5 great reasons to not watch (much) TV

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I’m on vacation this week, so I thought I’d republish one of our older and more popular posts. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Personally, our family has a television. We don’t think it’s evil. Together, we enjoy watching movies, quality TV shows, and occasionally the news.

But it’s not on by default, and it’s definitely not our main method of entertainment. For the past three years living overseas, we haven’t received a TV signal, so our television set was reserved solely for watching DVDs.

Now that we’re back in the U.S., we get a minimal amount of channels (just your basic networks and public broadcasting), and it’s on about an hour per day, on average.

This isn’t meant to sound holier-than-thou, as though anything less than that makes someone a bad parent. I’m simply saying that we’ve discovered that it’s honestly not that hard to not depend on television as though it’s the shrine of the living room.

In the household where I grew up, TV was on by default, and I admittedly watched quite a bit (though I still somehow managed to read a ton and come out rather non-addicted to TV). Soon after I moved out of my parents’, I noticed how much I loved the sound of… nothing. That the blare of television didn’t have to constantly be on. I knew I wanted that as the default in my own home.

My husband and I are content with the balance we’ve found in our family; that we use the TV as a tool in our home for both entertainment and education, but it’s not an idol or an addiction.

Yet we know it can easily fall prey to the role of major time-sucker and energy waster. It’s important to remind ourselves continually why it’s a great idea to not always watch TV. And that there are plenty of other things to do.

Here are my favorite reasons.

1. Watching TV correlates with poor health, weight gain, and low energy levels.


Photo by Caryn Werner

It’s no secret — being a couch potato contributes to a lot of our current culture’s weight gain and poor health. I was surprised by some of the statistics I unearthed when I did research on this for my upcoming book. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control:

“One-fourth of children in America spend four hours or more watching television daily and only 27 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 engage in moderate physical activity at least 30 minutes a day on five or more days of the week.”

Childhood obesity is a major problem; we all know this. One of the biggest links is the increase in screen time — according to Norman Herr, professor of science education at California State University, the average child in America watches 1,680 minutes of television per week. That’s four hours per day.

The health risks are the same for adults and for those outside the U.S. If we want to maintain a healthy weight, keep our needed energy levels up, and generally take care of our bodies, we must keep the TV set off by default.

2. Mindless TV-watching allows all sorts of images and values I don’t necessarily endorse into my home.

Those children that watch 28 hours of TV weekly? They’ll see an average of 8.000 murders by the time they finish elementary school. They’ll also see about 20,000 30-second commercials each year.

There are so many other things I want filling my children’s minds than our culture’s obsession with things and with graphically shocking images. I’d rather them savor real life.

Leaving the TV on means having very little control of what information is infiltrated into your four walls. If you wouldn’t want those images decorating your walls, or if you wouldn’t want that particular act done on your floor, then why display it on a screen for you to watch?

3. Keeping TV watching down to a minimal level means that when it’s on, it’s quality.


Photo from Ocean’s 12

This brings me to the topic of purposeful television watching. When you don’t have it on by default, watching TV is so much more enjoyable. You’re being entertained or educated by something you’re allowing into your home, that passes your inspection.

Watching TV as a whole family four hours per week, instead of 28, means that those four hours are much more meaningful. Our kids love “family movie night,” where once per week we select one movie to sit down and watch together, without doing anything else. We dim the lights, pop popcorn, and snuggle together on the couch.

If we’re relaxing in front of the TV any other time, it’s to watch one or two shows we’re deliberately watching because that’s why we turned the TV on in the first place. When the show ends, the television gets turned off.

4. It’s more peaceful, relaxing, and less stressful when the TV is off by default.

TV is loud. Commercials scream at you to buy their (usually) pointless products, cacophony from around the world tells you what you’ve missed in the last ten minutes, and images spin and whir and whiz by you faster than your brain can digest them.

When television is on all the time, you miss out on living slowly. You don’t hear the birds quite as well. It’s harder to have a conversation. In short, it’s a poor replacement for real life — and real life is much more peaceful without media on in the background by default.

5. There are simply other fun things to do.


Photo by Robert S. Donovan

This is probably my strongest reason for not wanting TV on all the time. I have too many things I’d rather do! Any time I’m watching something on television, I’m deliberately choosing to do that instead of something else.

I love to sew, to read, to decorate, to play with my kids. My kids love to explore and wander outside, to help me cook, to play with their friends. Why would I trade watching someone else’s (fake) life for living out my own?

More often than not, there truly are more things I’d rather do than watch TV. Once you get out of the habit of constantly having it on, it’s honestly not that enticing anymore. It’s just one more option in the myriad of choices out there to do. And there are plenty, believe me.

If your kids complain of being bored, that’s okayIt’s a good thing to be bored — it stretches their imagination; it forces them to think outside the box; it pushes them to do things they don’t normally do.

I encourage you—try to keep your television set turned off for a week, and do something else. I know you’ve got a whole list of things you want to do when you have the time. You can do it!

What’s the hardest thing for you about keeping the TV off? What are your main reasons for not watching too much?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. I sooooo love that we’ve just been on holiday for 2 weeks and my kids didn’t watch TV once – after 4 days in one guesthouse we were just packing up to leave and my eldest said “mummy, there’s a TV in here, did you notice?” clearly she’d been having far too much fun!

    As kids my mum would turn us out to run round the garden while she made dinner – I wish I could do that at home, apartment living is tough and I do use the TV babysitter so I can get certain stuff done – but I love that I choose what is appropriate and my kids don’t even know what High School musical or Hannah montana is and aren’t asking for the latest everything – which is through conscious TV choices on the part of me and my husband – thanks for the reminder that this is a good thing!!

  2. Yes and yes! We got rid of TV completely for a couple of years. We now have it again, and I must say having a DVR helps greatly. There are 4 or 5 shows I let my girls watch, and they record automatically. So on Sat. mornings, they get to watch a couple hours of recorded, approved shows. In doing this, they also miss all the ads because we fast-forward. Love that!
    .-= Angela @ Homegrown Mom´s last blog ..Dear Epidermis, =-.

    • Thank you for pointing out how you use DVR. We do not have it, partially bec. I didn’t see the need for it. Now, hmm…good use for it. Thank you.

    • Angela, I agree completely about the DVR being a great thing! We can watch what we want, when we want, and not watch the obnoxious commercials that often are not appropriate for the audience for which the show is intended!

      That said, we’re trying to reduce our TV watching and would like to get rid of satellite (and only watch broadcast TV). Short of Tivo and its $20/month fees, do you know any DVRs that don’t require satellite or cable? Anyone?

