I love imagination. And when kids can use their imagination in combination with a box of random costumes, you get even more creativity.
We don’t have TV reception at our home. No cable, no satellite, and it’s not worth trying to use the rabbit ears to get a channel the old fashioned way. Sometimes we’ll load up Saturday morning cartoons for the kids to watch if it is indeed Saturday morning. Once in a while, I’ll stream an old episode of MacGyver or Star Trek, perhaps ALF, but in general our kids don’t watch TV. On weekends, we’ll stream a movie on Amazon, or pick up a library video.
I’m not inherently opposed to TV, but they eat up so many hours, and I feel like childhood is meant to be lived away from screens as much as possible.
The result is we’ve got kids who use their imaginations a lot. Action figures, board games they invent, absolutely ridiculous costumes, and lots of reading. People often think the kids will complain, but the truth is we never get any complaints. They love TV shows and movies, but they don’t complain about not being able to watch them every day. They just know that TV and movies are only when we offer them, and therefore it’s always a treat.
There are definitely times where we’ll need an easy hour or two and purposefully put on a movie, knowing that’s going to create 3 calm zombies for two hours so we can just relax a little, but that’s not a regular habit.
I watched so much TV when I was young. In fact, in my last two years of high school, I probably watched 6 hours a night, or more. Now I look back on those days and I wonder why I didn’t get out there and live more. It’s gone, forever, and I wish that I had chosen differently.
I don’t want that for our kids. I don’t want them to rely on TV or movies or video games for entertainment, but I do think there’s a place for these things, in moderation. These should be, in my opinion, supplemental entertainment. Imagination comes first, and imagination is an entertainer that cannot be bested.