Going TV Free: An Experiment

As the weather has turned colder the past few months, my husband and I have noticed our family turning on the TV more than usual. Thirty-minute screen time after school has been stretching into an hour. One movie on a Saturday afternoon has turned into two. And honestly, our kids have just been talking about watching movies, getting on the iPad, and playing Mario Party
It's what they look forward to.
It's what their day leads up to.

We hadn't really noticed or cared until last weekend when we had our first snowfall of the season and Owen wanted to play Animal Crossing so he could walk around in the snow.
In the game.
Not outside in the real snow.
Waaahhhh! What has happened here?? 

So we decided the next day to go cold turkey: No TV for a whole month.

We told the kids on the drive home from church. Two of them started crying. One of them locked herself in her room and refused to come out. Chad and I looked at each other and said, "I guess we're onto something."

We wanted to challenge ourselves to think outside the TV and just see what happens. What we didn't expect is to struggle so much. We've been having daily conversations about how TV isn't bad, it's just something that's gotten out of hand for us. And when you start to notice something like that, it can be beneficial to reign it in and challenge yourself to go without it for a while. 

We're four days in and I will tell you, we are all struggling! There have been tantrums, breakdowns, aimless wanderings around the house, debates and written statements about why we should end the challenge now and have TV back.
Our home has also been so peaceful. We talk around the table after school. Sisters offer to help cook dinner or bathe their brother. A child will rest on my shoulder while I read on the couch. We call our extended family more. So many books are being read. There's nothing better to do!

The hardest times of the day are, of course, the times when we're used to turning on the TV: After school, after church, after a big outing, after the kids go to bed...whenever we're overly tired and need to relax. 

The trick is to teach our brains to relax without being stimulated by a screen—and it's hard! Staring at the wall helps. Ha! At the end of the day, I have to stare into space for a good 20 minutes before my mind starts clicking again. And then, the most wonderful thing happens!
I start to get ideas.
About things I don't usually have time to think about.
Like children's books I'd like to write.
And polishing my wooden spoons. 

I'll keep you posted...


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