      • We actually don’t have cable or satellite. We watch all our shows via the network websites, or on Hulu. We also did have a Netflix account where we could also watch many other TV shows as well as movies. We have a cable connecting our desktop in the kitchen to our TV and sound in the living room. I will never pay for cable or satellite again!
        This gives us complete control over what we want to watch, and when. The only drawback is when watching current shows, most networks have a 24 hour waiting period. Every now and again I come across one that is an 8 day waiting. If we signed up for Hulu Plus we could even get around that, I believe.
        This also works because we only have 1 TV in our house.

  3. Thank you! I always admire people, who manage to live without TV. Its great that you point out, that it’s even good to think about what programme you see. So there are may possibilities to think about quality and quantity and go little steps with less TV.
    .-= Micha´s last blog ..befreites Nähen / sew liberated =-.

  4. love this post because every reason you’ve given is spot on. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot since we have a newborn and will be making some changes. That’s the hard part though- breaking old habits. So thanks for the reminder, I needed it!
    .-= Tabitha (From Single to Married)´s last blog ..Finding Myself =-.

  5. When I make the effort to turn the TV off for any length of time, the first thing that I notice is the wonderful quiet that extends throughout the house. That particular noisy distraction is gone, we don’t have to talk over the volume, and you’re right, we find something more stimulating to do. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is!
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..Radio Flyer The Inchworm Provides Hours Of Bouncing and Rolling Fun =-.

  6. We do/did have a tv. (Our vcr/dvd broke two weeks ago, the tv last week). We did debate about not buy replacements since tv isn’t a big part of our lives. We did decide to get replacements but didn’t run out and buy a home theater. We only have a reallly old antenna that gets 4-7 stations depending on the weather (we think if we upgrade it this summer we might get a pbs station-I would love to see antiques roadshow regularly). Everything the kids (age almost 4 & almost 6) watch is pre-recorded and if it something they haven’t watched before we watch it as a family so we can discuss it after. They usually watch a hour or less a day (mostly when I have something to do that I don’t want lots of interruptions). I and my husband may watch an hour or so after they are in bed but we are making an effort not to pick tv when we are bored as we notice our choices then are usually pretty bad and we shut the tv off half way through a show.

  7. Like you, we aim for balance with the TV. My girls watch mostly just PBS Kids if it is on (with the occasional Disney or Nick Jr show thrown in). Through the winter, we became more dependent on it than I would like – myself included – so I am so THRILLED to be participating in Make Week! Couldn’t have come at a better time for our family.
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..april showers on my spring flowers =-.

    • Megan, I like your perspective! I totally can relate especially when it’s winter time. Balance is key like you said. Which pretty much applies to everything else in life. The TV has its place. Selective and Moderate amounts entertainment, that is all.
      .-= vinajoy´s last blog ..Mothering With Authenticity =-.

  8. This is a great article!! I, too, am such a fan of the silence throughout the house when the TV’s off. We also have a DVR so I can record shows I choose for the kids, and I can’t remember the last time I let them watch a show with commercials in it. Commercials automatically spark the “I want, I want!!”, and that’s not the mentality I want them going through life with. I’ve also found that the more I watch TV, the more likely I am to be “blah” and depressed for the rest of the day. When I go outside, sew something, call a friend, etc … the day is SO much fuller for me.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Card Table Play Houses =-.

  9. Tsh,
    I was like you growing up it was on for the noise, and I watched quite a bit, but I am still amazed at how much reading I did. We like to watch TV here too. But if I just walk over and turn it off and say let’s play a game or read a story, my kiddos are all for it. I like having the noise reduction from it too. It just sounds so much more peaceful in the house. I’m looking forward to joining this TV free week.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Look for the Designer Label =-.

  10. I don’t have too much of a hard time with the TV at all, it’s the computer lol for me. We moderate how much the children watch because there are far too many other things they can do. I love how it makes the kids play and find things to do. Both of us didn’t grow up with a lot of TV and we both love projects and books both things that need oodles of time.
    It does bother me a little though that we have to justify like it’s some elicit drug if we don’t do TV much or if we do. We make our choices for our family. This just works well for us. We’ve lived overseas with limited channels. We found other things to do.
    We do watch TV – feel I have to mention this :)
    Screen Free week will be interesting………. I wonder if the schools could do it?
    .-= Melitsa@ Play Activities´s last blog ..Play Activities for Screen free week 2010 =-.

  11. avatar
    Catherine says:

    Another benefit to watching less tv is less advertising consumption.

    Our family has a t.v. but no cable service, so we only watch dvds via netflix or a couple of shows on the internet. Its been about a year since we cancelled our service, and we really don’t miss it.

    My husband was travelling last week and told me he was really jolted watching tvs at the airport. He said it was really apparent how patronizing and blatantly manipulative tv advertisments are. He said he just hadn’t really noticed it before, but watching them after not seeing hardly any in a year it was very apparent and even irritating.

    • This is so true. We can’t get much service of any kind where we live and at times miss the ease of being able to watch whatever whenever (not that we had many channels in the past to choose from). But you do learn to get creative with different ways to watch and def more intentional about what’s worth the watching effort and what’s not. Sometimes I just need the brain break and time to unwind, and a good laugh! Thus a comedy rerun at night or The Chew during little toot’s nap. We do have our faves to watch during weekday primetime hours , don’t get me wrong, but I don’t miss endless runs of commercials – like you said. Scarily, when my son was pretty young and happened to notice commercials for the first time, he asked me why there were girls in EVERY commercial!! Wow, that spoke volumes to me real quick like!

  12. Great post! A few months ago my family and I did a “media fast”. Being a Christian family we were a little disturbed at how much sex, violence, and advertisements that all of us are exposed to via the TV, radio, internet and magazines. So we went one week with out any of it. I think we had become so desensitized to alot of the really awful stuff we watched and heard.
    Once the week was over I think we became much more aware of those things we should not be watching. It was quite cleansing!
    Going though the media fast actually caused us to watch less tv, like you its about 1 hour or less per day and probably none on the weekends, there are just too many other things Id rather spend my life doing!

  13. We’ve been TV-less for months and haven’t watched TV for years. We had a television that we used for DVD’s but now we just use our computer monitor.

    I agree with Catherine. I find the advertising on TV so jarring and revolting really. Without being advertised to (I avoid reading/linking through ads on blogs, websites etc.. also) I feel very content with what I have. In fact I never even want to go shopping, what for?

