Thinking about going TV free - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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but I am not entirely sure how to go about doing it. There is no doubt in my mind that my kids watch to much TV and I can't even say I'm surprise, I don't know why I was so naive about all this. I always leave the TV on, and always thought it was more for " background noise " than anything else, they never really sit in front of it and watch it except for the odd movie or show but lately they have been throwing fits if I even try to change the channel..

So I have decided that I wanted to do something about it. I would love to go TV free but I'm not even sure how that would work with a DH that watches every sport available on TV..

I need some advice
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#2 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 01:29 PM
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Can your Dh watch his sports in the bedroom?

When we 1st went TV free I just took it out of the family room, and told the kids we had better things to do then sit in front of that thing

I do not miss it one single bit!

 Waldorf Mom to 8 blessings ~6 by birth and 2 by fost/adopt~
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#3 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 01:35 PM
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We're totally TV free and have been for years. We download any shows or movies we want to watch, and I have a bunch of DVDs for my daughter to watch. That way I can limit it much more easily - I can say "you can watch one DVD" and when it's over, that's it.

Going TV free was an easy decision for us because we rarely watched it anyway. Honestly it drives me crazy to have it on in the background. We never miss out on things we want to watch, but we don't have to sit through commercials. Plus we're saving $60 a month, which was just for our pretty basic package.

If I were you, I'd just take the plunge and cancel it. You can always get it back if you find you miss it too much. But I think once you do it, you'll find you get along great without it and will find lots of other things to do. Kids adapt really quickly too - I'd say in a week they'll forget about it altogether!

I'm Megan , married to Steve, mama to Rowan (11/07) and thrilled to be 03/10!
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#4 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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We haven't gone totally TV free but we do limit how much and when we watch. When ds was first born I watched a lot of TV (something to do while breastfeeding 24/7) but when he got older I decided that I wouldn't watch TV at all during the day as I was wasting too much time.

Could you start with a designated TV free time (i.e. first hour or two after school). Or a designated TV time (this is the only time when we watch TV.

Another thing we started doing is only turning on the TV if there was a particular show we wanted to watch. I don't turn the TV on anymore just searching for something to watch.

It's funny, because ds has never really watched TV, even if we try to get him to watch a kids show (which we did when he was sick and had a high fever) he has no interest in it.

27 yo mother of DS 02/07/09 & DD 11/13/10. 
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#5 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 02:47 PM
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We were TV-Free for a year (have had TV now again for almost a year). For us, it helped that we had just moved, so everything was different anyway, and we came from a 2nd floor apartment to a huge house with 1/2 an acre - so plenty of space for the kids to play outside now that they weren't watching TV. Also, our TV at the time was older, and going out. It made a weird buzzing noise from time to time, we did set it up for a while, but it didn't have an antenna/channels so it never got used and we stuck it in the garage (we did watch the election results outside in the garage that night to see Obama's speech).

Anyway, could your DH watch sports online? Even now, we do have a television set up, but only a couple local channels (we don't even get PBS anymore, which I wish we did but we moved around our family room and there it doesn't come in). My DH streams sports on the computer, or watches them later on, on the internet. Some football games we get, but that's about it.

I've never been one to have the TV for background noise, so I can't relate (it would drive me nutty!) -- but I did notice how much my kids were watching TV before we moved and went TV-free. We had cable that came with our rent, so that was a big part of it... there was always something on they would like to watch w/Disney channel and cartoon network, Nick, etc. Now, like I said, we don't even have PBS - so there really isn't anything my younger 3 like to watch. They do watch movies on the computer via netflix instant play, though, so that may be an option for you.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 05:27 PM
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You know, DD watching TV was one of those things I never really took a stance on, mainly because I didn't know how I felt about it and I felt like I had so many other "strict rules for our parenting" that I didn't want to pile one more thing on top. She was pretty much "kid TV free" for the first 14 months and was occasionally exposed to the TV through my DH watching a game or me catching a cooking show but never direct "here you are going to watch this show now". Then as the weather started to cool down and I needed 15 minutes to do something and DD wasn't entertained by the usual suspects it turned into "here want to watch 15 minutes of Sesame Street" which turned into "Oh let's watch the whole episode of Sesame Street every day" which turned into DD begging to watch "MO" (elmo) ALL DAY LONG! And me desperately trying to get her interested in books, building towers, you know the stuff a 14-18 month old should be doing rather then watching TV.

