

thanks Kristin :) I think my nerves are raw this week and everything seems personal... but also, you're right about that search for a one-variable answer for problems. every time i write about my struggles with everett, i have someone email me with the greatest of love and good intentions suggesting that it might be the red food coloring. (or something) if only it were that, i could control that, if only i could control my children's environment so it was The Ideal Perfect one. i'm sure red food coloring doesn't help, just as tv doesn't help, and me getting angry doesn't help, and having chocolate milk and jungle cookies (his lunch one day this week, he reported) doesn't help.

I wonder what people think of the whole "if you withhold tv/sugar/video games/toy guns/ho-hos/spiderman when they're little they'll just binge at their friends' houses" argument. i've had this proferred a lot over my years writing about parenting and, I have to say, I think its time has come and gone. is it possible we could one day have the sort of kids who went over to their friends' houses and asked to play outside and picked figs off the tree out back for snacks? is it possible we'll one day have the kind of community where the kids who are raised with plenty of TV will be suspected of binging on madeleine l'engle when they're at their friends' houses?

I do still, by the way, watch TV online, after the kids have gone to bed, to get my 'psych' and 'mad men' fix. it's been easier than I thought to let go of everything else.

sarah gilbert, I really enjoy how you write about the way you think about things. Thank you. So, yes, if you withhold all those things, maybe they'll binge at their friends'. And?

I guess I figure I'm okay with that because they're learning that different things happen at different places. The world is not always the way it is at home, good and bad. And I think they're learning to be critical thinkers. The things I don't do in plenty at my home are things we talk about but I don't give them so much power as to make them huge deals. I don't think I can say "never" about any of the things on the "bad" list, whatever that may be. Rarely, sure, but not "never." "Never" makes it too alluring and taboo. If being at home without tv/sugar/colors/whatever is more rewarding than being at a friend's house with Twinkies and TV, I guess they'll binge there and still come home at night. And maybe even invite their friends here. To play. Or pick figs (love it!).

I don't limit things at my house because I'm set against them existing in the world. I do it because I don't think they're healthy choices in our home, for a variety of reasons. The tv isn't healthy for us because it interferes with our imaginations. When we're not watching tv we're playing together, building that relationship thing. I'm not naive enough to think that they'll never be exposed to it. My mother is a prime example. When she comes to visit (usually it's to babysit) she brings a movie. So they watch movies together. I have no desire to fight with her over why she does it, even though it's not something I would typically do. And then when she's gone, we turn it off and go on with our day.

I was a TV baby. My earliest memories were of That Girl, Nanny and the Professor and Bewitched.

As I got older I watched the Electric Company, ZOOM (Zee double-o em Box threefiveoh. . )

I also ran around outside ALOT so being sedentary didn't start til later. A good friend from high school was in a no TV household and to this day in entracned when a set is around and ON. For me it's often background.

I was raised by wolves, so left to my own devices I could watch tv, run around outside or read books. I did all three. Even won a read-a-thon or two.

My daughter has had TV her whole life. She had a TV in her room for 6 months when she was around three, until I got my mind right. She still talks about that golden age. As she's a teenager, I find myself restricting it more as she is much more sedentary than I was at her age. Hilarity ensues. NOT!

As for the friend's houses thing, yes, if you have an insular group of friends, schools and social activities that increases the likelihood that their choices will be the same as yours. We've had a range of friends houses. My favorite was the mom who sat the kids in front of the TV with a bag of hershey's kisses. They had every kid's video ever made. It tooks awhile to convince my kid that she wasn't being deprived. She was 5.

As y'all know, I get really crabby about stuff that feels like "OMG! what good parent would (blank)? " although I no more immune to the "Our family doesn't blah-blah cause it's bad" thing. Mine is video games, but my daughter knows how to play guitar hero from other folks' houses.

And if someone tried to take my laptop, hmm, there would be CHAOS.

Protest Mama: Don't forget, "Boston, Mass, Oh, 2, one, 3, 4, send it to Zoom!"