    No TV, less advertising = greater contentment in life (at least for me)

    Getting Rid of our TV once and for all

  14. I personally would love to get rid of the tv completely, but I know my husband will never agree with that. I do try to limit the tv time in our house, especially when our daughter is up. She is 2 and she gets sucked into the tv so easily that it scares me. When I see hubby tonight I’m going to have to work on convincing him to do a week without tv.
    .-= Buffie´s last blog ..Working on That Elusive Balance =-.

  15. “Soon after I moved out of my parents’, I noticed how much I loved the sound of… nothing.”

    This is exactly how I feel about television. I love mornings and the associated quiet (even though right now the dishwasher, washer, and dryer are all going), but my roommates both like to watch television in the morning if they have a chance, especially on Saturdays, which happen to be my favorite unwinding day.

    I bought a Tivo so I wouldn’t feel so attached to the corporate television scheduling, and also to help avoid ads selling their useless crap, as you point out. It’s super-helpful; I’m more social and outgoing now that I don’t feel like I *have* to be home by 7 to watch my favorite show(s).

    All in all, great article!

  16. My husband and I have been considering getting rid of our cable for financial reasons primarily. We were discussing about how the kids would handle it and I realized they don’t watch much tv! An hour a week, on the occasion two. They use the tv to play a very restricted amount of video games, yes, but not tv. My husband and I only truly enjoy a few shows in the evening. It’s truly a waste of our money! I’m hoping that we can take the plunge and just unplug it. Not to mention, there’s a lot out there that we simply don’t agree with. We’ve had to have lots of talks about misleading commercials in the past, and now my kids have been taught to be skeptical of the commercial promises. There aren’t really many shows that my kids watch, or that I want them to watch, on the kid networks now that they’ve outgrown the preschool shows. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it’s not a wise use of our finances.

    We might get an antennae to pick up the free tv b/c sometimes it is nice to just relax with my hubby and watch tv after a tiring day. :)
    .-= Lindsey@ Mama Sews´s last blog ..a letter of love to my son =-.

  17. Great post and I love the balance you have. We do not pay for T.V. but we get NBC free from a local station and bunny ears, yes people still use them ;) I can not justify paying for tv and probably never will. If there is a show I want to watch on another station I can watch it online with limited commercials.

    As for the kiddos, ugh, this seems like it would not be hard because they just watch dvd/vhs. However as I was evaluating how much they have actually been watching lately I was surprised. I definitely need to pull on the reins and bring us back to a balanced amount.

    Yesterday was great for the first no tv day. We listened to audio books and they loved it. They played all afternoon after church. I am taking it one day at a time this week. as not to get overwhelmed. But I do love the movie night and want to impliment it. Thanks again for making it Simple.
    .-= Keilah´s last blog ..Diet and Exercise =-.

  18. I highly recommend getting rid of t.v. … At first, I thought it would be torture ( I grew up eating dinner watching Saved By the Bell reruns). But it has been wonderful…like turning off a leaky faucet. Ahh, peace.
    .-= Kristy´s last blog ..Plant a Seed =-.

  19. What a wonderful post! We also have a television, but just receive basic channels. Our daughters watch almost no regular programming, other than select sporting events with my husband. They do view old shows like Leave it to Beaver on the computer occasionally and we have video/dvd night on Saturdays. They enjoy reading books, playing outdoors and using their imaginations to create all sorts of entertainment. When we do turn the tv on, it’s purposeful and not just as background noise or to fill the time.
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Blessings in Abundance =-.

  20. avatar
    Sarah Wood says:

    My family and I have done away with t.v. for 2 1/2 years. We buy dvd’s- and watch them for some family time. If there is a show that we like, we will watch it on the internet (hulu). It amazed us how much more quality time, and the amazing quiet, when we didn’t always have something on. I encourage everyone to “kill you t.v”!!!

  21. I also use a DVR to give choices on what shows to watch. My 8year old is allowed ONE 30-min show a day, and that is if only her homework and household chores are done. Her show of choice right now is iCarly. I will occasionally watch her show with her, to monitor what is being said/done/portrayed. It also is a bonding time from her POV to sit on the sofa with mom and share the laughs the show provides.

    For cartoon watching, I only allow the channel Boomerang. Lots of “old school” cartoons, with no to very little advertisements…. which cuts down dramatically on the “I wants”.

    We don’t get home from work/school until 5:30-5:45, and with an 8:30 bedtime, that leaves very little time for “us”. Part of her household chores is to go in the backyard and play with the dog. Not only does it foster a sense of responsibility, it gets her outside and playing. As an only-child I believe it also helps her learn to amuse herself.

    The detox from the TV will not be an issue for our family, but before I get too prideful…. there is something I have to admit.

    My biggest digital vice? Turning on the laptop.

    Once I turn it on for “just 5 min” to check emails, etc…. next thing I know, it’s almost 11pm, and the dishes aren’t done and the laundry is a “little” behind ;) So, my goal this week? Turn off the blackberry, and no laptop during home hours. I mean, if you think about it… I spend 9 hours a day in this chair staring at this monitor. Why do I “need” another 2-3 hours in the evening? (At least this is what I tell myself).

    Therefore, this week will not be just turn off the TV week, but a Digital Detox week. :)
    .-= Jennifer Felten´s last blog ..Food for thought: The Lie Many Parents Believe =-.

  22. When my ex husband and I divorced 4 years ago I made the decision that I would not waste money paying for commercial television and that given the circumstances my daughters needed MY time and not television time. Our little tv gets one channel that I rarely watch (this past weekend I turned it on to watch SNL and it was the first time I’ve watched actual television since the Olympics were on in February). I’m not against watching shows but I’d rather control what is watched by the use of DVDs and lessen the impact that commercials have on my daughters (they get two full weekends with a television in every room and every channel known to man when they go and stay with their Dad).

  23. We don’t have TV so it’s pretty simple. Now if you wanted to talk about the internet consumption (mine—the kids are allowed zero internet time), then THAT would be a different story.
    .-= Jennifer Jo´s last blog ..My one and only =-.

  24. Great post! We don’t get cable, intentionally. We mostly watch DVDs when we do watch. Oh and thanks for the Damon, Pitt, Clooney shot…nice to have a littl eye-candy in the morning!

  25. So true, so true. You hit the nail on the head with this, I’m glad to have stumbled upon your site.

  26. I’ve been wanting to get rid of the tv completely for a while now (maybe one for movie night) but my husband was not really on board. I told him about Make Week this week and he didn’t seem that interested but was willing to give it a go. Then, lastnight he said, “What if we don’t ever put the tv back in the living room? Wouldn’t that be great?! Imagine all the games we would play!” Needless to say, I think he is on board!
    .-= jeana´s last blog ..Learning Through Teaching :Autism =-.

