tv “inventory”

Sandy at Jesus and Dark Chocolate posted a question:

“How much is too much TV? I also realize it’s also important to monitor what they watch, so what do you think about The Disney Channel and other networks geared towards kids? All thoughts are good thoughts, so bring it on ladies. πŸ™‚ I really want to hear what you think!!”

If you have time, click on over to Sandy’s “watching tv” post and give her a little feedback!

I started to answer in a comment until I realized I was hijacking her blog. So. I’m posting my response here and letting her know about it.

How much TV?

It varies. We don’t have a certain number of minutes per day. I have a feeling that if I set a maximum time limit, they would make sure to watch that much, when in fact, they have days where they don’t watch at all (so far today, nobody has been interested.)

We stay pretty busy, even in the summer – with the (near daily) rain, swimming, play practices, basketball camps, podcasting camp, clay animation camp, “play dates” with friends, family outings, guitar practice, computer time, video games (we play together) . . . and OF COURSE (in this house) reading! We’ve been so on the go this summer, it seems like we only had one week without anything on the schedule – and then we filled it with a beach trip to Daytona. I admit, after a stint of fast pace scheduling, we have “lazy days” where we completely veg out. Overall, TV is watched more during the summer than during the school year. During school we have extracurricular activities (we limit each kid to two things at a time – if their grades stay up) and youth group/children’s ministry starts back up on Wednesday nights.

Given all that, we don’t necessarily have “rules” – more like TV “habits.”

1. MOST of the time, we watch shows recorded with our DVR. NO commercials – saves time and sensors the junk.

2. The kids mostly watch Disney Channel, some Discovery. We have no idea what shows are on Nick. No interest at all. When Brittany’s sister got pregnant, my kids had no idea. Didn’t care. On the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) the only show we DVR for family viewing is American Idol.

3. TV goes OFF if nobody is in the room, watching it. TV background noise is like Chinese water torture for me.

4. The layout of our house is such that I can see and hear everything being watched. It’s made for some good conversations about choices and communication. We’ve also adopted a few family jokes and quotes we use on a regular basis. Basically, there’s not a show the kids watch that I don’t know the content, the characters, the plotlines . . . I love the layout of our house. (NO TVs or computers in the kids bedrooms.)

5. On school nights, all electronics are off at 7:30 p.m. – TV, computer, cell phones, mp3 players – ALL electronics off. NO TV in the mornings before school.

6. Shows get paused OFTEN for chore and homework breaks. Chores and homework get done very quickly when a TV show is paused.

7. We also have a library of family oriented DVDs, many of them Disney movies. One of my favorite? The Emperor’s New Groove.

This post has prompted me to do a little TV watching “inventory.” I went to each of the following network websites and looked at their listing of shows. Here’s what we watch:

Disney Channel:
Family – Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, Life with Derek, Phil of the Future, Wizards of Waverly Place.
PinkGirl – Phineas and Ferb, Cory in the House (Personally, I HATE Cory in the House. FavoriteSon says “me too.”)

Discovery Channel:
Family – MythBusters
FirstHusband and I – Deadliest Catch (LOVE the editing on the beginning of the opening sequence! The timing with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” is great.)

Family – Every once in a while we catch an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or a SuperNanny.
FirstHusband and I: Grey’s Anatomy.

Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: We’ve been strongly encouraged to watch the Big Bang Theory and after watching a clip, I’ll be setting the DVR. We are that geeky.

Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: Nothing

Family – American Idol. Every once in a while, we catch “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader.”
FirstHusband and I – Nothing.

Family – Who wants a CLEAN HOUSE! PinkGirl and I love Niecy Nash. PinkGirl LOVES “How Do I Look?”
FirstHusband and I – Nothing. (But he and FavoriteSon will watch Clean House with us sometimes.)

Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: The Closer and Saving Grace (both are summer series).

On Friday or Saturday night, FirstHusband and I watch TV. Sometimes we “rent” a Movie on Demand from Brighthouse. I think the last one we saw was “Fool’s Gold” with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. What can I say. I’m a cheap date.

We also own a few series on DVD and will watch episodes (in order, of course) on weekend nights. TOTALLY giving away my geekiness here, but we actually own the entire Farscape series on DVD. And our favorite, all time show? Sports Night.

It’s inspiring.

It’s funny.

It’s got the fast paced wit of Aaron Sorkin. (The best part of this clip is at the end.).

Every show, a BEAUTIFUL view of the twin towers is shown (its last season was in 2000).

