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Living Without TV

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Living without TV is totally attainable and something that has proven to hold many awesome benefits! For our family, this has been a huge blessing.

It has also helped create an atmosphere of learning in our home. I’m a big Charlotte Mason fan and so, this transition was necessary for us.

Living without tv – what is it really like?

Last summer, I shared a major change in our household. For those of you who missed it, we got rid of our TV and haven’t looked back. 

I was feeling defeated as a mother. I felt a little overwhelmed. Mostly, I was adjusting to life as a mother of three. Two of them were toddlers and I gave birth to our third child in March.

So, I used TV as a crutch. I used it to park my little ones in front of while I took care of my newborn and attempted to complete tasks around the house.

But I was doing more harm than good.

family visiting the horses in the pasture

Even though we didn’t have a cable or TV service, just popping in a wholesome DVD as a distraction was creating a bad experience for my children.

And their development, too.

I made the change and I’ll share what it’s like in our home now that we ditched the TV and most electronics.

My Children Actually Enjoy Doing Chores

Yes, no joke.

My children, despite being very young still, truly enjoy to help with chores. My biggest mistake with using the TV as a distraction was that I wasn’t including them in learning moments.

I was missing out on guiding them in their tasks, molding them, building good characters,  and teaching them important life skills.

Related: How to Motivate Children to do Their Chores

child working on chores and cleaning the floor

Now they are eager to get involved in helping mom in the kitchen. Or helping to gather eggs and feed the animals. And folding clothes is one of their favorite things to do.

They each have their own little tasks to complete.

And sure, it may take me longer to complete each one, but it is building good character and teaching them the importance of responsibility. It’s far from perfect. But definitely a step in the right direction.

It’s Teaching Me Patience

I have the type of personality that is determined to complete goals and getting tasks accomplished. I don’t like to procrastinate.

So, you can only imagine how much of a challenge this has been for me. I am not a calm or patient person by nature. But including my children in tasks has forced me to work on patience. It is teaching me how to let go a little more.

And this is important.

Now that I am taking the time to focus on teaching them more. I’m slowing down in my tasks to guide and develop these precious little ones.

Parenting is hard work. But we truly do have a special opportunity for sanctification. It’s up to us to make the most of it.

And this may be my biggest lesson learned in living without tv.

Our Routines Have Improved

And you know what, this is a real blessing for me. We have regular routines and tasks that need to get accomplished each day. I love and crave structure. Which can be a challenge with small children.

But our routines have improved.

We get up each morning. Have our breakfast together without the annoying distraction of the TV blaring in the background.

My children are excited for their morning prayers and reading time. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve read the same story a hundred times in one day. Because it brings a lot of joy to my children, they are learning, and we are spending time together.

And this is a great preparation for when we begin homeschool lessons.

3 small children on a nature walk

The Importance of Silence

Children need boredom in order to foster a sense of creativity and allow for proper development. When we were constantly distracted by the noise of electronics in our home, our children were behaving like zombies.

And truth be told, I was completely horrified when we had a priest over for dinner one night. After we finished eating, one of my toddlers had an epic meltdown. It was all because I wouldn’t allow her to watch TV.

They were obsessed with the television and it didn’t allow for much silence or calm in our home.

And why is silence important?

Here’s just a few reasons:

  • Allows for better brain development
  • It improves the memory
  • Creates an environment of calm
  • Reduces stress
  • Fosters creativity

And lastly, it helps us to focus on spiritual matters. Around here, I want to teach my children the importance of daily prayer. There was little room for that when we were constantly distracted with electronics.

Have you ever heard that expression, “silence is golden”?

There’s Total Truth in That Old Time Wisdom

If we take the time to think about what life was like back in the day. I mean way back. Back before we were so caught up in distractions and electronics ruled many of our lives.

The children of the Prairie days or those from the Great Depression era, had to get creative with their recreation and playtime.

This is what I want for my children. I want them to enjoy creativity and I want them to have every adventure they can!

Living without Tv Benefits

  1. There’s more calm. Less fighting and bickering between siblings.
  2. We have more focus on things that are important. More time to keep focused on spiritual things and teaching my littles prayer is easier without useless distractions.
  3. My children are becoming more involved in daily tasks and learning new skills. There’s legitimate excitement in daily chores.
  4. And although, we aren’t free of toddler meltdowns. There are definitely fewer opportunities for them to occur.
  5. More reading and genuine interest in story time.
  6. Quiet time is actually a thing now.
  7. Creativity is being developed. Our children are enjoying more free play and independent learning.
  8. More time is spent outdoors. More time to play in the dirt, and play in the sand box, and splash in puddles. Basically, more time to enjoy being a kid!
  9. We have more free time for crafts and structured learning. Wether it’s an art craft or simple coloring, my children are learning something!
  10. There’s a sense of togetherness and bonding. Instead of mom working on cleaning and routine chores alone, I include my children more often.

We are far from perfect and we aren’t free from toddler meltdowns. But we are a work in progress.

And you know what, it’s just so much more peaceful and just a little less chaotic.

Have you tried living without tv…how was your experience?

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  1. This is what I want to do for my boys. We’ve never had television, but they watch way too many DVDs and I’ve been wanting to say goodbye to the tv for good for a few years now. It just seems so hard. I keep thinking I’m going to wait until we buy land and start a farm, but I feel like I’m impairing their ability to learn more now. How did you start? Was it gradual or immediate?