I must have grown up in the same house (or era) as you...magic shows were my biggie...Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Nanny and the Professor...I was a latch-key kid, and I would get home and spend my afternoon with Mr. TV. I had bad migraine headaches back then and I was very irritable. My mom thought that the irritability was due to the magic shows so she banned me from watching them. Needless to say, she was at work, so the magic shows continued. I had a limit of 2 hours per day (this was pre-video game, computer or GameBoy so it was all the screen time I got, supposedly) but I'm sure I watched upwards of 4 hours per day and lied about it at night. I was very sedintary, and I was overweight from 10-14, which set me up for a life of weight problems and other issues. So I try not to make TV a focal point of our lives. However, my daughter shows little to no interest in TV at age 3. She used to watch videos and PBS in the AM, but now she just wants to play and walk around outside before pre-school. She got a lot of TV at her in-home daycare for a year, and I think she burned out on it. Let's see what happens now that she is in no-TV preschool. The TV has not been ON for weeks at our house!

Well. We in PDX do tend to be a self-rightous bunch, don't we. Imagine this conversation say, in New York, without the abundance of open space and clean parks that we have to take advantage of. That being said, I must count myself in the group... it's just that sometimes it takes seeing it in copious doses to recognize it.

Husband and I got rid of our TV's 10 yrs ago, pre-kids, but only because there were so many things we wanted to do, and so little time in a day. I love TV. I could watch it all day long... but feel like the lump that I was at the end of it. We now have 2 kinders, and a TV (again)to boot, but we get no reception, and don't subscribe. DVD's the thing... used for special occasions or not-so-special occasions (showering, dinner) and complete control over what is being beamed into our little ones brains. They LOVE the old school Sesame Street, and so do we. HILARIOUS! Remember SS before it was sappy sweet? "This is Kermit de Frog here, coming to you live from Rapunzels House...". Now, squeaky Elmo - ugh... no thanks. I guess it's all a personal decision, and preference. Autism? Maybe... but I'd hold off immunizing my babes before I'd not allow 30 mins of TV.

Something no one else has mentioned here, perhaps because it came up on another thread (I'm having deja vu perhaps, but I'm also too lazy too look for it): a *lot* more children are being diagnosed as (my quotes) "somewhere on the [pretty vast and ill-defined] autistic spectrum" than has ever been the case in the past. I keep waiting for the pendulum to swing back in the other direction... There's such fear over "autism" [when people use this word, I think they must really mean something on the spectrum, without realizing that Aspergers is very very different] that I fear we will continue to see articles like the 2006 Slate piece for a long time, touching off fear and anxiety unnecessarily...

PS - no cable in this house since 2000, but the kid gets to watch YouTube vids and VHS tapes when she asks nicely and when she hasn't been spending too much time being a couch potato of some sort.


I feel duty bound to point out that the photo above was clearly taken at the Art Museum and should credit the Artist of the artwork shown..

Matthew McCaslin (American, b. 1957)
Alaska, 1995
Television sets, clocks, light bulbs, VCR, electri
Museum Purchase: Robert Hale Ellis Jr. Fund for the Blanche Elouise Day Ellis and Robert Hale Ellis Memorial Collection
object no. 2004.55
© copyright: 2006 Matthew McCaslin

Thats art? Am I missing something???It looks like some TVs and clocks.I must be stooopid.Or a genius cause I can stack things to.

I find this discussion soooo annoying, trite (OLD article) and such a sort of weird Cool Mama contest. The winner being the Mama whose been without tv for the longest stretch.
Secondly, I don't mean to seem harsh but I am just irritated by how alarmist the article is and how it can and will incite fear, gulping and worry for no scientifically proven reason. As far as I know the cause of autism is multi-factorial with a probable genetic component.

Oh, I don't know... maybe I'm just cranky this evening.

Good point, Monica. Autism is usually diagnosed at age 2 and parents often say it came out of nowhere, but in retrospect, many of the symptoms were there from birth, but don't manifest so obviously until the child appears to show delays. So chances are, there is nothing a parent could do to cause or avoid autism, but the earlier they pick up on the signs or symptoms, the earlier they can intervene and get professional help. The early the intervention, the greater the functioning of the child.

