I feel like I may be the only person left in the personal finance niche who actually still pays for cable but here we are. There are a few reasons we still pay for cable, the biggest reason though is that my husband blogs for a professional sports network and legitimately needs access to certain games. So we have cable.
Even though we have cable and access to a ton of content at any given time, rarely is anything outside of the Food Network (family guilty pleasure), Disney Jr, or sports on my TV. Also, outside of live sports events, which kids are usually in bed for given our Atlantic time zone, most things that we watch are DVR’d. This allows us to skip through the annoying commercials which is strategic especially with kids around.
When my daughter watches TV, it’s usually a movie we’ve put on, the Disney Junior channel (where the shows are never broken up by ads and there are very few ads in between the shows) or Netflix. Sometimes though we get into something that doesn’t fall into these categories, a show or movie on another, ad ridden network.
Before Christmas, my four year old daughter asked when we were going on a Disney Cruise. Needless to say I was taken aback because I didn’t even know she knew what ‘’Disney’’ was outside of seeing it on the Disney Jr. channel as a name. Surprisingly, Disney doesn’t outwardly advertise their products on this particular channel (though more than make up for it on their other channels like regular Disney and the teen channel) so where did she find out what a Disney cruise was?
Then the obsession with ‘’Hatchimals’’ started. The ‘’hottest toy of Christmas 2016’’. The one where you were basically a terrible parent if you didn’t buy one for your kids. Though I had heard of these toys I know we never mentioned or even showed her what it was but somehow she now needed one.
I found the culprit of both new wants (along with many more).
A Christmas movie. We had DVR’d a few Christmas shows, not paying attention to which networks were airing them. These shows were especially helpful in the first few days we were home with our new baby right before Christmas and I was immobile. I put one of the movies on for her while I tended to new baby needs and left the room.
THE ADS. So, so many ads. The 30 minute movie took up a 60 minute time slot because of ADS. She watched that one movie and had a list made to Santa like 10 items long- including a Disney Cruise.
It was actually kind of amazing to see this transpire. Not that she was totally immune to advertising but she rarely sees it and never to blatantly or so geared to a child. I could see her eyes every time a new ad came up. She was asking for things that she couldn’t even explain what they were to me. It was terrifying and amazing.
By allowing her to watch this movie and subsequent ads I opened a world that was allowing my child to want.
We all know how detrimental having the wants can be. It’s even harder trying to explain to a four year old why she can’t have everything and then begin to try to control the desires. To try to start, at such a young age, how to balance wants with being realistic. But this is what I, we as parents, have to do.
I think maybe it was a good lesson for us to start so early. In the weeks since our ad ridden movie experience, we’ve had many conversations about wanting things and when we can and can’t get what we want.
It’s easy to just say ‘’no’’ as parents without explaining the reasons behind our answer but it can be helpful, especially when it’s one of their wants why they can’t have everything they want. She’s, begrudgingly, accepted that we can’t go on a Disney cruise right now but more importantly I think she understands the reasons why that won’t happen. Who knew watching a crappy TV movie full of ads would open a life lesson?
How do you control your child’s wants?
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