  27. I’m glad to be joining Make Week and am encouraged to choose creativity over convenience.

    It took a bit of will power not to concede to my kids request for a video this morning. But they had even more fun painting, constructing, and interacting with toys that have been tucked away for quite a while.

    We don’t have cable or an antenna, so mindless T.V. isn’t an issue. Still, eliminating the oh-so-easy 30-minute DVD will be a daily challenge, in a very good way. Thanks for the encouragement!
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Hanging Out Day and Why I Love to Line Dry (Re-post) =-.

  28. We don’t have a TV, and it’s never been an issue. My children are young (5, 2.5, 9 months) and they’ve just naturally learned to entertain themselves while I’m showering, making dinner, etc. Love it! (We do watch DVDs on our computer every couple of months or so).
    .-= Rachael´s last blog ..Foodie Friday: Dad’s whole-wheat waffles =-.

  29. My husband and I decided prior to our move this past November to not get cable. Primarily for financial reasons – not that we couldn’t afford it, but the HUGE waste it was to spend $50-60 every month that could be more useful elsewhere, but also we noticed the amount of time we spent watching tv and not doing things and living our lives.

    Our daughter just turned a year old, and previously we refused for her to be allowed to watch TreeHouse and the like(we personally believe that we as parents are meant to educate our children, not the television), so because of these factors we never had to fight her over the decision. Now whether or not we will continue this when she’s older, I’m not sure. We’ll deal with that hurdle when we come to it.

    I think it was a very easy transition for us because we had moved. My days for the first 3 months were spent unpacking, painting, and decorating the house, so I never had the chance to miss tv. We now only use our tv now for movies, and playing cds. My husband works till 1am so he likes to stream shows online while we’re sleeping, and occasionally we watch together. I enjoy life so much more now.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Birthing story – Pinxit =-.

  30. First of all let me say that even though my husband and I don’t have any children I love this blog (found it through the Simple Organic blog). I find so much of the stuff on it to be applicable to all types of family situations.

    We have a TV in our home, but we do not have Television. I have not had cable since my sophomore year in college, and I have to say I don’t really miss it. We have a Netflix account so we can watch movies we really want to see instead of waiting our time stuff we don’t really care to watch. Plus, between Hulu and Netflix’s instant play I can watch the couple of shows that I really like without getting sucked into watching what’s on next just for the sake of something to do.

    My husband and I have realized that even without cable we’ve been watching too much TV (mostly watching the same TV on DVD stuff we own over and over again). We’ve tried cutting back (and have succeed to some point), but still find ourselves coming back to watching what we have just for something to do because we can’t think of anything better. Many of you have offered many wonderful alternatives for children, but what do you do to combat boardness as adults once the children are in bed and the chores are done and the idea of sitting around just talking has lost it’s thrill?
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Lots of Stuff Going on in the Garden! =-.

  31. The hardest thing for me is that I use the TV in the morning to get a few more minutes of sleep. My son sits on my bed and watches a PBS cartoon while I doze. I could easily go the rest of the day without the TV, but those extra minutes of sleep are a bit of an obsession.
    .-= Liz @ Hybrid Life´s last blog ..On Lactivism =-.

  32. Oh I need this challenge! We watch WAY TOO MUCH TV in our house! I try to make sure the TV is turned off by a certain time each morning and then it doesn’t get turned on again until the evening news. But lately I’ve really been slacking off and the TV seems like it’s on all the time! I don’t know if I can get everyone on board but we do need to start cutting back, if not completely cutting it off for the week! Thanks for the challenge!
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Help! =-.

  33. What can I say? I agree with every single word. Would also like to add that it’s not just TV – it’s screen time in general.
    .-= Bryony Boxer´s last blog ..Keeping In Touch With Long-Distance Grandparents =-.

  34. Good post. Our family always watches more television in the winter because of the cold weather but greatly reduce it in the summertime to be out and about together as a family. The statistics of what our kids see sure are sobering aren’t they?
    .-= Dionna´s last blog ..Combining Mother’s & Father’s Day =-.

  35. Here’s another reason – my 2-year old has better behavior when he’s been engaged in play instead of watching TV. (But I will freely admit, that us adults LOVE our television!)

    Here’s a question: How do you explain/eforce TV limits for your kids? We limit TV for our 2-year old, but he is constantly asking to watch a show. We probably got ourselves in trouble because we let him watch after he gets ready in the morning (while I’m nursing and getting the baby ready), so he associates TV with a reward, but I need some ideas for helping him understand the limits…
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Grace =-.

  36. avatar
    Stephanie says:

    We don’t have a TV, but most of these comments could be applied to the internet (my personal bane!), books, music, and any other passive entertainment…

  37. Why would I trade watching someone else’s (fake) life for living out my own?

    That just went into my daily inspiration folder! Wow! I really needed to hear that today. TV is such a crutch. When we don’t have the TV on, a whine or two will escape from my 2 year old, but he soon forgets about it because he is on to playing with bigger and better things. However, it is easier for me to have it on sometimes. Thank you for reminding me Carpe the Diem!!!!
    .-= Jeanne´s last blog ..Easter egg shortcomings =-.

  38. Excellent points. I have planned a month this summer without TV for our family. We are preparing ahead of time to break the addiction.
    .-= LivingOurWay´s last blog ..News From the Garden =-.

  39. I needed this today. The hardest thing about not watching TV is that I use it to keep dd occupied while I clean, cook, etc. Especially when it’s rainy and we don’t get to spend much time outside. We don’t have any channels, so she’s not seeing commercials, and I know she watches less TV than most kids, but I know it’s still too much. Thanks for the inspiration.

  40. In June of 2009 when the analog signal switched to digital, I never bothered to buy a converter box. By Christmas, my mother-in-law purchased one so we wouldn’t miss all of the Christmas specials. Frankly, my children, 9, 7 and 3 didn’t want to watch tv, they would rather be using their imagination playing, then sitting watching tv. With the year mark approaching, I encourage every parent to try to live without it or limit the time that is spent watching it.

  41. My husband is a tv junkie – he has it on 24/7 a day. We have 3 TVs even though there’s only 2 of us – talk about overkill. Since I’m a housewife, I LOVE when he goes to work because that’s when I turn off the TV for 6-9 hours of pure silence. LOVE IT.