about 2 weeks ago I said enough, I was sick and tired of hearing DD beg to watch TV, she was obsessed with it, we could barely enjoy anything because between every activity she would ask to watch TV, I would say no and she would cry. So I decided that if it meant she had to throw herself on the floor and cry every time (with me there comforting of course not CIO) then that is what we had to do. The first 3 days were rough. We definately worked through some major fits but it is so much nicer now! She occasionally will ask to watch TV but I just say "no TV" and engage her in a book or something else and she is happy. She has also regained the ability to entertain herself while I do a load of dishes or make a phone call.

We have discovered more fun things to do together and unless it is pouring rain we go to the park every day at least once. I didn't realize how negatively TV was impacting our lives until it was gone. DH still watches a game now and then but that is ok, DD isn't interested in watching those and doesn't care when it gets turned off, as a matter of fact she will go turn the TV off if DH turns it on, LOL.

Jenna in love with my DH Jon, loving our 2.5 year old, Caroline Tulip, and expecting another little one in August!
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#7 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 05:32 PM
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turn on a music channel in stead if it's really just background noise.

I would love to go TV free, especially in bedroom, but there is no chance of that.

Lucky YOU!
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#8 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 05:43 PM
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We're not TV-free but we do have designated TV times. The kids are allowed to watch when they first get up in the morning (which is about 30 min. on workdays, an hour or so on weekends) and then during "rest time" on weekends (which is DS2's nap time so only 4yo DS1 is watching during that time). Rest time can be up to 2 hours, which is still a lot for one stretch, but I figure it's only a couple days a week so I let it slide (they rarely watch TV at daycare).

We also have very limited TV options here - we don't have cable so there's just PBS and Qubo (an all-cartoon network that we happen to get on our local channels). The kids usually end up watching more DVDs than anything else.

The kids are very used to this routine so they don't protest at all when we tell them it's time to turn off the TV.

Not sure if that helps or really answers your question if you're planning to go completely TV-free...although maybe something similar would work well as a transitional option for your family if you're not quite ready to go cold turkey?
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#9 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 06:05 PM
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I dont know if we really count as TV free, since we have a TV? DH and I use our TV for our XBOX, DVDs and it is used as our computer monitor. But there is no 'TV' hooked to it, like cable or satelite, or anything. We cant actually watch TV on it, which is fine with us bc we both hate TV. We have had it this way for years.

Occasionally if there is something I want to watch, I can watch my moms TV (she lives with us) or I can watch something online.

I am actually really very worried about when DS starts getting a little bigger, because my mom is a TV JUNKIE. She has it on everyday no matter what, whenever she is home in her part of the house. So I worry about DS being exposed to that and wanting it more than play, or books, or whatnot. I know there is no way ever my mom would give up TV DH & I try to get her to do other stuff with us, like board games, but she wont do it. Makes me crazy, I dont want my son like that too!!

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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#10 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 06:07 PM
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It's interesting.

We were totally TV free for several years, watching only our personal collection of DVDs from time to time as a treat in the evenings. I intended to be TV free with her as well, but was still considering movies and nature films when she was older....

Then once DD was 19 months old or so, we became quite desperate to give her something that would hold her interest and/or calm her down while we managed to grab some food, make a phone call, etc.

The first time she saw a movie was when we were at my parents' home for my sister's wedding.

She had read the Snow White Little Golden Book about 300 times, and loved it. So, when she was upset about the change of venue, seperation from me while I had photos taken, excitement of the wedding, etc, we put on our old childhood VHS tape of Snow White in the player, and she was AMAZED to see her favourite characters singing and dancing. She was able to calm down and have a nap with DH... it really helped.

We now own pretty much all of the major Disney videos from the Eighties and 1990s.... all of the hand-drawn work. We were careful to have her read and love the books first before introducing the movies, but, she does want them all of the time when we are home.

Now, I grew up watching these movies and I don't regret it, because I find them to be quite well made, the music is good, etc, so it isn't the fact that she watches them that bothers me, but.... I am troubled by how often she asks to see one.

