Nearly a month ago, our TV died and we took the #NoniTribe on our TV-less journey in our Life Without TV series. It’s now been 4 weeks without the old chap, and we’re pretty confident that he won’t be making a comeback in our household. Could it be that living without TV is the new black?
To be fair, we haven’t been under our typical set of circumstances, as we’ve been immersed in a pretty sweet trip to Puerto Rico for the past 2 and a half weeks. Although I’ve been hard at work on weekdays (preserving some parts of our routine), my in-laws always go above and beyond whenever we’re here, making it hard to find time to watch TV. Between the feasts at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or the family day trips, the beach, the grandma-and-baby shopping dates, the movies, and the general coddling and pampering that we endure here… It’s truly horrible.
Regardless, there have been some moments of normality, which we’ve tried our hardest not to fill with electronics (and had to put our foot down with grandma and grandpa). Amidst the craziness, here are more recent discoveries and parenting triumphs:
My tiny queen of the outdoors is now the queen of the chickens and the mangoes:
During our second week without TV, my 2yo daughter discovered her passion for the outdoors. During weeks 3 and 4, while at grandma’s, she’s deepened that love for outside play with her burgeoning love for chickens… and tropical fruit. She has become utterly obsessed with their dog, has developed impressive bubble-popping techniques and is now a semi-pro mango juggler. I really don’t think grandpa was expecting this much outdoor play, but I’m so glad it’s happened. Why is this important? Because my kid was the biggest (albeit cutest) scaredy cat in history. Now she’s a fearless backyard warrior who no longer fears getting eaten by the dog. Meanwhile, our son has finally stopped asking grandpa for electronics and spent hours yesterday perfecting his soccer shots (on the pavement! This kid’s got heart). The takeaway: Parents who want to raise self-reliant individuals should unplug their little zombies and let them get their hands dirty.
Board games are awesome!
Board games are one of the best ways to connect, laugh… and trash-talk to your kids. Boom, baby, yeah! Ok, maybe that’s not such a great idea, but it still provides a good hour of fun. My son just discovered Scrabble and the nerd in him is shining through. I am so proud. If you – like us – are a homeschooling parent who can’t seem to turn off the teacher inside, try games with math and languages. If you are a normal person who only wants to provide wholesome fun for your kids, break out that Twister, my friend, and get ready for the fart wars.
The attention monster has awakened:
When TV becomes the go-to mechanism to fill that void between dinner and bedtime, and it’s suddenly no longer there, one really gains perspective about the quality time spent with your spouse and kids. In my case, living without TV has manifested in an incessant need of my husband doing NOTHING ELSE but paying attention to me once the kids are in bed. Is it healthy? No. Do I care? No. Is it worth it? Heck yeah.
Of course, everyone will find their own rhythm, and – as I wrote in a cool new post this week – time is a wonderful commodity that can be filled with leisure, with purpose or with waste. The choice is completely yours. Now that the attention-sucking TV set is gone, will you become an attention hogger like me (whatever, don’t judge) or will you make a conscious effort to cater to the needs of those around you and bond in new ways?
Some of us are slaves to our TV sets:
In our previous post, I posed the question “With enough focus, kids can get over year-long habits; but can the parents?” This rang truer than ever with my in-laws. They were great helping us unplug the kids, but we couldn’t get them to unplug themselves from the TV set once the kids were down. Sure enough, we bonded watching a riveting rugby match, but it begs the question: Why don’t we take it a bit further than just modeling our (grand)kids’ behavior? Why don’t we put those extra hours to better use? The short answer: Option A is that it takes a lot more discipline and focus (especially after hours playing with high-energy kids) or Option B, it’s my personal choice to watch TV and it’s my right. Again, whatever floats your boat. Still, I have now seen the benefits of kickin’ it old school and ditching the boob tube and can’t advise otherwise.
Can we endure life without TV?
Yup. Turns out that by living without TV no one has deprived us of a vital organ. Plus, there are plenty of other TV sets in the world. My family will live to see another screen, especially since we can’t escape them. Still, we strongly encourage you to try ‘misplacing the remote’ or ‘inexplicably losing the wi-fi password to login into your Netflix’ for a week and see what happens. I’d love to know how your experiment turns out.
about the author
Coral is an editor, marketing professional and homeschooling mom who lives her life in Spanglish. She is the co-creator of Noni (and Noni’s mom). This art lover, coffee addict, and rookie cellist is originally from Puerto Rico and is currently based in Austin, Texas. Drop her a line: firstname.lastname@example.org