We don't own a TV licence. Yes, we're rebels of the highest order. You don't actually need to buy a licence if you are only going to use your television to watch DVDs or videos. As long as you aren't receiving a signal, you are safe from the million-billion pound fine they lay on you for breaking the rules.
So, for over five years now, we haven't watched television in our home. However, we do watch plenty of movies and belong to an on-line DVD rental club. We also use torrentz to its full capacity. My kids are obsessed with the television.
I used to be absurdly proud of the fact that we don't watch TV. Ha! Irony, how cruel you are. Last week, I realised that my kids are little addicts. They beg for a fix in the morning before school, after school, after dinner, basically any time they are slightly bored or bugging each other. They get jittery if they don't get to watch what they want. ("Dora dora dora dora" is the current plea) Half of my son's vocabulary is from Dora the Explorer. Most of my daughter's imaginary play is taken from movie plots.
I've been peddling the stuff in larger and larger doses, using it to keep them still and quiet and then I bugger off to do housework (yeah, likely) or sleep (more likely) or surf the net aimlessly until I have to make dinner (ding ding ding! We have a winner!).
This habit was originally borne out of necessity; being pregnant with two other children to look after is not an easy task, and I needed a nap in the afternoon or I would quite literally fall over by 4pm. Now, I don't need that as much, and it's time to quit cold turkey.
We started Monday. I was worried. I told Oldest Child that the TV was grounded, and we keep it turned off at the plug so they can't even attempt to turn it on. Middle child is currently teething his last 4 molars, finally, and is a very unhappy bunny right now. He threw himself at the TV unit several times that day, crying and begging for Dora. It didn't help that I had the Dora song stuck in my head on Monday and kept singing it. I'm a mean, mean woman. Oldest Child coped better than I expected.
Tuesday. I took Middle Child to playgroup in the morning, and we had visitors in the afternoon. Our day was busy, and we were able to avoid any major meltdowns. So far, so good.
Wednesday. Today. Another busy day, so I'm hoping it will pass relatively easily.
See, I'm all for using the tools you have at your disposal to make life a bit easier as a parent of 3 under 5. But I was using it as a crutch, and there were days when (cringe) the TV was on longer than it was off. Yikes. If things go well this week, I may instigate a weekend TV rule: none in the week and some on Saturdays.
I still get to watch it all night, until I fall asleep on the couch at 12.30am. Hypocrite, thy name is Mother. Ha!