Tell me about your transition - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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We are going tv freeish (local channels for the occasional show, news, etc. and a few random dvds) in roughly a week. DH is finally on board. My kids mostly watch a few cartoons when they first wake up and a show or two later in the day - more than I am comfortable with though. DH watched a TON of tv and I am SO SO excited that he is willing to try this.

What I would like to hear though is how your transition went to tv free or freeish, especially if your family was more mainstream in viewing habits.

What do you like best? Do you miss much? How did your family dynamic change? How did your kids react? Stuff like that....
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#2 of 11 Old 06-18-2010, 01:16 AM
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I'm no help. We went from less to *more* when my mom moved in with us. There was a point I was totally ready to try it out when we only had a few channels
DH wants to move it out of the livingroom and I have opposed it. In part because for the last several years, there's been a baby in our bed sleeping, and almost the only time I watch something I choose is at night after everyone's in bed.

The only thing that's at all TV-free-ish about our home is owning a DVR and the fact that I watch my shows--anything I feel has content I wouldn't want the kids to see--when they are in bed. (And that includes a LOT since I include any show with typical mainstream birth scenes in that category.)

Oh and they watch almost no commercials geared at children. I don't allow Cartoon Network, rarely regular Nickelodeon. They watch Nick Jr. commercial free channel, DVD's and on-demand shows on the DVR for the most part. (I wish highly I'd blocked the 'commercial channels' entirely. I think I may start.)

I *would* like to reduce the amount of time the TV is on in the livingroom and the content. For example, my mom thinks absolutely nothing of switching on certain "trash" talk shows, Law and Order, or the Young and the Restless in front of the kids. *I* DVR literally any show that typically shows sex scenes (or pretty-much-everything-but scenes--Grey's Anatomy is an example) and/or discussions on topics I wouldn't discuss in front of them.

I do NOT want to have discussions with my kid answering questions they come up with because they saw something on some stupid TV show they should not have seen anyway.

but...well if you knew my mother you'd understand why this conversation is easier talked about here than had in real life. I might ask DH to help.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10
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#3 of 11 Old 06-18-2010, 02:26 AM
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We're probably considered TV-free-ish. I am TV-free and DD is TV-free. DH is not, but his viewing habits don't interfere with either of us. He has a handful of shows he watches and that's about it. I used to watch LOST, but that's over now. I am sometimes in the same room as DH when he watches his shows and I have seen a few here and there by choice.

We own two TVs (living room and family office) and use them more for our Wii and movies and home movie editing than we do for regular TV programming. We just have basic cable, which is a limited number of channels for $14/month. We don't even have Netflix or any other movie subscription.

The transition...hmmmm... Well, first of all, DD never really has watched TV. I never watched TV during day and we just never got into the habit of her watching kids shows. We would have Friends on once in awhile (syndicated) when she was young before dinner. She was way too young to understand anything besides Mommy and Daddy are laughing. We eat dinner in our kitchen (only place for a table in our small house) and there is no TV in line of sight. I did have a few Baby Einstein videos and would remember to put them in once in awhile and a few other random kids videos. This wasn't even as much as once a week, though. The joke in our playgroup was any time I hosted an indoor playdate (rare, but occurred enough for it to become a joke amongst us), I would have to call my DH at work in order to get the movie playing on the TV. I'm pretty good with mechanical things and computer programs and such, but it just shows how rarely I turned on the TV and VCR or DVD player together. The sequence of buttons to push on which remotes just never became second nature.

The transition for me is interesting, I suppose. I grew up in a house with one TV and it wasn't on all the time. None of us kids were allowed to watch TV unless our homework was done. My dad's story and mine don't mesh, but it is clear that TV wasn't a priority for me no matter which story is told. I spent my summers visiting my mother and grandparents. My mom's husband was transferred to Puerto Rico and I was far more interested in the beach and rainforest and neighborhood kids and pools, etc to be bothered with TV programs and movies with subtitles. I did watch a TON of TV at my grandparents, though. Kind of weird when I think about it. I watched reruns and cartoons and movies. We were outside most of the day, so I guess it was at night but I don't actually remember.

Anyway, as a young adult, I had a variety roommates who all watched a ton of TV and I got sucked in. At one point, I would literally watch three straight hours every afternoon on ABC (daytime soaps) and then all the night-time shows of the time. I was in college full-time and worked part-time to full-time and was an honor student and did well in my jobs. I have no idea how! I'd say my TV watching was really high for about a dozen years. I have no idea what made me slowly cut it back or even if it was slow. By the time DH & I met and got married and lived in one house, my TV watching was mostly HGTV and a few popular evening shows...a little less than average, but high for me.

