Despite the fact that my oldest is 9, I have always had control over their screen time. I have decided when, where, and what they will watch or play. The closest I've come to not deciding is when my husband chooses something.
So it came as a surprise today when suddenly the theme music to Octonauts came blaring from my basement. My three year old had decided to watch TV. In some ways I should have been expecting this. He's been studiously learning to use the remote controls for the last few weeks. But nevertheless, it was a surprise.
How is he my first child to do this? I wondered. Oh, because my oldest is very obedient, and would never dream of watching TV, which is a controlled substance after all, without permission. And my middle may be willing to flaunt the rules a bit, but is terrified of the basement, and will not go there by herself. Thus she would never turn on the TV independently.
My son has neither an obedient heart nor fear to keep him from the television. He is perfectly willing to go downstairs by himself, and he does not have any great need to obey the rules. It just goes against his generally sunny disposition to fight us very often. But if our rules get in the way of the life he wants to lead, then he can say no without a problem.
So for the first time I had to be explicit: you don't watch TV unless I tell you it's okay.
Ironically, had he not turned the volume up to 84 out of 100, it might have taken me much longer to figure it out.