She watches about one show per day, but mostly just watches her favourite parts while playing with her toys the rest of the time.

Most of the time I can redirect her to some music while she plays, but I am wondering if her one show per day is still okay.

She doesn't see "real TV" because we don't have cable.... and I plan on continuing to restrict and manage it.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your struggle!

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#11 of 15 Old 01-13-2010, 11:29 PM
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We went TV free about 3 or 4 months ago. Officially canceled it just about 2 weeks ago. Let me tell ya, life is SO much better. SO SO SO much better! We do still do a DVD as a family ONCE a week. DH and I might do a DVD as a couple one additional time a week.

The kids don't ask for it any more. Their behavior has calmed down TREMENDOUSLY! They play and explore, read books, make up games. It is LOVELY!

Sports? Yeah that was the one and only thing that held us back for so long. In the end, my DH decided family life was more important. He listens to some things on the radio, streams some stuff, that sort of thing. But really, even he agrees life is better without the blasted TV!

We don't miss it a bit!

Now, it has added to the list of weird things Crystal does/doesn't do and has caused talk amongst the family. After all my cousins entertain their less than 1 year olds in the car with the DVD player. But that... is another story!
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#12 of 15 Old 01-14-2010, 12:25 AM
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DH got tired of paying so much money for cable and canceled it about 6 months ago. It was hard for me but then I realized it wasn't doing anything for me. I'm glad we got rid of it and we just got lazy and didn't buy one of those converter boxes so the thing's just collecting dust now and my book collection's grown a lot

There's got to be websites out there (youtube, hulu?). As for those "must see" tv shows, I have my favorites but I just wait the extra day and watch them online or save up and buy them on DVD.

If you need background noise there's always the radio or CD's.

A belly dancing, coffee loving, WoW nerd, first timer, mama!
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#13 of 15 Old 01-14-2010, 01:38 AM
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We don't have cable and we don't pick up any channels, but we do have Netflix, Hulu, and videos. I stole this idea from my sister, TV only on Saturdays. It's very easy because dh and I don't watch it, it's in our basement where we don't hang out as a family, and it's not like we can just turn it on to see what's on.

Don't know if you wanna go that far, but you could try limiting it to certain times.

One other thing, my kids are obsessed with TV. Anywhere we go with TV, they are GLUED to the screen. We just have an old-fashioned 22" TV, too, and it seems like everyone else has flat-screens now, so they are really into it. I don't know if this is a by-product of never watching TV at home, or normal, but it's kind of crazy.

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#14 of 15 Old 01-14-2010, 01:50 AM
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We were TV free (as in: no TV at all) for about a year and I didn't want to replace it. DH finally talked me into it, so now we have it and rarely watch it. I will say that it does come in useful in some situations: when either I or DD is very sick, I use it. But for the most part, we almost never turn it on: we go months without turning it on.

I've found that it takes about 2 weeks to wean from TV. Just be prepared for a difficult 2 weeks. But after that, it gets so much easier. My DD totally forgets about it, I swear, even though it's this giant black thing in the middle of the living room. Sometimes she'll ask to turn it on and I'll say no and she'll totally accept my answer. But those two weeks are rough.

If you need some incentive, there have been a few studies about how TV as background noise affects kids. Some of them are really quite surprising: there was one I read about where kids who are playing in the same room as an on TV play several years below their age level. So, for example, a 7 year old plays in a way that would be expected of a 3 year old, with similar sophistication and attention span. (I can't remember the exact ages, but it was something like that). I don't know how old your kids are, but it can also affect language development to have the TV on as background noise.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#15 of 15 Old 01-14-2010, 11:35 PM
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We haven't had a television since well before our children were born. It's been wonderful. My kids don't miss it and neither does DH. I watch dvds when I work out, but I limit my viewing to when I am on my stationary bike. Two or three times a year DH and I will rent a dvd and watch it. My children watch movies or science shows from time to time--maybe two or so hours a month but sometimes less. They don't bicker less than other children or do their schoolwork with less whining but they do have amazing attention spans and are very,very creative. They are great readers, of course, and healthy as colts.

This is all a long-winded way of saying go for it! It's worth the effort, and you don't go back for trying. You and your child won't miss a thing except a few pop culture references.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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