Day 26: The month is nearly over, and I've decided I really like life without TV. The kids, however, want it back as soon as the month is up. I've been dropping mom-style hints that they won't be returning to their former habits. They roll their eyes and say, "How can you do that, Mom, when you said it was only for a month?"
Day 27: Today I told the boys that the TV will remain off on school nights indefinitely. They were unhappy, but since I had been hinting at it for a while, it wasn't really a surprise. Plus, their lives are so busy with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and the books, games, and sports that have replaced TV that they weren't as upset as they could have been.
Day 30: The month is over, and we did it! I decided not to have a celebration since I want this to become our way of life. This is a breakthrough for me as a parent; it reassures me that my instincts are correct and that I don't have to give in to what everyone else in the family wants. My husband is happier, the babysitter is happier, and the boys' teachers have noticed the positive effects. A state of quiet acceptance has settled over the household -- though the real test will come when baseball season ends.
Six Months Later: Baseball is over, and the boys have continued with their routines (though I still catch them sneaking TV sometimes). The nice weather helps -- the kids and their friends have been playing a lot in our building's courtyard -- and though their computer use was up in the beginning, it too has tapered off. If I were just launching the experiment today, the one thing I would do differently is to begin more calmly. I'd explain it more rationally, with Paul beside me. But even producers at Good Morning America have 20/20 hindsight sometimes!
Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the October 2001 issue of Child magazine.