Could your children survive without television for a day? How about a week?
For many families, the thought of not having television could be frightening. My kids ask to watch TV at least once a day and I'm fairly certain my son would watch it 24 hours a day if I’d let him.
When I was growing up, we had fewer kid-targeted TV shows. I played with toys, had friends over and spent a lot of time playing outside, especially in the summer.
Nowadays, kids have more than enough television programming, including several dedicated kids channels. And when that’s not enough, they can watch virtually any show On Demand. They don’t have to wait for Saturday morning cartoons or after-school specials.
While I think media exposure is generally a good thing, I don’t want my kids part of a generation of couch potatoes.
And that’s exactly why state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, along with the delegates of Legislative District 8, have challenged elementary school students to turn off the TV this summer.
The program is simple: Turn off the television and video games for seven consecutive days. Then encourage your children to play outside, swim, read a book or participate in all the activities that summer has to offer.
“The best thing about this challenge is that any student in elementary school can participate. Not every students is an athlete, but anyone can be a winner by just turning off the TV,” said Klausmeier.
This isn’t the first time that a TV-free challenge has been sponsored, but it is the first time it’s been run in the summer. So perhaps that makes it a bit easier to succeed with so many fun activities.
Carol Wingard, principal of Seven Oaks Elementary School, encouraged students to participate because “Turning off the TV and reading enhances learning, while providing parents an opportunity to read with their children," she said.
By continuously reading throughout the year, students will benefit from increased vocabulary and reading comprehension. Principal Wingard made this plea to area students, “While the temperature has been high, don’t let the time go by without reading a good book.”
So, would your students survive going TV-free?
Students that are successful will be invited to a pizza party in the fall where they will be recognized for their accomplishment and each participant will be awarded a personalized Maryland citation.
Klausmeier said forms from students are already starting to come in and she hopes that at least 100 students will attempt and be successful at this summer challenge.
No doubt about it, this is one tough assignment. But the summer isn’t over yet and there is still time to support your student. All you have to do is choose a week. Then turn off the tube and come up with alternatives such as reading, playing outside, riding bikes or trying something new.
When you complete the challenge, download the response form from your school's website. See page 12 of this newsletter from Seven Oaks Elementary School for more details or contact your principal for a copy of the form. Forms must be completed and returned to the Senator’s office no later than Sept. 10.
Will your student participate? How will they handle seven consecutive days without television or video games?
As a follow up to this story, I would like to profile a Perry Hall family/student who has successfully completed this challenge. Please email me if you would like to tell your story about how your student survived a week without TV.