    1. Hi Hannah!
      For us, I went cold turkey. And I’m not gonna lie, it was a challenge at first. But after we found a new rhythm and settled into a good routine, it was worth it. We still have some hard days, but nothing in comparison to what it was like when we had the TV in the home. It’s just so much more calm.

  2. We’ve never had a tv with our kids, but we have a computer that i do use too often to let the kids watch shows in iTunes or pbskids. I’d love to get rid of all screens but i use the internet all the time and now we have three computers to use for homeschooling. We keep them all in the living room together so if someone’s using them or watching something, it’s together and not off in a bedroom. But i do feel we are too dependent on electronic entertainment… I’m thinking of doing a screen free week or even month this summer but i think it might be hardest for my husband and me, more than the kids!

    1. Haha. A screen free week sounds awesome. I know just how challenging it would be to be completely free of electronics since we use the internet and computers for business. Maybe start small with a weekend screen free and see how that goes? I like to do that on occasion around here. It’s so peaceful! 🙂

  3. Not trying to be snarky here but now I need an article on how to raise farm kids without a farm. LOL. We live in a place where even a neighborhood house with a few chickens in the back will never be possible on the income our choice of work supplies. We are so thankful for what we have, but with five boys we’re constantly thinking, “How can we find them work where our landlord even pays to have the yard maintained.” I agree with it, all your encouragement, and it grounds me where I’ve let Netflix become a crutch to getting my work done. Even though we don’t have “TV” or any handheld devices, the kids are plugged-in too much so we can have that bible study without interruptions, or finish that mopping without little feet running through. Well, for goodness sake…I CAN and should teach those feet to wait and those interruptions to wait…. It just involves work! 😉

    1. Hey Amanda! Thanks for reading. 🙂 So, what about household projects for them? Things like helping in the kitchen, learning to bake, etc? One of my friends has 10 children and they rotate kitchen duty–her 10 year old son bakes pizza for the family! My children are very young still, so this is a work in progress and I look up to families like hers. Are you able to set up a small garden where you live? That’s a great chore and learning experience for children. And if not outside, what about indoors or a small herb garden? Or a smaller animal like rabbits? Just some ideas. 🙂

  4. Thank you Mary! I am very convicted that us Catholic homeschooling moms should stand up and start a revolution. We are poisoning our children with electronics. It is an attack on the domestic church! If we all spread the word, like you, then maybe society will catch on! Keep up the great work Mary!

    1. Yes! I really believe that having too many electronics is a huge distraction and takes away from creating a peaceful home life. And just like you say, an attack on the domestic church.
      Thanks for reading, Liz! 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I have never paid for cable, but I do have a tv. I am about to begin building my own tiny house on my family farm; you helped me rethink the importance of the tv. I think I might just skip that step 😀

  6. We don’t have a TV and I always was so happy that our kids would grow up without it. But then when our daughter was born and our son stopped taking naps shortly after his 2nd birthday, somehow we started to show him some videos on Youtube. Just music videos in the beginning and then when we started learning colors we also added some of color learning and counting videos to what he was allowed to watch. He wouldn’t be watching very much in the beginning but then I got pregnant with baby No. 3 and really needed a nap when our daughter would take her nap. Now that I am in my 4th month the tiredness is basically gone and I don’t need a nap anymore. But once I say that I am going to bring my daughter to bed for her nap, my son wants to watch videos. I know that he definitely learns something and he is still great at independent play and getting creative, however I really would like to not have him watch videos. Maybe every once in a while but not every day (or at least every other day). We are going to move to Canada (my husband’s home) eventually and then we will move out into the country and have a little homestead. I can’t wait for that as I think it would solve so much to have the kids playing outside more. I honestly don’t like playgrounds as much and would rather be able to watch them play while I do some garden work. And of course they could help me and I am sure also enjoy it. Posts like this definitely make me sure about that it is the right choice to raise the kids out in the country on a little homestead, even though our son will be 5 years old by time we move.

    1. Sometimes a mama’s gotta do, what a mama’s gotta do, ya know? I’ve been there with my 3, still being pretty young and close in age. But as they are getting older and a little more independent, I feel like this change was majorly needed in our home. 🙂 Good luck with your move and hope it’s a smooth transition for you!

  7. I love this! We have lessened our TV time a lot! My son had become very addicted and we have come down to having “movie fridays” and maybe one or two shows during the week which I would love to cut out. Thanks for the encouragement! It’s great to see the positive impacts it has had for your family! 🙂

  8. Hia, I am wondering how you have managed without tv after the kids are in bed? I have really been close to chucking the tv, but I find it the only thing that helps me unwind. I have been allowing my son to watch dvd’s lately as I deal with sever morning sickness, and I feel very guilty about it. I worry what it is teaching him. I am very strict with what he watches, but still. I have gone from doing a Montessori routine to this and I worry.

    1. Oh, don’t stress too much. Sometimes you need to do these things so you can get through those rough days of motherhood. Morning sickness is a huge challenge! I personally don’t feel a need to watch TV to wind down…and once the children are in bed, I find myself cleaning up the house or other personal projects. Plus, I get some quiet alone time to either say some prayers, read, or enjoy a bubble bath.