    We have a DVR and an XBOX360 with a Gold membership that accesses the Internet to display on our TV. When I do watch TV, I just turn on one of my recorded shows (today it was Joseph Prince’s sermons – they come on at 5 AM here so thank God for the DVR!) You can access last.fm via the Xbox so while I’m cleaning or cooking or whatever, sometimes I’ll turn the TV on so I can listen to music (which I can edit out all the junk that you’d hear on the radio – commercials, secular, certain artists, etc through my last.fm Xbox profile.) and have it loud enough that I can hear it wherever I am in the house. LOVE IT.

    Personally, I can’t sit through 99% of TV shows so I’m glad I have the DVR to tape sermons from different pastors on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

  42. When an author writes an article or a book, isn’t s/he hoping someone will trade a few minutes or hours of living their own life in order to read that article or book???

    • I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at. Feel free to elaborate if you’d like…

      • I think what Glenda means is that reading a book is kind of the same thing. We are taking time out of living our lives to read about someone else (real or fictional) living their life. Which is true. However, when you read you are actively engaging your mind in the task at hand instead of mindlessly absorbing and viewing what is in front of you. I bet that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who can mindlessly/passively “read” a book and still have any idea as to what is going on.

        But yes, I do agree with Glenda too. There’s a point where even books should be put down and life actually lived.
        .-= Jen´s last blog ..Lots of Stuff Going on in the Garden! =-.

        • Ah, makes sense now. Yes, I agree with both of you. You are using minutes of your “real life” to read a book, but there is so much going on in your brain when you read rather than when you watch TV.

          There’s also a difference in quality for both things — reading “twaddle” isn’t the same thing as reading something well-written and/or beneficial to your life. Same thing with TV.

          Thanks for clarifying!

  43. Nicely done. I really feel that watching all the TV in high doses does amount to brainwashing in a sense. Even without murders and violence, there are other ideas you learn that are just no good: like people with average jobs and regular salaries live in beautiful designer houses, that everyone has perfect teeth and a great complexion etc. The lifestyle inflation modeled on TV is not a good example for adults or kids.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Risks you’d take to live your dream =-.

  44. I am joining you!

    Ashley, with CWDkids
    http://kidbits.cwdkids.com/2010/04/fore.html

  45. Now that it is warmer, my boys are outside from sunrise to sunset. I think the TV was turned on for a half hour before my oldest went to bed last night. I’m pretty happy with that. The TV was on way too much this winter, and it is so nice to not have to hear it now. We have to completely revamp our TV habits before next winter. We used to be so good about not having it on, and doing other things.
    .-= Amanda G.´s last blog ..Home Management Notebooks =-.

  46. We did a media detox last week. Having been on bed rest while pregnant with #4, I turned to TV ( dvd really, we don’t get any recetion) as a babysitter and my kids were addicted! Now that the littlest is a month old it was time to pull the plug. Having a week of nice weather helped a lot but I also found they were less likely to ask to watch a movie if we had music playing quietly. Having soft music in the morning has really made a difference, much better than starting the day off with some horriable cartoon theme song!

  47. I often slip into the trap of having the TV on by default. It’s one of the reasons I’m glad we go camping regularly – it gets me out of the rut! I’m always pleasantly surprised at what the kids find to do when I do turn off the TV though. Jigsaws come out of the cupboard, imaginary friends are made and the backyard becomes an adventure playground again. Our school has declared this week TV Free Week, too so we’re all having great fun together instead of mindlessly watching the box :-)
    .-= Leanne´s last blog ..Lake King, Gippsland =-.

  48. Once again, I totally agree! It is so easy to get addicted to TV and all screen time, so I think it is very important to put limits on everything.

    I think the Waldorf folks have some very interesting data about TV/screen time and what it does to a growing brain. I’m not sure if they are right, but seems worth the effort to error on the cautious side on this one.

    Plus, I really like to control what goes into my child’s & my own consciousness. We enjoy watching family movies together, but that way I control it and the advertising.

    Also, without TV/screen time, everyone does a lot more reading and enjoys time outside in the real world or doing real bonding. ;)
    .-= soultravelers3´s last blog ..Around The World Family Travel Soultravelers3 =-.

  49. I loved your balanced, reasonable, and humble view on the subject. I have not missed our TV since we got rid of it about 3 years ago. We still have access to quality entertainment and we do not really miss anything else (except maybe the Olympics).

    One thing you could argue if you are considering getting rid of your TV is: there are some things I would rather never be exposed to, not even in moderation. And I’d have to put commercials on that list.

    Again, thanks for your very good post on this issue!!!
    .-= tacy´s last blog ..Organizing Time with Routines =-.

  50. I echo the comment just above mine. What a balanced and reasonable post on TV! Maybe it’s because I agree with you all the way, that I loved this post. :) Anyway, it’s a touchy subject, but I think you did a great job of not preaching or sounding pretentious!
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..The Beauty and the Beautiful Day =-.

  51. thank you for this post! we also share your views on TV watching and are SO thankful that we have made the choice to severely minimize our TV viewing. thanks again for this post. i love it!

  52. Tsh, my wife and I couldn’t agree with you more – on every level, but particularly with your second point. We do watch TV and DVDs, and like you, we want to be sure we guard our children’s hearts and maximize the time we spend in front of the tube. Also like you, our TV has been off and on over the years but with 4 kids ranging from 16 to 5, it has become a little more difficult. We’ve found some tools that have helped us in our quest to protect. We describe them and make them available on our site http://www.watchfamilymovies.com

  53. this is interesting. everything you wrote…also applies to the internet which is my personal achilles heel in time wasting. i’m on maternity leave and it’s so easy to sit around with my laptop reading anything and everything. i really – REALLY – need to implement guidelines for myself around that.

  54. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon – heck yeah that’s quality TV. LOL!
    Seriously though, I’ve been TV free for years and would never go back. It saddens me when I go to a friend’s house to hang out or for a playdate kind of a thing and the TV takes up the entire living room and blocks conversation. Not to mention it’s the ongoing background noise/babysitter/entertainment source for the kids. Ugh. That’s no life in my opinion.

    Great post.
    .-= Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio´s last blog ..You Know It’s Your Third Trimester When… =-.

  55. YES.

    We cut our television in January & have yet to turn it on. We play with our child. We play with each other. It was the BEST decision we made as a family AND it is saving us over $100 a month!

    We’re working out in our yard, going for walks, playing board games, getting more sleep. I’ve lost 30 lbs since we cut cable (mostly to Nutrisystem, but partly because I know longer veg for hours!).

    & you know what? We don’t miss it. Those shows that we thought we were addicted to? Totally forgotten. We don’t even turn on the tv for the “free” channels. On Friday nights, we pop in a movie after Harrison goes to bed & snuggle. It’s a great way to wind down the week & something we look forward to rather than, “Oh gosh, another night in front of the television.”

