I remember meeting a Lady at ‘Rhyme Time’ at our local Library back in Oz. She was really lovely and friendly (although I did think she was a little odd because she had a baby who slept so much so that she found it annoying??As a Mother of a ‘no more than forty minutes at a time’ baby this baffled me). Whilst we were chatting she mentioned they didn’t have a Television. My reaction was i) well thats a bit weird, ii) I bet she and their kids are really intellectual iii) what do they do all day? As the Mother of a perpetually feeding, non sleeping infant, I spent the hours I wasn’t pacing the house, glued to whatever was on TV, usually stuck on a channel because the remote was beyond my reach.
Fast forward to a year later, having arrived in England three months before our possessions, we were without our (previously beloved) TV. Then once it did arrive, I didn’t want to spoil the newly plastered walls with a flat screen, and wasn’t sure where to put it. As time passed we realised we really didn’t miss it. Having had five years off English TV (living in Australia), I was out the loop with most of the shows I would’ve enjoyed in the past (although I did catch up on about four years worth of First Dates online when we first got home). And once we had Wifi there was always Netflix. I could see the benefit to my Daughter of not watching TV (more here), so there seemed no reason to reintroduce it to our lives.
Lots of people seem quite baffled by our choice. I’m often asked when friends & family visit; ‘but what do you do?’ And the little girls next door enquire every time I see them; ‘have you got a TV yet?’.
Five Reasons I love not having a TV:
- I can have some input into what my Daughter watches-I realise she is still young, and once she is older I won’t have so much influence. But right now, at just two, I don’t really want her subjected to an onslaught of Ads, extreme gender stereotypes, or horrendously whingy character (naming no names Peppa Pig!)
- It’s really encouraged me to source entertainment elsewhere. I am now a Podcast addict, and there are so many amazing (and free) ones out there. I often felt as a SAHM my brain was turning to mush and at time I was really under stimulated intellectually (sorry bebe, you are still a child genius in my eyes). Here are a few of my favourite Podcasts if you’re interested.
- Our Sitting Room looks so much better for it. There’s no such things as a pretty TV, and our old one was ENORMOUS (the perils of marrying a sports mad Australian). I like that our room isn’t orientated to stare at the box anymore, and now there are so many toys, to be honest I can’t see where it would even fit!
- It encourages us to get up, get outside, play with our Daughter. The IPad certainly still buys me time on occasion, but knowing what we were like in the past, we certainly would’ve got drawn into staying indoors snuggled up watching TV this Winter. Instead we have enjoyed exploring so much.
- I can still waste time with the best of them, scrolling online, but I used to find, especially in the evenings when I was exhausted, my Husband and I would just sit in collapsed silent lumps in front of whatever the hell was on TV, starring vacantly.
- I can be more intentional about what I watch and read. I now seek out things which interest me, and I actively avoid things which don’t align with my values, or that make me feel anxious. I do think that a diet of reality TV shows, biased News programs, and frankly offensive right wing talks shows did nothing for my mental state. And the barrage of Ads probably impacted me just as much as it did my Daughter.
Three Reasons maybe we should buy one:
- I am forever being asked-did you watch that? Did you see this? For the most part it doesn’t phase me, I don’t mind that I don’t know which series of Big Brother we are on, or didn’t catch the latest scaremongering segment on the News. But I do miss some of the great dramas that are on. The brilliant thing is they’re usually available on catch up online. Am I the only person with a TV license and no TV?
- We spend far more time online and on social media now. This is good and bad. I possibly wouldn’t have begun Blogging if we had a TV, and I am enjoying the experience so much. But on the flip side; is sitting scrolling through our respective instagram feeds possibly more antisocial than sitting in silence on the sofa watching the same TV program? I think we need some more boundaries around screen time for sure.
- The nature of the IPad has pros and cons-I like that I can hide it away, which often functions as out of sight out of mind for my Daughter, but the downside is she knows she can access shows on demand and can start yelling names of episodes. I also find she sits about 12 inches from the screen, and the light is so strong, so I really try and limit screen exposure, especially around bed and nap times. And some shows run one after another, so instead of getting up once her show is over, she will just watch and watch.
So there’s a little insight into our lives without TV. I never wouldn’t thought we would be a TV free Household, but for now (nearly a year in), we love it. I would really like to hear if you’re a TV free household, and why maybe we need one after all!