Family, Sunday With Sarah, TV and Media, Waldorf Education

I Want to Turn Off the TV, but My Spouse is Not Onboard


This week I answer a question from a viewer.

Angela S. wrote:

What do you do when your spouse isn’t on the same page when it comes to turning off the TV?

My husband is huge into video games and sci-fi movies and TV shows. He loves technology and has made a point that it’s important for children to know how to use technology because it is so prevalent in today’s society and will be for years to come. He has told me that he’s heard from a teacher that those kids [who haven’t been exposed to technology] are always behind.

Also, what would be the best thing to do when someone offers to watch our son for us? They are doing us a favor and we feel a bit rude telling them that they can’t have the tv on the whole time. Our son has also come to really love a certain TV show and will beg to watch it and get really upset [if he can’t]. He’s almost 20 months old.

I feel like it’s still possible to kick the habit, but how do I get others on the same page? And how do I keep him interested in other things? He also has no patience for being read to.

Click on the video link above to hear my response to Angela.

What is your feeling about young children and screen time? Have you pulled the plug? Thinking about it? Or do you feel that screen time in moderation is not a bad thing? Would love to hear your thoughts and questions!



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  • Reply Anna Merritt March 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for this post, as always I find your topics to be of real relevance and I value your experience and insight.

    I have gone tv-free a few times with my children (5&2), but never before with a Waldorf influence (Our family will be homeschooling Waldorf). The difference is amazing – more creative play, much better sibling cooperation, and developed art, story telling and music expression!

    My question is: when other children (and adults) constantly ask my children whether or not they’ve watched “x” movie or tv show, how can I best talk about that at home? I don’t want my children to feel awkward or as if they don’t fit in, but I also don’t want to cave in to these social pressures.

    Also, my oldest remembers a lot of the old tv programs we used to watch, and brings them up in conversation to illustrate a point. Do I continue to encourage talking about these things, or try to incorporate a new example, say from a book we’re reading?

    Thank you again for all your valuable advice, my husband and I are so happy to have found your blog!

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin March 30, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Anna.

      When my kids were younger and would be asked questions about whether they’d watched “x” or what their favorite TV show was, they would just respond matter-of-factly, “No. We don’t watch TV.” I don’t think they ever felt awkward about it. I think a lot depends on a parent’s attitude. If we project confidence in our choice to keep the TV off for our childrens’ benefit, and if we don’t waffle and waiver, our children will feel confident about it, too.

      If your oldest brings up old TV shows seen in the past, I wouldn’t make it a forbidden subject, but neither would I dwell on it. I might try to steer the conversation toward a different subject. Or you could tell your eldest that when s/he was younger, you didn’t know what you know now about the benefits of keeping the TV off, and that you’d prefer it if s/he wouldn’t talk about TV shows in front of your younger child, but let him or her know that it’s okay to talk to you about them.

      Hope this helps. Warmest wishes to you on your homeschooling journey!

  • Reply Sue April 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    To reassure Angela’s husband–they can always learn about technology later. My husband has been a computer programmer since the 70s, and he and many of his programmer friends at companies like Google and Pixar and Facebook understand that their children will be MORE ready to take their place in the modern world if protected from technology in the early years so that they can daydream, make things, sing, interact with human beings, and play in the mud. Our children had no computer use until at least age 12, no movies until 8 and very limited ones after that, and no TV until they went off to college, except rarely at grandma’s or even more rarely at a friend’s house. Our oldest is a programmer, our second is in an extremely selective medical school, our third designed websites and is now a visual effects artist for film, and our youngest majored in Quantum Physics has just been selected for the Stanford doctorate program in mechanical engineering. (All girls, so they’ve perhaps had extra hurdles to overcome to excel in STEM.) More importantly, they are all balanced, creative, artistic, and compassionate human beings.

  • Reply Paula June 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I have lived without a tv for 15 years now, and my daughter is 9. I have invested in some excellent dvd’s (lots of musicals, stories etc) . She has never asked me for anything (toys etc) except this year she asked for an ipad, as I have introduced her to Khan Academy. I am also a teacher and I have created a class blog with lots of online educational stuff. I teach in an international school where all the 10 year olds have iphone 5 etc, so I decided to get them using technology in an educational way. Check out Khan Academy, BBC Schools, Brain rush, story, the oxford reading tree online, NASA. The parents have been very supportive. I also suggest they have screen free days during the week.

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