When DD was born, I was working part-time and we were fixing up our house slowly and I liked doing crafts, etc. After the adjustment to parenthood, I remember thinking something has to give in order for me to manage everything I want to do and have to do and so forth. I was so overwhelmed by everything. I found some structure to be beneficial, as long as it was flexible, if that makes any sense. So, I proposed a plan to DH with various things spread out over the week for a loose structure. DH is pretty easy-going and went along with the plan for the most part. I discussed the priorities with him and included him in the process. Slowly, the focus shifted for me away from TV and towards all the other things I wanted to do with my life.

By default, DH's TV habits also lessened a bit. He was never as high as I was, I don't think. He has no problem watching a show at 8 pm, then turning off the TV at 9 pm when it is over and then turning it back on at 10 pm for a second show. He might not have done that before our reduction in TV, but it is easy for him. By contrast, I would either watch straight through for three hours (in the past) or simply forget altogether and never turn on the TV in the first place (now).

In short, it was a shift in priorities for me and it went pretty smoothly once I made up my mind to do it. No real challenges or backslides. I just gradually filled my time with activities that were of greater interest. DD was the perfect age for all this to be seamless. She doesn't know any different and has access to TV in other situations and just doesn't have much (any?) interest. She doesn't really LIKE movies much, either. She enjoys a few here and there and we don't restrict her movies or TV. She doesn't even really know a single TV show for kids. She's probably heard of a handful from her friends, but has thus far shown zero interest in watching any. When push comes to shove, I don't really care if she begins watching a little TV now and then. She is 9 years old and has a good sense of right and wrong and very low tolerance for marketing hype, etc, so I feel my main job is done. Content would still be a concern, of course, but her own judgement thus far is appropriate.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#4 of 11 Old 06-18-2010, 02:39 AM
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We were TV-free for a year - meaning there was no TV set up, but we did watch some shows on the computer via the internet and DVD's at times. I don't think the kids really missed it, b/c at the time we had just moved out of state and started a new life (so to speak). They went from living in an apartment on w/a small balcony to having a 2 story, 5-bed big house on 1/2 an acre. Sooo, my kids seemed content with playing, and all the adventures of exploring our new area/home. That was pretty much the transition - I think it was just good timing.

Anyhow, now we have had a TV for a year - but we only have one in the family room with a couple local channels (not even PBS anymore, which makes me sad, TBH) and we don't have a DVD player set up so the only way they can watch kid shows is via netflix.

Either scenario, they enjoy reading, writing, playing make-believe, building forts, destroying the living areas - LOL, art, music, etc. I don't have a problem with them watching too much, in fact I don't belong on this sub-forum b/c I am known to say to one of my four kids when they are driving me nuts, "puleeeese, would you go put on a movie?!" (on netflix) b/c they are go-go-go and I wish they would sit down and chill for a bit to give me some peace and quiet.

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#5 of 11 Old 06-19-2010, 10:17 AM
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You asked what you like best? How has life changed?

I was just thinking about this. For me I don't even think about TV like I once did. I don't just walk into the house and turn it on. I don't think about what is on tonight. OR what did I miss Or I have to be home to watch...

My life is slower more relaxed. That is for me the best thing.

I do let my sons watch the Muppet show and the Old School Seseam St. And mabe a movie here and there. But that is it. Day go by without even thinking about TV.
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#6 of 11 Old 07-05-2010, 04:52 PM
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We have been TV free for almost a month. But that was after not turning it on for almost 6 months. I was getting tired of seeing it gathering dust in the living room and gave it to the cleaning lady at work. I was just too busy playing on the floor with my DD, I had no time for TV. Since she is so young 18 mo, I am glad she won't be growing up with it. I also convinced her caregiver to be almost TV free, so she spend a lot of time at free play there too. I let her play on the "comfy" computer game, but other than that she gets no screen time. I don't miss it at all, I prefer the net, but there are a lot of channels to be watched on-line. Sometimes I watch a documentary or the news. Life is too short, make your stimulation meaningful.
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#7 of 11 Old 07-05-2010, 07:10 PM
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We were forced to go tv-freeish just over a week ago when my 4yo smashed our nice expensive tv. We have one in the master bedroom still, and the kids watch shows and movies on the computer sometimes (will depend on how hot it is outside daily, we're going into a few days of temps in the upper 90's and higher so there won't be much outside time here). The transition was pretty good so far for us, the kids are still whining that they want to watch tv in our room (not happening, sorry) but we are holding firm on this for now until the new season of Hannah Montana starts (we'll let them pile on our bed to watch the new episodes, hey I admit I like that show sadly)

But we went from tv on nonstop and watching hours a day to literally zero, completely cold turkey. It was not fun the first few days, but the kids are fine with it now I think. We're talking about replacing the tv next year maybe, we'll see if that happens though. It is really nice not hearing the tv on all the time..................