    I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend it to any family.
    .-= Blair@HeirtoBlair´s last blog ..When people stop being nice, & start being real. You know, with food. Not Brooklyn. =-.

  56. This is lovely!

    I went completely without TV for nearly 4 years, when I was a student and the first few years of my marriage, until my husband and I decided to let our 2 year old watch some DVD’s. We try to keep it very limited, because I remember how peaceful my life was without TV.
    .-= Satakieli´s last blog ..Chicken with Mushroom and Tarragon Cream =-.

  57. avatar
    marci357 says:

    18 years TV free before I turned it back on – needing weather info for our storms…. Now it is on for weather when needed, and news when needed, and an occasional movie.

    I just can’t deal with how many hours I could waste sitting in front of a TV…. I don’t have time to waste!!! How would I ever do all the things I actually enjoy doing and derive pleasure from, and why would I want to replace those fulfilling hours with mind-numbing hours??? For me, there are just too many creative outlets and fun things to be doing instead!

  58. I love my tv! :)

  59. I love this challenge. My husband and I recently dropped our cable to the bare minimum because we found that we just weren’t interested in 95% of the programming. We were also motivated to reduce our TV time because we are expecting our first child soon and we don’t want to expose her to it until she’s a little older.

    We both work full-time, and although we do have a couple shows we enjoy, we just find there are so many other things we would rather do with our limited free time. I took the challenge this week to watch zero TV and I’ve documented how I’ve spent my time so far.

    Thank you for the inspiration to take this step to another level.
    .-= Traci´s last blog ..Day 3 TV Challenge: Spa Night Wednesday =-.

  60. thanks for sharing your reasons. we don’t have a tv either and i don’t miss it at all. although we have a huge screen for watching dvds or hulu, whenever we want. but thats only in the evenings, when the son is sleeping.
    the program here in vienna, austria is the same as over there. as i hear :)

  61. It’s interesting that I stumble on this now…we just “ditched the dish” last week! We’re saving $75 a month and can still stream any of the shows we really like from the computer to the tv. My hubby has always been a tv-in-the-background guy, so I was somewhat surprised when he got on board with the idea. He’s been reading all week…in the 8 years we’ve been together this is only the SECOND book I’ve seen him read…and I was an English Lit major!
    So glad they have a “trial week” to promote the idea of switching off the boob tube…I hope others’ experiences are as good as ours has been thus far!
    .-= Pot Luck Mama´s last blog ..Mouthgasm 2010: Sandestin =-.

  62. 4 hours per day is average? Really? Wow. Just wow.

    We average about 1.5 hours per WEEK. :)
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..baby #3 =-.

  63. I agree. Unfortunately my hubby has a t.v. addiction. The kids and I laugh because it’s like his arm has a mind of it’s own. He will come in from work and if it’s not on (more times than not it isn’t) as he walks past his arm hits the power button. To me listening to nothing is much more relaxing. To make matters worse my hubby has a hearing problem so when the t.v. is on it’s ON… you can hear it in every room in the house. I bought him a set of wireless headphones and once in awhile I can nag enough that he’ll wear them. I’m going to bring off trying to leave off the t.v. for a week…. I’ll keep the phone close though in case I need to call 911.

  64. I recommend reading The Plug In Drug by Marie Winn. I read it a few years ago on vacation and came home and change our viewing habits. My son is not allowed to watch TV during the week during the school year. He is allowed 2 hours on the weekend for all electronic media. We sometimes watch a movie together as a family and that doesn’t count in his time. We put our TV in the basement. As a result, I hardly ever watch it. I get so much more accomplished now. I am currently thinking about getting rid of our satellite service. People are amazed that there is no TV in the living room. My husband doesn’t want to because he enjoys watching soccer and the Tour de France and he can’t get those on the computer. Maybe I could convince him if I showed him how much we could save each month!

  65. I first turned my cable off in the summer of 2007. I was tired of paying for garbage. My husband and I were married three years ago and got cable when we moved from MO to IL. In June 2010, we canceled our satellite and signed up for Netflix. He enjoys the fact that we save $70+ a month and I enjoy the peace and quiet while he’s at work. We’re expecting our first child in October and I love the fact that my first instinct won’t be to use my television as a babysitter.

  66. I’m a little late for this post, but I’m glad I found it. Excellent read. The TV will be off alot more tomorrow!

    I’ve facebooked this at:

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=216476295066580&id=175378011140

    Donna

  67. we’ve been tv free for nearly 4 yrs (and with 3 young children)…haven’t missed it one bit. we do rent movies to watch via computer – and the kids do like to play on the computer – but, that’s limited to an hr/day on the weekends. i don’t think the kids even think twice about us not having a tv.
    i know i don’t miss that “noise” lol

  68. Fantastic. We have a 20 month old and I’m sometimes surprised at how difficult it is to have others respect this preference (for no electronics, at least till he’s older) which seems like a no-brainer for us. Earlier posts have great ideas on limits (ie the 1-2 hrs on weekends for all media). We spend several weeks a year in Alaska in a cabin with no running water, and I’m amazed at how just being outside is captivating for our little guy. We don’t have time to do the things we love doing, don’t have as much time together as we’d like as a family- really I don’t know where we would squeeze in time for TV! It is nice to rent an occasional movie, and when he’s older I look forward to sharing the BBC World series and similar programs. Great to see so much positive energy around positive- and considered- engagement as families.

  69. avatar
    Loretta S. says:

    Ha – my favorite part was how the picture of George Clooney by quality! Loved it! And totally agree!

  70. My husband turns on the TV as soon as he comes home from work. Its his default. I do watch TV, but I dont think quite as much, and I do enjoy silence. How can I get him to not turn on the TV right away and enjoy his kids? (16 and 9) boys. They are used to it, so it doesnt bother them but It bothers me.

  71. It’s so funny that I ran across this post today. I literally just made my girls turn off the tv. The show they were watching was fine, but the commericals were awful. I’m fed up with television and all the terrible stuff it promotes. I mean I just got fighin’ mad. I’m sure if someone would have been a fly on the wall, they would have been in stitches, laughing at my little tyraid. I’ve just had enought of it!
    Please excuse my rambling….I just wanted to say thanks for the post and for the whole make week idea! It’s great!

