Family life

Should we become a no-TV household?

The sudden demise of their TV has Tracy pondering if she should ditch the tube for the summer.

By Tracy Chappell
Should we become a no-TV household?

Photo by apdk via Flickr.

Our TV died very suddenly yesterday. There was no warning, not even a persistent cough. It’s one of those disconcerting don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-til-its-gone situations. The TV might have been our third child (and perhaps our most beloved!). We’re all twisting in the wind a little, feeling its absence even after Day One.
I’m a bigger TV watcher than I like to admit. I want to say that I’m filling my evenings with much more sophisticated activities, but all too often, after the kids go to bed and we sweep through the main floor to do a quick tidy-up and next-day prep, the TV turns on and there we sit. Often working and watching. Yup. That’s us.
I’m not sure how the kids’ TV watching compares with other kids, but they watch a fair share, mostly TVO. We have a no-TV rule for mornings, but after school/daycare they’ll often chill out in front of the TV while I throw dinner together. Sometimes they watch a show before bed. I’ve never felt a need to introduce limits, but I’ve noticed lately that Anna is getting much more interested in watching and — because Sean taught her how to use our complicated universal remote (curses!) — she’s flicking on the tube more often than I’d like. I’ve now told her that she has to ask permission first. Sometimes, she’s not at all pleased with “no” and if you know Anna, you know that means a battle royale over the TV. Which I hate.
So, when Sean told me that the estimated cost for repairing the TV rivals the cost of getting a new one (not in the budget), I texted back with: “Why don’t we get rid of TV for the summer?” Radio silence.
It’s something I’ve pondered before. Not because we wouldn’t miss it, but because I’d like to see what awesome things we could do with our time and our minds without the TV being easy filler. Anna was banned from the TV for a day on the weekend (which meant we all were) and I was delighted to see what she did — she created a book about her classmates, helped me garden, played teacher mostly nicely with Avery for close to an hour, and we read a bunch of Charlotte’s Web.
I feel like there are so many things “I don’t have time for” but really I do, I just choose to be lazy in front of the TV instead. Here's an opportunity to take back that time and live it. Summer seems like the perfect time for this experiment, but first I need to win Sean over. Sean, who is a huge sports fan. Sean who is a huge baseball fan. I will have to find a way to entice him …
Are you a no-TV family? Or if not, do you set limits on TV-watching in your house? 

Photo credit adpk via Flickr.

This article was originally published on May 24, 2012

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