Want more quality family time? Try this.
“Watch it,” my toddler begged. I’d hardly say we spent tons of time in front of the TV. However, those two words had become my son’s favorite phrase and go-to at pretty much any time of the day. That’s it, I thought. I’ve had enough! I wanted to say to him, "There's more to life than TV, you know?!"
But I knew that wouldn't get me anywhere. So I did the next best thing.
I declared the TV “broken.”
My wonderful husband went along without argument and even helped me unplug it all. I wanted just one week without the TV - just to see what happened. To be honest, I thought it was going to be tough, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results with this little experiment. It only took a matter of days for Shadyn to internalize that no matter how many times he asked, the TV wasn’t going to be turned on. Although he did do some quick problem solving after hearing several times that first day that the TV was broken. “Batteries!” he told me :)
With the TV out of commission, Shadyn (and I) quickly filled in our usual TV times with all kinds of other fun things you can fill up the day with. The building blocks came down from the top shelf in the closet; relaxing meant sitting at the window together where there's always something fun to see or watch; and one day Matt even came home to a yummy homemade treat. Imagine that!
And evenings without TV turned out to be even better than daytime without TV! The two of us would tuck our little guy in bed, then head downstairs for an evening of ping pong. Or we'd climb up in our loft and talk and read together. I hadn't realized until now, just how much time my husband and I actually had during the week to be together!
What was our week like with no TV? Summed up in a sentence: all of us were talking more, laughing more and living more!
So I dare you. Run a little experiment of your own and see what happens. The results will be more than refreshing, and may even be better than you expect. They were for me!
PS: We were so happy with the life that emerged without TV, we decided to keep it off for another week and loved every minute of it. Since then, the TV has been “fixed” and we’ve been able to keep it as a small, enjoyable part of our schedule. (Because I'm certainly not convinced our home has to be completely without Curious George, Cat in the Hat and Star Trek!)
And whenever my son asks to watch something, I tell him, “Okay, sure. That’s what we’ll watch when it’s TV time.” Easy as that... most of the time :)