  72. I went 3 years without TV and loved it, recently got cable again but with a PVR/DVR and now its an entirely different experience. I record my 3 shows and my 3 year old’s 3 shows and that’s all we watch. My rule is this: No TV when it’s light out, only when it is dark out. That keeps us from wasting away daylight hours when we could be outside living :)

  73. We didn’t have a TV for years when the kids were small.

    I remember sitting down to the TV after not seeing it for about four years. I distinctly remember my thirteen year old nephew right beside me, and I almost had a heart attack. I was mortified! ..I am not a prude, but the difference in what they showed that day versus what they showed only four years back, was astounding! It was like watching an R rated movie.. or what R rated movies used to be.

    I could seriously write an entire book.. heck a whole book series.. on the negative impact and messages upon family values with TV today. :(

    dee

  74. We have gone back and forth with having satellite and not having it and finally have lived without it for 4 yrs now. We have an antennae and Netflix. I do let my kids watch movies and some PBS and I love how there are no commercials. When we go to my parents or on vacation, it’s amazing how my kids start asking for toys like crazy when they watch satellite. Also, my husband and I start getting addicted to certain shows like Bounty Hunter and Ice Road Trucker (don’t ask :) and then we stay up too late. We do have shows we can watch on Netflix but it’s so nice when you can watch an episode in 40 min. instead of and hour with commercials-it’s easier to turn it off. My older kids are in public school until next year so they don’t watch any tv during the week except our Thursday night movie night which is really fun because it’s planned. I notice the more the tv is on, the attitudes go down hill even though the programming is not the issue-it really can suck the life out of you. I eat more junk food and feel lazy if I watch tv all night. I wish we could move the tv out of the living room but having an entertainment center with the doors closed helps a lot.

  75. I really love this post, although I have to admit I almost didn’t click on it because of the title. I initially thought, oh great another post telling me I’m evil because my children watch television. We also live overseas and have limited TV access (but no commercials, woo!). We watch only PBS/Disney DVDs and family friendly movies. (Hubby and I do not watch ANY television at all, not even the news, we read that online.) I’m not sure why it seems to be assumed (not saying that you are assuming this, more of a general statement) that parents who “let” their children watch TV have no control, never do anything else, and don’t have better ways to spend their time. We read, go outside, play, get exercise, AND hang out with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse once a day, too. To us, watching a few preschooler television shows is just one of many, many things we do. Maybe I’m just naive because in our house it never seemed to be a battle: We watch when we’re interested and turn it off when we’re done.

  76. Great points! I find I get so much more done (not just the chores–but the fun stuff) if I can just stop myself from turning the TV on for “just a minute”.

  77. I so wish I could get my husband on board with this. The TV goes on as soon as he gets home and doesn’t go off until he goes to bed.

  78. This is a compelling case for cutting down on television. I almost wish I hadn’t come across it. Just kidding.
    As I am thinking over my viewing habits, I probably listen more than I watch. I am use to the sound in the background and even use it as a sleep aid. Better rethink that.

  79. avatar
    Beth Gillespie says:

    We’ve never had regular TV, only DVD’s and LoveFilm – but I still find that we watch too much TV – for us, it’s not just a case of not having regular programming, it’s also being self-disciplined enough to turn it off! I love a few TV shows, and have them on DVD, but can become guilty of watching 4 or 5 episodes in one evening, and watching a whole series in a week – I always do something else productive, but then it just becomes background noise.
    But I don’t think that throwing it all away is the answer, it’s the continual self-discipline of not wasting my time.

  80. Love, Love, Love your photo choice for ‘quality’ TV – I totally agree!

  81. “Why would I trade watching someone else’s (fake) life for living out my own?” – love that!
    We don’t have a tv and use the computer to watch shows we want. This forces us to choose intentionally and not just have it on by default.
    I did want to point out that I have read scientific evidence that research indicates that the main cause of childhood obesity is actually linked to sleep deprivation, not tv watching. Of course, the amount of tv being watched probably contributes to the lack of sleep so it is still a factor but not the main factor.
    Great post! Enjoy your vacation! :)

  82. Great post. Just yesterday my husband and I were discussing how much we were letting our children off the hook in taking care or chores so they can have a little downtime in the evening (after track practice, homework, etc.) watching TV. We looked at each other and recognized that growing up we didn’t have this luxury. I didn’t watch TV on the weekdays and he didn’t have it barely at all in the rural Caribbean.
    I won’t demonize TV – I enjoy watching the news while discussing it with my husband and kids. And after reading all day for my work as a writer, I enjoy letting my mind shut off in ways as I absorb a good movie or watch a silly comedy (my favorite is old Frazier episodes)
    But I see how we’ve gotten so used to convenience and comfort that we’re losing our toughness, resilience, action-oriented way of being that’s key for thriving and surviving. And TV is partly to blame in this.

  83. We haven’t had any TV service for about 3 years and it’s been fantastic! As you pointed out, there are way too many other things to do than sit down and veg out in front of the TV. Our daughter didn’t watch any TV/movies until she was 2 year old. Now (at 2.5) she watches one or two DVD’s (each about 20 minutes long) per week. But, a lot of times, she’ll tell me part way through that she’s done watching. She is fantastic at using her imagination to keep herself entertained and I love it.

  84. Dear Tsh,

    I noticed this article on your website a few days ago and kept meaning to come back to it and here it is– it is featured! I am thrilled. About ten days ago (see I am counting the days!) my husband and I decided to turn off the TV for our kids. I had intended to allow my two girls to watch minimal TV and yet, as the months and years went by, TV started creeping into our daily lives more and more. And frankly, there were times I relied on it as a distraction. Well, I’m not sure what the turning point was, but one Saturday morning we looked at each other and said, no more TV (for the girls). I spoke to my mom later in the day and she told me to give it a week and after that time I wouldn’t turn back. She was right! The first three days were HARD! (Harder for me than my girls, I am certain I was the most addicted of us all). But by day four, we were reaping rewards. My three year-old was napping again, imaginative play was through the roof! I turned on the classical music and life just settled out. When I told my babysitter about our new decision, she was shocked and I quickly said, “Oh, but my husband and I still watch TV.” Yet, bit by bit, that has changed as well. A few of our shows have wrapped up their seasons in the past week and we will likely not pick up new ones. We now see evening time as valuable and have chosen to read or play a game rather than watch something we don’t truly enjoy. All of this is to say, I am a convert (and I might just delete those General Hospital episodes filling up my DVR)! Thank you for reposting this valuable article. Sincerely, Elizabeth Lane

  85. I grew up watching a lot of TV. I also read a lot. I probably didn’t run around as much as I should’ve, although I do have memories of long, lazy days spent outside …although we often played Little House on the Prairie.

