Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Life without television.

So, in this new life, there is no television. Literally. No tv in this house.

You would be surprised (ok, maybe not, but I am) at how shocked people are to learn this fact. I get so many questions.

"What do you do?"
"What do the girls do?"
"How do you entertain yourself?"

Now all three of the girls have lived the majority of their life without cable tv. Where they have always been able to watch PBS, seeing Nickelodeon or the Disney channel has been a treat for grandparents houses of at friends homes. And I have rarely had cable tv since I moved out of my parents house nearly 20 years ago.

So, this is not that far fetched for us. And I LOVE it!

There is no constant droning of some useless voice in the background of my home. Instead, there is a constant melody of music. I like music. The girls like music. Music makes us happy. Music makes us dance... and sing.  4 rooms of this house have iPad/iPhone docks so that no matter where we are, the music follows.

So... what do we do?

Well, we do a lot. We craft.

We spend time outdoors. (Although this weeks below zero temps in New England have really derailed that fun.)

We play A LOT of games. Board games, multiplayer iPad games, puzzles... etc.

We read. I have read more in the past two months than I have in forever.

We clean. My house stays pretty darn neat. You'd be surprised at how much you can get done when there is not some screen compelling you to come sit in front of it for hours. (To be clear, I clean... the girls are not necessarily enticed to clean more, but the will keep me company and talk to me while I am puttering around and picking up.)

We talk. We learn about eachother. I talk to my guests and learn about them. I have a great stash of conversation starter books that I pull out when I have friends over or when the girls and I sit down to dinner. I feel like talking (and more importantly, listening) is a lost pastime that could really use a reincarnation.

In today's world, after dance, gymnastics, math meets, student council meetings, piano lessons... there really is not a ton of time left for simple 'down' time. So, no, we never get bored. We do not run out of things to do. The girls are certainly not deprived since they are with Daddy half the time and get their fill of TV there.

I do want to be clear that I am not all holier-than-thou about electronics, tv and screen time. Between my iPad, my laptop, Ariana's iPad and the girls' Nook, they are still exposed to screen entertainment here. We stream Netflix, Hulu and other media. We also have a small collection of DVD's for them to choose from. And I am not at all opposed to cuddling up on a Friday night in Mommy's bed with a big bowl of popcorn and our favorite blankies to enjoy a movie together. I just do not want that huge, imposing, ever accessible box hanging on a wall in my living space that will be a constant draw for my girls... and a constant argument from me: "Will you just SHUT THAT THING OFF!"

Am I depriving my children? Will they grow resentful because they can't talk to their friends about what Justin Bieber is up to or what's going on with Demi Lovato?


  1. From 8th grade up through my junior year in high school I spent the majority of my time living in a home with no TV (my mother had one my father did not). I don't look back and regret not watching the latest trendy crap, I look back and remember all the books I read, the stories and poems I wrote, the adventures I went on. Right now I live in a home with 4 TVS - including one in the kitchen/dining area and it kills me. I think you are doing a good thing for them, and while there may be moments they wish they could watch the latest greatest show, I have no doubt when they grow up they will look back fondly at all the amazing fun things you did with them.

  2. You are not depriving your children at all. With constant TV watching comes constant laziness. I see that all to often. I am amazed at how some of my close relatives can name off actors and celebrities as if they were their neighbors, knowing everything about them. Too much TV. Oi.

    You have done a wonderful job putting your children's minds towards more productive and rewarding activities.

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  4. No way! I wish we could can the TV here, but the hubbs will protest. We got rid of cable and I let him talk me into getting it again for "football". Well, won't he be surprised when, the week after the Superbowl the cable is gone again! ;)

  5. We have TV and watch it and I don't regret it. I was reminded of a great moment on an episode of Friends. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) learns a couple of scientists don't have a TV. He looks at them aghast and asks, "But what do you point your furniture at?"

  6. I think your title is misleading. If you are watching Netflix, Hulu and the like, it is not like your children have no 'watching' time then. We have just reduced our tv from basic cable package to just less than that. We get about 20 channels but we also have Netflix, get DVDs from our library and Apple TV ( I think, I have never got it to work). I next want to try to implement no tv Monday to Thursday. I did it for one week early in Jan and my boys spent all their time in the kitchen listening to music and dancing with me which I loved. I just need to be more disciplined about it. Love some of your ideas though.

    1. I did not intent the title to be misleading. We do not own a television. I was talking specifically about a television, which is noted in the " huge, imposing, ever accessible box hanging on a wall in my living space that will be a constant draw for my girls... " part of the post.

  7. Awesome save their minds from ads and the vile news media.