There has been much more reading taking place around here. Afternoons you can find me and Caroline cuddled together reading a longer book. Besides reading, there have been more forts under the dining room table, more sidewalk chalk portraits, towers built from blocks, and put-a-puzzle-together competitions. The reason? Less media in our day.
We haven't had a television for 2 years. That in and of itself changed how we look at entertainment and our free time. Bobby and I sometimes read a book together in the evening. I've learned to always have a back up plan if the girls were arriving at "bored", since recently I'd let them watch something from our computer over lunch.
This week, I wanted to try, just to see what would happen, if there was no "toonie", no "you can watch part of toy story while I shower", or any time on the computer at some of our favorite websites. And don't worry, I disciplined myself, too, from the internet. It has made the already "no TV" experience even more personally satisfying and productive. And I'm happy to say that we're still going strong on day 8! (The computer will be coming back in lesser ways to the children soon.)
What I've learned from having no television over the years:
- It is all about what your children get used to. Not using the computer for a distraction so I can make dinner or shower means thinking of a creative direction for the girls while I still do those things.
- Less media (although we still have enjoyed music, magazines, and books) forces me as mother, and my children, to look for the finer things in life: running and playing outside instead of watching the children on television do it, drawing a picture with paints instead of Caroline artificially doing it with a mouse on a computer.
- There is never a glazed look on your child's face. They are 100% involved in the world around them.
- Your children look for alternatives once they realize that falling back on TV isn't an option. They play harder, pick up books more, and use their brain more.
- You and your spouse can actually bond through other activities. That means real conversation, real listening, and relationships not being dictated around when your favorite show is about to start.
- You and your spouse will find other activities. Bobby and I sometimes take turns reading to each other from our book of choice. It is a great way to introduce and educate each other on a particular genre of book that is important to the other person--once again, meaning more real life conversation once the children are down for the night.
- You save money. No cable. No buying Dora toys or dolls because they're not inundated with commercials in between shows. The money saved could be used for family movies you want to collect to be watched for family movie nights with the whole family.
- For me not having Food Network or HGTV (which were my favorites when we had TV), means I can still print off recipes online, discover food books at the library, and feed my design craving with experimenting, books, or online.
- There is a more peaceful feeling in our home. Still chaotic at times, but peaceful.
- My evening time means I'm not dictated by any TV show schedules, but can sew, read, relax, etc!
Try something in your home. Maybe giving your children an amount of time daily for television, or reducing the already fixed amount, or dropping it for a week altogether. After adjusting initially, you will notice sparks of creativity and better uses of time from the extra time that opens up. And you will have all the time to do what you really want to do.
the sleepy time gal