    Although I can honestly say that I didn’t suffer any ill effects from TV, I didn’t want my son watching as much as I had. We have rules for TV that I didn’t have growing up – like no evening TV for him during the school week and only a little TV before school if he gets dressed on time. I’m more relaxed on weekends.

    Despite or because of these rules, or maybe because he has ADHD, I find my son is ADDICTED to TV. The rules haven’t changed, but he WANTS TV all the time. His default is to ask if he can watch TV. He talks about TV lovingly. It’s sooooo frustrating to me that I wish I could just get rid of the TV altogether, but I think my husband would divorce me. I just continue to enforce our guidelines, encourage reading (which is not a fan of despite my very best efforts), and provide alternatives. I do find the boredom thing is a little harder with an only child (and was for me as an only child, too). I can’t always interact with him and, as a child with ADHD, he is pretty needy. I can’t just say, “Go outside” since there’s not a lot to do without a buddy and there are no kids his age (at least that we know from school or elsewhere) close by.

  86. Oh, the “boob tube”… Ugh! Watching the TV is my husband’s relaxation method of choice… Unfortunately! Several months ago, I mentioned how I really wanted us all to watch less and he really hadn’t changed. So, in the spirit of “not nagging”, I’ve just kind of dropped it. However, your post today has reminded me how important it is to me NOT to default to TV for entertainment/relaxation. But, instead of nagging him, I think I’ll lead by example: taking our son outside and inviting him to join us.

    Thank for sharing this “oldie but goodie”.

  87. This is a way of life for us, very little TV, and we love it! I discovered another benefit a few years ago:
    We were on vacation and my husband started feeling badly to the point we needed to go to an ER. Thankfully he was fine in the end but we ended up at the ER for several hours. My kids watched children’s programming the entire time, it was on in the area my husband was being treated. Since my kids were not used to watching TV too much they were glued to the shows, and we endured the long wait rather easily. I got several comments on how great my kids behave.

  88. I really enjoyed this. Our family has been without television for about two years. We have found that we don’t miss the shows, and especially not the commercials. When we want to watch something together with our kids, we pull out a classic movie. They have much more appropriate material, less crude humor, and an entertaining storyline.

  89. I love this post. We’ve just been talking about this in our house this week, and we’re implementing a tv ticket system from here on out. Sad to say, we’re one of those tv-on-by-default houses…even though I hate it. From here on out… :)

  90. I grew up watching lots of TV but when I was in college I simply had not time to fire up the tube so during those 4 years I learned to live without. Now that I am a housewife I do watch some TV but my family has agreed on one TV show that we all like to watch every week night. During the weekends we might watch a movie but we prefer to go to park and play some soccer.

  91. Mu main reason for not watching too much tv is that there’s only rubbish on. It’s just one reality show after another. I’ll stick to watching NCIS once a week and since this show is now on a summer break, I’ll spend more time outside and enjoying the summer! Loving it!

  92. I absolutely cannot stand the messages that the TV inflicts upon me and my family: “don’t you want more, more, more”, “bigger and better”, “you’re not good enough”, etc. along with some shows that are just plain evil (granted, not kids shows although I was shocked to see a vampire show on Disney Channel in the evening when I was in the YMCA lobby waiting for my son in his art class). I won’t even watch the news — I just get the local news headlines emailed to me everyday so that I know briefly what is going on locally. I am personally VERY happy not to be paying for ANY TV reception (dish, cable, etc.) anymore. TV set is in a spare room upstairs because we do allow our video game addict son to play the Wii only one day a week (used to be 7 days a week).

    I grew up with MTV, etc. in the eighties and it totally screwed up my self image and self worth. It’s a fight that I will battle until I die, I imagine. So, as you can imagine, if I could tell those TV exec’s how I feel about them and their filth, it wouldn’t be pretty. I do relish the wonderful sounds in my house that come from my children playing with each other and with their toys and NOT from the TV. Hate me or love me for it but I wear it as a badge of honor that our family does not watch broadcast TV (or even Netflix).

  93. Our television is definitely something we use purposefully, and I couldn’t be happier. For those who say “Oh, that wouldn’t work in my house…” I say “Don’t underestimate the power of kids to adapt.” We have basic guidelines that the kids simply know and understand–one “thing” a day (which includes the choice to use TV for video games.) They are fine with it, and our house is filled with other, happier “noise.”

  94. I have always been more of a reader than a TV watcher. My husband is definitely NOT a reader! We have struggled with how much TV we watch – especially in the evenings after our toddler goes to bed. We are trying to stay more active, but so often once we get our son down for the night we are just fried. Sitting in front of the TV is a habit that just keeps coming back. I do a lot of crafting so I will “listen” to the programs really, while I knit or work on small hand sewing projects. And we are total DVR users. We only watch certain shows, although if we pick a show at random it is usually something about space, science or history from one of the educational channels – we are nerds like that! :) I worry about TV habits for our son. He is turning into a big reader too though. I will often find he has left the living room (with TV on) and gone into his room to “read” his books. Which is awesome! He also stays pretty active when “watching” a show. He plays with toys, runs back and forth across the house, climbs over the furniture – he doesn’t stay still long when watching shows. And I pre-record certain ones that he likes – Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are great for us right now! And we still watch our Baby Einstein DVDs often. He loves naming all the animals, etc. So I feel less guilty about the TV that helps him learn. We dance to the songs at certain parts, which is fun! :)

  95. I am currently thinking about getting rid of our satellite service. People are amazed that there is no TV in the living room. My husband doesn’t want to because he enjoys watching soccer and the Tour de France and he can’t get those on the computer.

  96. Thanks for sharing this type of important matter.I like to watch tv but in leisure.

  97. I try to make sure the TV is turned off by a certain time each morning and then it doesn’t get turned on again until the evening news. But lately I’ve really been slacking off and the TV seems like it’s on all the time!

  98. How do you know what’s going on in the world? Or does that matter? School closings are announced on TV locally, so how do you get that info? Weather info is useful when picking out clothes for the day. I’m open to less TV, but it seems when I leave it off, I miss something useful to me.

  99. We watch very limited amounts of T.V. My three year old gets to watch one show a day (about 30 minutes) that we get on video from the library. My husband and I have our shows we watch but I wait until the DVDs go on sale at Target or I buy them used from Amazon. Other than that we watch Wheel Of Fortune as a family in the evening but as my three year old is constantly pointing to the screen and shouting out the letters I can’t see how that’s such a bad thing…

  100. But it’s not on by default, and it’s definitely not our main method of entertainment. For the past three years living overseas, we haven’t received a TV signal, so our television set was reserved solely for watching DVDs.

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