We recognized our children were Television Tyrants when we would walk in the house and one of them would automatically turn the television on.
It wasn’t necessarily that someone was “watching” it, but it had to be “on”.
It was on through dinner, causing heads to turn from the table and food to hit the floor.
They’d barter bedtime with “on the next commercial” or “after this show”. It was out of control.
So we started a project.
No TV for one week.
The first day was absolutely a nightmare.
The children screamed.
They couldn’t “function” without the television.
It was too cold to venture outside so they had to rely on, dare I say it…”imagination”.
There were endless cries of “I’m BORED!”
I was standing on the edge of the cliff, prepared to jump by the end of Day One.
By Day Two there were still withdrawals, but dinner time was a time of the conversation.
We eat dinner as a family, but the conversation, with the television blaring in the background, was less than appealing.
“What happened at school today?” had been a response of “nothing”…now, Day Two without television suddenly had us talking about the adventures of monkey bars, the lunch menu and what so-and-so wore today.
On Day Three, we introduced Family Game Night.
It was a hit!
We played “Littlest Pet Shop” Go Fish! Cardgame and the children thought it was a hoot!
They didn’t look at the TV.
Day Four they were setting the table.
They were asking their Dad if he was almost ready for dinner.
They were challenging each other in the upcoming Family Game Night Challenges.
The children were chatterboxes around the table.
Everyone was eager to share their day.
It was a joyous meal and my husband and I were seeing our children suddenly as these mini-adults who were as opinionated as us!
As we ended the Fifth Day of our project we paused to enjoy the quiet, calming atmosphere.
My husband and I were getting along much better.
The children were more well-behaved.
We were a family engaged in the events and happenings of each other.
The week of NO TV has ended.
We have set some very clear boundaries.
We don’t watch TV while eating.
We continue our family game night–even when we have company is present, they’re invited to join!
We are loving our time together and enjoying what each of us contributes.
We don’t need “background noise”…we have enough noise in the foreground!
We realize this.
I can’t argue that TV doesn’t entertain us.
I love True Blood.
I enjoy The Office.
I guffaw at Two and a Half Men.
I enjoy watching iCarly with my children and listening to them “crush” over the Jonas Brothers.
What I can argue, now even more passionately, is that television is a crutch.
It divides a family and separates us as individuals.
It weakens our soul and leaves us empty.
I’m not saying we have given up television.
We still plop on the couch and immerse ourselves in it.
It’s just in moderation.
It’s after dinner, after Family Game Time and occasionally it’s a reward system throughout the day.
The kicking and screaming and all those complaints when the television was a small price to pay for the reunion of my family.
Turning the television off is something every family should do for at least one week.
Who knows, you might just discover you really like the people with whom you live!