Reality TV Parenting - The One Week Challenge RESULTS

by Samantha on May 16, 2011

So how did you do?

One week ago, I challenged you, along with myself, to see if we could collectively stop the habit of using Reality TV Parenting as a way of spending time with our kids. Borne of my own guilt of using the latest episode of Survivor or anything on The Food Network as an opportunity to “bond” with my child, I thought I might see what it would be like to lose the crutch of the latest television programming and make a concentrated effort to spend more quality time with my kids. I was further spurred on by the popularity of a previous post that revealed that many of us are struggling with the guilt of using television as an opportunity to relax with our kids without being completely engaged.

I failed miserably.

Image courtesy of

As much as the ideal of turning off the tube appealed to me on a number of different levels, the reality of having the TV as both a help in allowing me a few minutes of down time, as well as an opportunity to engage the kids while I throw in yet another load of laundry, was too great to ignore. And so, as the challenge begun early on in the week and visions of myself as a more engaged and interactive parent beckoned, the sad reality of life appeared and the demands of a frazzled and exhausted mom set in. At that point, the remote control went into overdrive and my place on the couch (with my daughter in tow) was solidified.

In a completely unscientific poll, I asked some of you how many hours of television were watched with your kids per week. Half of you that responded said that you don’t watch any TV at all with your kids - an impressive feat, in my books. The balance of responses were split evenly, with half stating that you watched one to two hours per week, and the other half stating that two to four hours was the norm. 

Not being a statistician or having any remote capabilities in the areas of numerical analysis, I will venture to guess that these numbers mean the following:

  1. Many of us who work outside the home are able to walk the work-life balance tightrope fairly well and prioritize the time spent with the kids without using the TV as a crutch
  2. An equal amount of us enjoy our shows and don’t want to give them up, so we engage our kids in the TV-watching as a way of “killing two birds with one stone,” so to speak (relaxing and spending time with the kids)
  3. TV to a large portion of us is a key part of parenting - good or bad - and it is not going to be taken out of the mix anytime soon.

So how did you do? 

If you were able to go through the week without the TV, how did it change the dynamics between you and your kids? 

If you continued watching TV during this challenge, did the idea of turning off the tube give you pause to reconsider how much TV you will watch with the kids in future?

Was there any value to you with this or similar types of challenges?

I look forward to your feedback!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

championm2000 May 17, 2011 at 2:19 am

I was going to try to give up the computer when the babies were awake. FAILED.

I was more aware of the time I was on the computer, and therefore, I did spend less time. Several times, I closed the computer and got on the floor to play with them.

The challenge at least reminded me to be cognizant of the time, and for that reason, I say it was worth trying.

Thanks for the push!


Samantha May 17, 2011 at 3:24 am

@championm2000 My mother always said “'A' for Effort.” Or, “its the thought that counts,” right? i did the same thing - was more aware of the actual time that I was disengaging, whether it was via TV or the computer. And because it was top of mind, the total time spent spacing out was lessened, so…maybe it was worth it. I think??


gkbccb May 22, 2011 at 2:48 am

found ya on bff asking for followers, got ur follow, plz follow mine back


Samantha May 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Hi there! I'm checking out your blog now and following! Thanks for visiting :)


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