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Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, Jordan 9/07, PJ 2/12, and Nate 5/14
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#8 of 11 Old 07-07-2010, 07:12 PM
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I went cold turkey. It was easier because i'm a single mom and DS was only 6 months when i did it. So no one had a say but me I just got rid of cable (which saved me almost $100 a month!) then after 3 years of having a big tv sitting in the living room with no reception, i finally gave the tv away on craigslist. Got tired of it taking up space and collecting dust. I highly recommend cold turkey (it's only hard the first month)

Attachment-Parenting mom to darling DS : (January 2006). : : : : :
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#9 of 11 Old 07-14-2010, 07:02 PM
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We're now "TV free." I had no idea there was a forum for this. We cancelled our satellite about two months ago, and don't get any local channels. We do, however, have a 60" plasma sitting in our living room

We went cold turkey. And we went from having all the premium channels and DVR to just nothin'. I really like it! There were a few days where the kids forgot we cancelled it, and it took the 3 year old a little while to understand that it wasn't something broken that we were now going to fix.

And it's been good! We listen to music a lot now. I read a LOT more. DS1 has always been a big reader, but even moreso now. DS2 is also getting really good at sitting down with books and just flipping through them.

I would like to say I've been more productive, but it hasn't been the case. That part hasn't really changed. I'm working on it.
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#10 of 11 Old 01-28-2011, 05:50 PM
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I am totally new to this...


I grew up in a family where the tv was always on. I remember being ignored as a kid and my parents always wanting me to get them stuff because they were in front of the tv. I had one girl in my elementary school who was in a tv-free family and none of us knew exactly what they did at home...


We have a tv and it had been on quite a bit since it was freaking me out to be here without any noise. However, I noticed how DD is behaving and I don't think it sits well with her. So, the tv has been off for two days. I have to say that it is pretty peaceful. Bad timing on my part since DH got sick yesterday, so he hasn't been super involved - mostly sleeping. We played games, did puzzles, read lots of books, made towers out of blocks, coloured, and went to the grocery store.


I do find that she is going to bed earlier, last night she slept better (but I only have one night to compare that to, so don't hold me to it), and I am actually doing more around the house to clean up since I don't have the excuse that I just want to sit and relax. I did take some time yesterday to read some of my own books, which was nice.


I simply told DH that I thought it wasn't agreeing with her and I'd like to keep it off. He did turn it on yesterday for himself (and stayed up an extra 2 hours because of it...he gets hooked). I was reading at the time and found the noise distracting. So interesting how things change.

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#11 of 11 Old 02-16-2011, 09:56 AM
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We've been TV free for about two months now.   DS (6) had a tantrum and threw the remote onto the floor and it broke into pieces.   We fixed it, but told the kids it was permanently broken.   Voila!   Easy way to make a transition I'd been wanting for awhile.   DH only wants TV during football season, and has managed to see the games on the internet but it's not ideal.   I like to watch HGTV while I fold clothes in the evening.   Because my son goes to sleep so late, I don't get to watch much at all so I think the biggest negative of no TV is that the laundry piles up.  


We plan to drop cable, get an antenna in the attic, run local TV and netflix through the computer and severely limit access for the kids.  We hope to have a family movie night every weekend, and also watch movies ourselves after the kids are in bed.   I got DH on board with dropping TV by agreeing to "let" him get a new computer he's been wanting - he was thinking at some point we'd reveal that the remote was indeed working.   If it weren't for him, I would have completely dropped TV a long time ago. 


We do own children's DVDs and rent others regularly but keep them very tame.  We finally bought Totoro because they love that and could watch it every day if I'd let them.  I like to have something they like handy in case they're having a hard time getting along after school, or if someone is sick.   We've been sick a lot this winter and that has been the hardest part about no TV.   


They play so much better now, and didn't even ask about TV after the first couple of days.   Woo hoo!

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