I learned a few years ago that we ALL fall along the autistic spectrum....somewhere. A bunch of symptoms have to fall into place in order for a true autistic diagnosis. My boys were both late talkers, one was even in speech for a bit. They are not autistic. They love to cuddle, they make eye contact, they play with others. I remember when people used to say that if your boy lines cars up in long lines around his room or the house that he could be autistic. While this might be one of the many signs, it in itself does not make them autistic.....because otherwise, they definitely would be.
Also, we turned off our cable years ago because we couldn't afford it. The boys watch at least one movie a day. Usually not the whole movie, but if we are around the house at 4pm they will ask to watch Cyberchase. I actually look forward to that time because they sit and chill....and they stop arguing. I believe that in most cases, TV or movies is just fine for children, in moderation as long as the parents use good judgment. This might sound harsh, but we all know that feeding your children crappy food just because it is considered inexpensive and money is tight and letting them watch a ton of TV or play a ton of video games, is not good judgment.

And No, I am not suggesting that parents MAKE their children autistic so lets not go there.

TV is the DEVIL

If the choice is between New Seasons and non-organic, somewhat crappy food from BlankCo, keeps my family fed, the rent paid and the lights on, well there's the answer.

I was recently at BlankCo, the light mayo and mayo alternatives were a full two dollars more than the jacked up high fat clog-my-arteries now mayo. I paid more and put something else back cause the kid loves mayo.

I don't know . . .as I move through the teenage years and remember how careful my friends and I were about different things, I can say one thing. . . . . I don't notice an appreciable difference between my daughter and her bottle fed, pampers wearing, drinking diluted soda out of a baby bottle peers, in terms of how they are. and who they are.

Sometimes I let my kids watch an entire Star Wars movie marathon (you know, the quality ones, Episodes IV, V, and VI) and you know what? They still managed to learn how to read.

When I was a small child, my Pa came home one sunny afternoon and found his girls watching TV. he promptly threw it out the upstairs window, and told us, " If you want to watch TV, go watch it outside." That was the last TV we ever had.
That being, I missed out on a huge part of American Culture. (Alot of jokes went over my head!)
And I still had a happy childhood.
And I don't think it made me unpopular.
And some of my best friends were raised by TV.
And I think they're as smart as I am.
But TV is such a sedative for me, I don't want to impose that on my daughter.


i just wanted to add our story to the mix.

my husband and i don't watch tv. though until this week, it was a much different story for our son. watching "shows," as my 2 1/2 year old son calls it, on our computer had started very small. at first he'd watch 10 minutes of garbage truck footage or a short wild animal video on utube. then before we knew it he was watching about 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon of Yo Gabba Gabba or Mr. Rogers or Winnie the Pooh. he relied on it and so did we. he seemed to need a show to help transition in the morning after waking or after a nap. he'd be grumpy and fussy, and i thought a show would help him transition, relax a bit. it became way too much for us. he wasn't even happy after the show, he was even weaker and grumpier. i could see that he was overstimulated.

please know this is no judgement on families or kids that watch shows/tv. this is just our families story and what we believe in for us. what we are finding is working for us.

so, i told my husband this past weekend that i wanted to go "cold turkey" on shows. this is not the way i meant for our family to be, shows are not a priority, not important to me. i don't believe in this for us. i wasn't sure how to tell our son. should we tell him that the computer broke? no. honesty is best. the first morning, and most since - he'll say "watch show now?" we tell him that "mommy and daddy decided to take a break from shows. we believe that watching shows is not good for your brain or your body." he accepted this answer and will now say it on his own.

so it's been 4 days of no shows in our house and these have been 4 of some of my most favorite days as a mom with my son. he is bright, sturdy, fresh and ready for action. it is very different and i don't think it is a coincidence.

letting go of shows has just started for us, but it feels so profound, like a huge shift. i want to tell everyone i see "hey - our son doesn't watch shows anymore - and life is so much better, more real, simpler, sweeter!"

so if your family is enjoying shows and it's working for you, i say carry on. but if not, if something inside you feels a pull towards "unplugging" your kids, your family - i say go for it! you can do it.

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