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The No TV for a Year Experiment

 Posted by on April 23, 2012
Apr 232012

Does the idea of no TV for a year sound ridiculous or totally plausible and doable?

I’m still undecided on this issue.

Yesterday {on Earth Day of all days}, my husband approached me with the request to give up watching TV for an entire year.  I asked if this included movies {mostly because I haven’t seen The Hunger Games yet}.  He said yes, but we could make an exception for seeing movies at the theater or an exception for The Hunger Games.  I said that I was game for trying the experiment.

We honestly don’t watch that many TV shows – we don’t have cable and have really antennae reception, so we really only get 2 channels.  However, we do have Netflix, and we do have a collections of a few shows on DVD.  Plus, we stream the few shows we do watch from the computer.  I much prefer to watch the TV shows with the limited commercial interruptions on the networks’ websites.

That being said, we decided that TV and movies are taking up too much of our time.  It’s easy to sit down for a “minute” to take a break and watch a “quick” show before moving on to another task or activity.  That quick minute soon becomes a half hour to an hour of wasted time.  Time I could have been spending with my family or doing something productive.

When Aiden was first born, we had the intentions of never allowing him to watch TV or at least severely limiting it.  The studies about what TV watching or screen time in general is doing to our children alarmed us.  We eventually did let him watch a few PBS shows that he enjoys {and I do, too}.  Still, we’ve noticed that he behaves a lot differently when the TV is on than when it is off.  He focuses on the show completely.  He will talk about what is happening on the show with me, so we can still throw in some learning in there, but it was not a good substitute for play or real interactions.

We have recently been working on potty training.  Aiden is doing pretty well.  However, when he is watching TV, he forgets to tell us when he needs to go use the restroom.  That is the only time we have had accidents.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.

Rather than just further limiting our TV watching, we concluded it would be best to eliminate it completely.

There are so many benefits to eliminating TV and minimizing screen time in general.

  • Increased social interaction
  • Increased motivation to do something
  • Increased time for learning, creativity, and play
  • Increased likelihood of physical activity
  • Increased likelihood of going outside
  • Decreased electricity usage
  • Decreased likelihood of a myriad of childhood issues ranging from obesity to attention span.screen free week

For more information about the impact of screen time on children, check out this fact sheet.

Now, we’ve started this experiment for a year.  My husband is actually going to blog about it and track our progress.

You don’t have to join us in eliminating screens forever, but would you consider reducing your screen time?  You can even take part in Screen Free Week which runs April 30 – May 6.  The goal is to “turn off entertainment screen media and turn on life.”

Will our little experiment last for an entire year?  I have no idea, but we’re going to try.

I’ll post updates here every once in a while.  And I always share lots of great activities and ways to play and learn with your children.  Follow along with me on Twitter or Facebook .  You can also subscribe to my posts by e-mail.

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  10 Responses to “The No TV for a Year Experiment”

  1. this is something I want to try, even though we do really limit our TV, compared to how we used to do things. My husband would not be on board for this, I think. Baby steps for us!

    • We’ve been on and off again TV watchers for years. The times without it were so much better. We usually started by eliminating all shows we didn’t really care if we missed. It also helped to be busy in the evening or schedule things with friends.

  2. I’m impressed! We have limited our TV in the past few months. Mainly, I have limited my TV viewing at night, and I have finally gotten back into reading after neglecting it since my daughter’s birth. And I have time to be creative with my blog. Best of luck! I’m curious to see how you life changes.

    • I used to be an avid reader and would read especially before I went to sleep. Somewhere along the line, we started watching TV before we went to sleep instead. I’m excited to start reading again. :)

  3. We have not gone as far as you propose, but we dropped cable. We let our kids watch videos and that is really all the t.v. Sometimes I miss an individual show, but not seriously. We don’t stream or use netflix.

    I was babysat by the t.v. myself, and really like the idea that my kids minds won’t be full of commercials and reruns.
    But if we had to drop internet – that would be tough.

    • I would say that’s pretty good. Do whatever works for you and your family. :) I completely agree with the commercials being horrible. I’m not sure how our little experiment will turn out. We may keep away from TV for good, or we may pick a few things here or there.

  4. Hmmmm… interesting! I don’t know if we could do it. (we’re pretty limited here but completely gone?!?!? I just don’t know).

  5. I could so do it! I think? WEll, maybe for a week or two… lol Good luck!
    Thanks for sharing it with us at tip toe thru tuesday! Hope you’ll stop by and link up tomorrow too, we will be having a nice Mother’s Day giveaway!

  6. I hope the year’s still going well, Trisha. We also haven’t watched TV for a few years now – originally to gain more time in our lives but more recently, since becoming parents, also because of the way we want the home to be for our son for his early years. It’s really no big deal and, after a very short period of time, you don’t give it a second thought and wonder why you ever watched TV in the first place. So give it a shot anyone reading this who fancies trying it.
    My problem now though is the other kind of screen time – the internet. There’s so many child activity blogs out there that are so inspiring. I am trying to set myself a rule though that I can only look at blogs for new inspiration when I have actioned x number of activities myself with my son. That’s my own new screen-time challenge.

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