I think the easiest way to become TV free is to not have a TV in the home in the first place, and if you have cable TV, stop paying for that service. But if you're hooked and you own a TV and you still pay for cable TV (or satellite TV), or you've been in that situation in the past, how did you and your family change? Please share your helpful tips with others who may be struggling and would like to watch less or none at all. Thanks!
Becoming TV Free
I think the number one tip I have is to not be afraid...
Because, really, you just have to take the plunge & toss the TV (though cutting cable is a good first step for those who are not ready to toss the TV).
But I think so many people are afraid of silence, of being alone with their child(ren) and/or partner. Or just plain being alone. TV fills an emotional space/void for many people & they have no idea what they would do without it. Someone might be afraid of actually having to engage with their thoughts or their child(ren) or may feel they do not have enough skills/creativity to fill the TV-watching time with productive activity.
(When my dad lost his job I pushed hard for my parents to cut out cable & then TV but they just couldn't do it & kept telling me they didn't know what they would do without it.)
So maybe a tip is to dust off that old guitar or pick up knitting or pick up a book or reserve 15 minutes (then 30, 45, 1 hour...) to converse with your partner. Practice keeping yourself busy & then the "void" of not having a TV isn't so scary. Maybe.
t2009, I agree with you about not being afraid. Fear could just hold you back and not let you make any progress, in this case selling or trashing the TV and being brave enough to do different things to fill the time that TV filled (wasted).
Welcome, CrunchyMama19! I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to your new posts. I've been battling a very slow laptop. I love Mac OS (Apple) but it can be slow depending on how much I'm doing and how much my husband is doing.
Do you have a library card? If not, my understanding is that all you need is a car or good shoes (and maybe a stroller, depending on how young your children are) and some mail with your name on it. A library card is free. I hope to get one this summer for my children and I (we moved to this city a year ago and we still don't have one! Mainly because I had fines on the one in the last city that I had to pay off) and now that I'm driving I look forward to going as often as once a week. If your children are anything like mine, the picture books and other books you check out will need to be stored someplace up high and out of reach when you're not reading them together, so that the covers stay on and the pages stay attached.
We have a big clear plastic container, almost like a bucket, that individually wrapped pretzels used to be stored in that we're now using for crayons. Some of them are broken, some of them are restaurants, and most of them are peeled because my children love to peel the paper off crayons that says what color it is. Anyway, if you have $5 you could probably buy at least two coloring books from a dollar store. (I also recommend these: http://www.miqcenter.com/books/0-chcoloringbks.shtml ) A friend gave us a cabinet with a few shelves on it and we ended up putting our coloring books in there to get them off the dining room windowsill; I put the crayon bucket up on top of the cabinet to hopefully stop the coloring on our rented walls. I don't mind taking the crayons down for polite requests when I'm not busy, and at least one of my four children loves coloring almost daily.
Another necessity, at least for my family, is a fenced-in backyard. If you live in an apartment, I hope you have a park within walking distance or some common area in the apartment complex where your children can play. Or if not, maybe you have a YMCA nearby that you can join. In our backyard we have three soccer balls, a big bouncy ball, a popper ( http://www.toysrus.com/buy/top-rated-update/preschool/fisher-price-corn-popper-72011-2265269 ), a bug catcher with a zipper to put bugs in, and a few other small toys plus a big boat toy that I turn over when it rains so it doesn't collect water (ha ha, I know that sounds silly but the water would be too dirty to play in) and that my children like to sit in when it's sunny or play under when it's turned over. With good shoes, enough clothes to cover up shoulders and backs and upper legs and maybe some sunscreen, the backyard can be a great place to run around and play.
Feel free to add to these suggestions to fill the time left by TV. I sincerely hope this helps!
If you have tv and cable or satellite, stop the service. You'll need an hdtv box. After watching shows with poor reception, you'll probably be ready for watching DVDs that you buy or borrow. Don't get Netflix, or you'll still watch too much. You have to keep it difficult to get new shows to watch.
The other thing is to make it easier to do things you like to do. Enjoy gardening, have an indoor herb garden year round, and an outdoor garden during the summer, if possible. If it's music, have an instrument and music available. I think you get the idea.
We're fortunate that we became TV-free years before our daughter was born. Two things that helped us were getting outside more and reading at the times we used to watch evening TV. It makes for an easier transition to sleep for adults, so I can just imagine how overstimulated children can be from watching an evening program and then having to head to bed with all those images swarming in their heads.
PacificMar, my husband and I stopped watching TV before our firstborn was born, too. We've never had a television in the house except for when we lived with his parents, and we don't live there anymore. My husband doesn't read so much as program and do other work on his computer, and if I were to sit down to read while my children are awake they would most likely come up to me with books they want me to read. (But I love that you and your husband do that!) If it's nice enough outside we go out to the backyard, or take a 15-minute walk around the long windy block across the street. There's usually some clean-up to do in the kitchen sink and on the living room floor and sometimes in bedrooms. Every two or three nights we do baths (more often if necessary) and I allow at least a half hour for that so the boys can have 15 minutes and the girls can have 15 minutes. The last half hour before bedtime is for the Rosary and night prayers, then brushing teeth. I read a book about a Saint to my older son in the boys' room; my older daughter knows how to read more so she reads to herself and sometimes to her little sister in their room.
Thank you for your input, pek64 and PacificMar!