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A TV Free Home Is The New Black

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We are now a TV free home, we have no TV!  Shocking, but I say it might just be the new black.

Ok, maybe not, but there are people from everywhere actually trying it out and surviving.  Honestly!  Just some of the soap boxes that are recommending it are:

  • Religion – Doesn’t really matter which, they all talk about how TV is a negative influence and we need less of it
  • Parenting – Simplicity Parenting (that I just did in my November reading) was the kicker for us to finally ship it out.  Lots of other websites like this talk about how kids get to much and need to be limited.  They also talk about the benefit of good shows, but with the internet as it is and the mass of educational DVD’s I don’t think the education is needed via the TV
  • Minimalism – Often isn’t worth the space, and is seen by lots of people as stealing simplicity and a happy life.  I like this article by The Minimalists about how to get rid of TV.

Sure, not all TV is bad.  But, we figured we could get the benefit with the computer and DVD’s (played on the computer) and the TV was just wasted space.

How did the kids take it?  Well… if we asked them, we would have never gotten rid of it 🙂  Really though, they said things like ‘you aren’t getting rid of the TV are you?’ and then ran of and did other things.  They have spoken about it maybe a few times since.  They would love to spend their whole time in front of the TV, computer, and other electronics, but we are the parents for now, and are trying to help them come up with other habits.

We tried a bit of an ‘experiment’ after we got rid of the TV last November.  It was getting so bad with the kids always wanting to be on electronics instead of playing with their toys that we decided to ‘cold turkey’ the TV, computer games and the iphone for the rest of the year.  They were on the computer some for school, and sometimes saw stuff when they were with friends, but for our house we didn’t do it.

At first I didn’t really tell them much.  If they asked, I just told them ‘not today, how about we do this?’, but after weeks and weeks of that, Lily was smartening up to ‘When are we going to play computer again?’.  And I told them that we were going to just leave it off for the rest of the year.  They weren’t particularly thrilled, but their life didn’t end.

How did it all go?

Well, Lily is much better at entertaining herself than Ian is.  If Ian is board, he just pesters his sister. How is it that they are born this way?  It is much easier to ‘parent’ with electronics.  It allows me to get so much done.  So, that was hard for me.

We ended up relaxing a bit on the Christmas break because it was vacation and we were all wanting to chill and relax.  Also, our Minimalist Christmas was taking lots of energy and we wanted them to have some down time to balance out.

But otherwise, it worked.  The kids learned to play with each other better and learned to find other things to do.

2012 and beyond

We still have no TV, and don’t plan on getting one soon.  None of us have really missed it at all.  We have decided to bring back some computer time.  We didn’t really intend on quitting for good, but having a period where we could try and break the habit a bit.  Computer has been a reward for having school done and getting the house cleaned up, so when we weren’t doing computer in the evenings it was hard to get them motivated to get the house clean… so, you could say that I had to bring back a bit of evening computer playing so that I could have a clean house.  I think it is a good trade 🙂

So there you go.  I am not trying to convince anyone out of their TV with this post.  I just wanted to put it out there as a doable option.  Do you watch a bunch of TV?  How do you limit it in your house?

18 Comments

  1. Honestly? I would love, love, LOVE, to get rid of our telly (with the caveat that I be allowed to watch Doctor Who on the iPlayer when the new series comes out 😉 because not only do I see how much of the children’s play time it sucks up, but because my husband is a big TV fan too. But therein lies the problem. It needs to be a team effort and I just can’t see him going for it.

    • Yep, I understand. I loved what the minimalists had to say about that problem (it is their article I attached above). The marriage is more important 😉

  2. Gem Gem

    We’ve been constantly struggling with the role of TV in Calvin’s life also. Ted and I never watch any shows while Calvin is awake and we only get DVDs for him from the library. However, he still got a lot more addicted to it than I wanted but . . . I also wanted to be able to make supper. I think Calvin is getting better though. He can entertain himself more than he use to so often I can suggest distractions that delay him so he only gets a bit each day. It helps that Grandma gave Calvin a *ton* of exciting Duplos this year 🙂

    • Kids just pick up on it and get hooked so fast. My kids used to watch a bunch more than they do now. When Lily was born I was working from home and that is how a lot of work got done. Glad the Duplos are working! Ian loves his block sets… almost as much as he likes pestering his sister 🙁

  3. Kari Kari

    We don’t watch a lot of TV, but have a nice one for sports, movies etc when we do want to watch that we’re not wanting to part with (because it cost too much!). My compromise is wanting to find someway to cover the screens so that when we’re not watching TV or on the computer-we don’t see them and aren’t reminded constantly that they are there. We haven’t accomplished it yet, but I hope to soon!

    • If you come up with a good idea I would love to hear about it. Thanks!

  4. I love to have everything include TV that you’re not like and the most exciting thing is that I can watch and blog or play computer at once.

  5. Since selling our house (and our TV) and temporarily moving in with my mother-in-law, I haven’t missed it yet. We still watch a couple shows on the computer when we have time, but it’s not like always on in the background and I love that. I’m going to be in no rush to get a TV when we move into our new place. Thanks for sharing this!

    • yes, it is great that lots of shows are available on the internet. We have also got series from netflix after they come out. It is easier to just watch the shows that I really want to see and have it work around our schedule.

  6. Shelly Shelly

    I checked out the links, and really appreciated your post that ties them together. I especially liked the article by The Minimalists.
    I sold my TV when I was single, and loved the extra space and time. And then I married my opposite. We both like minimalist concepts with a lot of things, but TV is such a soft spot with some people and that makes it difficult to even suggest such a thing. Please keep us updated on how things go for your family. I too see positive changes in my kids’ play and creativity when not exposed to any TV.

    • yeah, TV is precious to lots of people. I didn’t write the article to really convince people out of it, more just to introduce the option of living without it. I remember hearing when I was a kid that there was more houses in the world that had TVs than indoor plumbing and I was shocked. It is possible to live without a TV…. I would rather not part with my plumbing 🙂

  7. Shelly Shelly

    I just read an earlier comment about covering the TV. I think that’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll cover mine with a sheet or blanket and use it as a backdrop for sock puppet theater complete with popcorn and juice instead of “family movie night.” Created and performed by the kids, and then my husband and I so we all get a turn with the popcorn.
    What about hooking it up to the computer and doing a slideshow of an old trip, or all the kids’ baby pictures? I could make it “I Spy” with a list of background items the kids can look for while we do the slideshow.
    I feel like I’ve over analyzed my kids so much with the TV thing – maybe I too have lacked creative ability to solve problems. That’s the beauty and enjoyment that helps me appreciate simple. It opens my mind and spirit, so when a challenge comes up I’m able to sort it out rather than get frustrated with it.
    We take the TV in our world to be one thing – but it can be present and used for different things. I’m taking this as a personal challenge to come up with as many non-traditional uses of the TV as possible in the next 3 days and doing the whole list before the end of the month.

    • awesome idea! Let me know how it goes.

  8. Sheila Sheila

    Our TV is always off unless we have a specific show to watch (DVRd – no live TV unless it’s football). Brady seldom watches TV unless he’s on the elliptical while I’m on the treadmill.

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