I got FirstHusband Quantum Leap for Christmas, and we recently started watching, so those will take a while to get through.

Oh! FirstHusband and FavoriteSon watch sports, mostly college football and pro basketball. (I watch enough sports to be able to ask intelligent questions and I understand the terminology enough so that when they are watching one sport on tv and listening to another on the radio, while switching to a third during commercials – I don’t get too confused anymore.)

If I remember something else, I’ll edit the post to add it, but I think that’s it.

3 thoughts on “tv “inventory”

  1. This must be TV week on blogs. I just responded to another blog post on TV that you might find interesting here:

    I must comment here and try not to hijack YOUR blog! I read your entire post nodding YES on nearly everything (except your TV channel/show listing). We have a TV limit of 1.5 hours a day, but it’s never an issue. It basically means that if they watch a movie, their TV time is done for the day. The exception is if they are legitimately home sick. Then TV in unlimited with a mandatory afternoon nao with sleeping. (-:

    To habits #1,3,4 & 7 I can say, DITTO!” On habit #2, my 9yo and 6yo are into FETCH with Ruff Ruffman on PBS and that’s about it. They are too old for the kids shows they used to love (Dora, Diego, some Blues Clues). And most of the shows on “kid” channels – even Disney – don’t seem age appropriate to me. We watched Hannah Montnta together a few times, but my girls thought it was dumb.

    On habits #6/#5, TV doesn’t even go ON until homework and chores are done. Since they don’t get home from school until 4 and bedtime is 8 (with dinner, violin practice and homework required), it doesn’t leave much time, if any, for TV during the week. During the summer, they have no interest in TV. There is too much to do outside, with friends, or on their own. Reading time is MUCH more highly prized than TV time. I have busted them many times for reading under their covers with flashlights!

    Few more thoughts: I HATE New Groove! Ranks up there with Lilo and Stitch as the worst Disney movie. But I’m old school, so don’t mind me. (-:

    You will LOVE LOVE LOVE Big Bang Theory! We have been watching the whole first season on the computer hooked up to the TV (we’re geeks too!) and have only a few more episodes to go. We are trying to time it so we are done right when the new season starts so there’s not too much withdrawal!

    Debbie – I think the reason we don’t have a time limit on TV is because it isn’t an issue here either. (The kids didn’t watch TV at all yesterday and they are playing (Disney) Monopoly right now- after play rehearsal all morning.) And I think one of the reasons our kids like Disney Channel is because we are such Disney FREAKS in the first place. Being premium annual pass holders for YEARS kinda makes us predisposed, I guess.

    With #6 and 7, we consciously adopted those practices when FavoriteSon was in 2nd grade as part of the behavioral changes we introduced in our attempt to overcome mild ADD. We used to mandate that all homework be done before any fun, but it resulted in hours of frustrated failure both for mom and kiddo. After researching ADD and non-medication options/behavioral changes (check out my post on it) we incorporated some suggested techniques, one of which was “structure tasks into smaller components” and we haven’t looked back. (Similar to my preference for micro-actions). Works GREAT in this house! We alternate between homework, fun (their choice) and chores. Now that FavoriteSon is older, he has already begun to self monitor his time management based on the same concept. All by himself! After 6 years, it’s second nature to him now. Often he has his homework done before he even gets home, because he nicks away at it at the end of his other classes and in the car on the way home. (We get home a little after 3pm). PinkGirl will have more homework this year, so we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a good system for her as well. If straight “A”s, and afternoons in a peaceful house with happy kids are the measure of success – So far, so good!

    So far, the kids don’t need flashlights to read in bed – I flat out gave them each reading lights! In the summer, I rarely, if ever make them stop reading to sleep! During the school year, they still read in bed, but I give them a lights out time if they don’t settle down on their own. I am going to continue a relatively new after school practice of 30 minutes of fiction reading every day. Last year, we all took a reading break close to dinner time and it made for a nice peaceful end to our afternoon.

    you don’t like Krunk? πŸ™ (by JSM)

  2. I just realized I never thanked you for the pingback. Thanks!!!!! Thanks for sending friends my way. It has been SO interesting to see what others think about TV watching. We have been at the beach for a week and there has been no TV watching since the TV does not have cable. The kids have made up games and done puzzles. Both good things in my eyes. I guess with the Disney Channel we just don’t like it emphasis on fashion, styles, dating etc. Their values are not some of ours. Not to say that all things are horrible on Disney since we do let the kids watch some of the shows. I just hate to see them move towards be obsessed with it. Hope that makes sense. πŸ™‚

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