Mini Diary: Our Week Without TV

4/13/20 Day one

This morning he approached me with an idea. Well, more like threw it at my head after breakfast by stating, “I think there should be no TV this week.”

(insert eye squint) Okay…

Let me just mention that my husband has NEVER suggested this before, so I felt that my confusion was justified. Plus, I was in the middle of my first season of The Voice (why have I waited so long to get on this bandwagon!?!), and we had been enjoying Monk as our evening relaxing together. So why this sudden anti-tech suggestion?

“The kids have been really whiny lately, and I’m pretty sure there’s a connection.”

I thought back over the past couple of weeks. True, we have allowed more TV entertainment for the kids lately, but with the stay at home mandate and rainy weather, I knew we weren’t the only parents turning to that aid. But was it really an aid? Was it helping, or creating a new problem? He was right, the kids have been more whiny lately. Fighting more too. Perhaps it was time for a change.

So I agreed. No TV for the rest of the week, starting today.

I expected issues right from the start. Big, crying, whiny issues. But none arose. I sent the kids outside to play until dinner. No issues (about TV, there were definitely issues with sharing a bike, getting a drink of water, etc…). We sat down as family to dinner, during which time I told the older two that they had to help with the dishes. No issues. After cleanup, they were to get ready for bed, then all read on the couch. That may not have been the smoothest transition (is it ever?), but still, no requests for TV.

Is it possible that four kids under the age of eight could be coordinating their efforts to pacify their parents and therefore gain access to the TV earlier than agreed upon?

Hmmm……time will tell. Time will tell.

 

4/14/20 Day two

I woke up this morning thinking that this was going to be a breeze. The weather’s gorgeous, I thought, so the kids can just spend most of the day outside. No problem.

Then it snowed. In April. In the South.

And I’m pretty sure our three-year old has pink eye.

You had better believe that I stress ate chocolate today. But I won’t lie, I really really wanted to put on a movie, if only to give me peace and quiet for an hour. But here’s the deal: I noticed that it wasn’t the kids who were extra difficult today. I was the one who wanted to watch a show or movie. I was the one who was tense and wanted an escape.

It was hard on me today, not the kids. I had not expected that.

How many times have I used the TV as an out from stressful situations? Probably more than I realized. But did I really need to? Now sitting in the quiet after the day is done, I’d have to say no.

 

4/15/20 Day three

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

 

4/16/20 Day four

My husband may be rethinking this whole “no TV” request today.

Before you think that I arranged this on purpose, please note that he did offer to help me clean the shed. So if it took the entire afternoon (and evening) to accomplish this task, it’s not my fault. Blame stuff. And no TV to distract the wife from purging and organizing said stuff.

“Hey, we have some extra time today. Let’s go clean out something full of spiders!”

I may have also almost set a tree on fire in our yard, but that was a complete accident (which, thankfully, did not set anything on fire, so I plead the fifth). Could that be the result of depriving one of an unconscious addiction? I’m no psycho-analyst, but things may be getting a little too crazy around here. First a clean shed (and possible pyrotechnics in the backyard), then new light switches. What’s next? A Monopoly game that begins and ends in the same day?

(hysterical laughing)

That’s just insane. Right?

Right?!

 

4/17/20 Day five

I noticed something about the kids today. Yes, they are still whining and fighting over trivial items (they are human children, after all), but something was definitely different.

It’s been three days since any of them asked to watch TV.

It’s almost as if they forgot about it. Maybe they did. Maybe they have the incredible ability to walk past an obvious item in the room without registering it’s existence (again, human children, so yeah, they do this well). Is that kind of talent marketable? If only I could harness it for good…

Yet, their ease at adapting to the shift in their routines both impressed and shamed me. Impressed because I have watched them all grow and stretch in their own concepts of expectations and needs, even in only a few tiny days.

But I was ashamed at the reminder of how ungracefully I handle shifts and changes in my own life.

Our kids may not have liked or wanted the change in the beginning, yet they trusted us (their parents) to provide something better in its place, even if they didn’t think it was better at that moment. TV time was replaced with more Lego building time with Papa, more walks to see cows, and more opportunities for new crazy plasma car routes on the driveway.

They trusted in the midst of not fully understanding the purpose.

How often do I now trust my Heavenly Father when He removes something from my life? I clutch the precious thing to my heart, unwilling to entertain the thought that He would replace it with something better. Not always with something easier. Not even without pain and suffering sometimes.

But He always provides something better.

 

4/18/20 Day six

We broke our little TV fast tonight as a family. Dinner, then the finale of Lego Masters. The kids were excited. Heck, I was excited! And we enjoyed our evening to the fullest.

Reflecting back on the week, I noticed that the removal of this one, somewhat insignificant, piece of our routine opened up our lives for more:

  • more music
  • more time and energy to accomplish delayed tasks (we cleaned and organized the shed, caulked the stairs, hung a chandelier, mowed the lawn, replaced light switches, and set up a patio umbrella)
  • more time for reading (I finished three books this week!)
  • more quiet in the evenings
  • more walks together
  • more conversations

Did this week magically cure childish whining? Nope. Will we continue as a No TV family? Probably not. But did we learn that a break from the big screen was a healthy practice to implement into our routine?

Absolutely, yes.

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Cover photo by Gaspar Uhas on Unsplash

Our Week Without
Photo by Francisco Andreotti on Unsplash

 

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