How We Live

TV Free in 2019?!

TV Free in 2019?!

There is a big black box missing from this picture and I think that is fabulous.

Background Story

I grew up in your very typical mid-western American home. The TV was on 24/7, hotdogs were usually on the lunch menu, and all six kids would fight over the remote control when Oprah had finished her 9am show. TV was like a gift from the gods and we all wanted our share.

The love of TV followed me, as well as all of my friends, into the teen years. I remember skipping get-togethers and school meetings to make sure I was home in time for Dawson’s Creek and Friends episodes. I would sneak downstairs at midnight when everyone was asleep and binge watch the most ridiculous things on the tube just out of boredom and I would wake up to the next NOW CD being advertised all over the screen. Yawn…guess I better get my butt back to bed.

I realised that I needed to kick the TV to the curb pretty early on in my life and I did it without a problem. I simply swapped Netflix binge’s with hikes or bike rides and eventually forgot about the thing all together. That is until this year…

The attack of the 40 Inch Tube

So let’s back it up to July 2018: I decided to go against my life rule of “No TV” and purchase Martin a large and expensive one for his 32nd birthday. My gut told me no, my brain told me no….but I just felt so bad for the guy who had to watch his hockey and football games on his little phone screen. 

It started off great. The TV was placed out of sight of the children and it was only turned on after they were sound asleep. We would snuggle up in bed and watch old reruns of friends or that 70s show.

Slowly one episode every other night turned into once a night….then two episodes a night…and then it just went crazy to where we were binge watching a show that I watched when I was 16 years old. Yikes. 

TV does that sometimes hm? Just sneaks up on you.

One minute you are “just going to watch one show” and the next thing you know you haven’t left the couch or bed in 5 hours except to relieve yourself. 

We started moving in September and we got a nice break from the black hole (I do hope you all know that I am laughing while writing all of this). We talked about it and decided that the TV needed to stay far away from our bedroom. It was not only turning us into insomniacs, but it was killing our intimacy and conversations! 

We placed the big guy into the family room of our new home and it was kept off for quite some time. I never thought about it, Martin would choose to nap vs watch anything on the tube, and the boys didn’t really have any experience with it other than at grandma’s house in America. 

Then it all changed *Cue the horror music*

One day the boys had a horrible case of crankiness after a nap and Martin and I were just out of our minds. We decided to turn on the TV to calm them down with some Daniel Tiger. They took to the show right away and smiles showed up instantly on their faces. 

“Wow.” We both said. It was nice.

A couple of days later the same thing happened but this time we didn’t talk about it. Martin went straight to the TV and turned it on. Daniel Tiger again for the win. The boys sat with us and we watched it together for about 20 minutes before everything was calm and we went about our day. 

Little by little….that little sucker kept finding way to clock in. 

Zombie mode at Level 100 with Grandpa passed out

The boys were super cranky: TV?

The boys were fighting and screaming: TV?

The boys were upset about something: TV?

I have to take this call really quick: TV?

Oh wait….but it’s so nice and quiet now: More TV?

In just under one month I realised that the boys were watching upwards to 2 hours of TV a day spread out over the course of 12 hours.

How did this happen?!

It reached a point where the boys began crying for the TV. They knew what made us turn it on and began their charades early on in the day. I caught on pretty quick (thankful it didn’t get totally out of hand) and decided that enough was enough. 

We woke up yesterday and the boys did not run to the window or to their trains like normal. They both ran to the TV and cried. ….

Nope. Bye Felicia.

I asked them for their hands and escorted them to the kitchen where I made them a green smoothie. While they were sipping and giggling, I walked to the family room, unplugged the TV, wrapped it in a blanket and placed it in the back storage room. 

I replaced the TV with wooden blocks and we went about our day as usual, except this time when they cried, I sat with them. When they fought, I problem solved with them. When they were upset and out of their minds, I got them bundled up and we went to the park. 

In less than 24 hours I noticed: My house is messier, my children have much more energy, I have much more energy, I am more active as a parent, My children are using their words more, and getting out of the house is easier. 

Zombie kids were fun for a few days

Zombie kids were fun for a few days ( my house was much cleaner and quiet I admit) but I much prefer the natural wildness and creative imagination of my children sans black tube.

Wild and Free Baby

The 24 Hour Update

I decided to post this with a full 24 hours of TV freedom under our belt and for good reason….it was easier and also harder than I had thought! The boys have not yet noticed that the TV is gone BUT they do know that something is not quite right. Their concentration is taken a pretty big hit but I do believe that it will be back to normal in a few days or weeks without the constant distraction of a cute little tiger and his annoyingly repetitive songs (it really is a great show though haha!).

Crankiness what as an all time high

I decided to keep the boys out of the house today as much as possible and it worked like a charm. I recommend this if you want to go TV free and have children who are a bit addicted. Keep them outside in the fresh air and let them run wild.

I am excited to have my home back the way I like it;  full of books, wild and chaotic children, and classical music playing throughout. I do not think we will ever go back to having the TV in our home and I am thankful for coming to that conclusion again.

Remember: do what works for your family.

If you find that an item in your home is really causing some trouble (low intimacy, lack of conversation, binging, zombie mode, etc) then try to limit it or go all in like us and chuck it! You can try a few days and then maybe a week and who knows….you may dig it. I know many families who love their TV and it makes them happy but they found that iPads and phones were the issue. You do what works for you!

All my love (and laughs),


  • Miriam
    January 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Great post! 🙂 We do have a TV, but usually our children (7, 5, 1.5) are only allowed to watch TV on sundays.. and then for about 2-3 hours.. on thursdays I’m working and my husband takes care of them, mostly they are allowed to play playstation for approx. 1.5hrs.. on the other days the TV is off the whole day.
    We do however experience a similar problem right now during school holidays.. I let them watch TV more often, like every other day, but I feel it makes them more aggressive and they have less ideas what they could play afterwards… just hanging around, whining, fighting, …
    Tonight before they went to bed I told them that we get back to the normal routine and today was the last exception. The next time they can watch TV will be on sunday…
    and just after saying so and bringing them to bed, I saw your post.. 😉
    Best regards from Switzerland, Miriam

    • Danielle
      January 2, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      I love hearing how this works with other families, thank you for sharing Miriam! I think the Sunday idea is brilliant and something that we should have taken into consideration early on. I think the biggest issue was my immediate distaste with the TV just entering our home in the first place and failing to come up with a plan! If I could go back in time I would do something like you have said. I also found the boys getting much more aggressive with the increased TV time….or maybe it’s just screen time in general? It’s hard to say really. When the TV was on, the adults in the room would also whip out their phones because it was “relax time” which seems a bit toxic as well. Oh the days we live in hmm?? Haha!

Follow Us