A (possibly misguided) experiment we like to call No TV October

We are trying something new at home this October.

No TV October.

I was really looking for a punchier name, like Screen Free September but that was never going to happen with football finals on, neither was No TV November with cricket ramping up, so just plain and simple No TV October it is.

Why you probably ask? Fair question. That was Mr T’s initial response too.

It’s not that we’re excessive TV watchers, in truth there’s nothing really on that pushes my TV buttons these days. We don’t have it on in the background and there would probably be more nights Mr T and I don’t watch it than we do. What I’m saying is, we don’t have a problem where we need to go cold turkey on TV.

So, why?

It’s more the presence of the TV in the house. All 38 inches of it sitting in the centre of the house looming over everything we do. And at a time when we are constantly looking for more space at home, this thing tends to take up a lot of it.

Plus, we have a great couch – a very comfy couch – one we paid the extra money for but if we are on it, it is facing the TV so the TV is on. This beautiful, comfy couch is almost being lessened by it’s existence to serve the TV.

I watched an episode of Grand Designs once where a woman designed her home with a separate TV room. It was a small room off to the side with a couch and a TV in it and that was it. I loved the idea that the TV didn’t form part of the living area. If you wanted to watch TV you went into a room to specifically do that, the rest of the house was for living and the TV wasn’t a constant presence in the background just egging on that request of ‘Muuuuummmm, can we watch t-veeeeeee?’

So, how are we going two weeks in? Good and bad.

Good bits

We have moved the lounge furniture into the kitchen/dining area which gives the house a more cosy feel. (I didn’t want the kids still sitting on the couch staring at the empty place where the TV once sat forever asking when it was coming back.)

Lots of snuggling with the kids on our really nice couch reading books. We have even got my childhood storybook-records out and listened to them.

I have been doing a lot of reading, just quietly sitting on the couch with only a lamp on. Something I used to do as a teenager but rarely do anymore.

Days with the kids have a definite more relaxed feel. If we are out I’m not busting a gut to get home for lunch and ‘rest time’ (theirs and mine).

We go out more.

As the day winds to a close, rather than putting the TV on and starting to wind down, we have played card games or gone down the park to ride bikes.

Master Mayhem and Miss Logical have played with toys and games that have been sitting forgotten at the bottom of the toy box.

Bad bits

Our house is a lot messier.

Mr T and I are exhausted at the end of the day as the kids are constantly ‘on’.

Audio books are not the same as telly, not for an energetic three-year-old boy anyway. (Master Mayhem kept asking ‘What’s that noise?” I couldn’t get through to him that it was a CD reading him a book and he didn’t need Mum to read it… again.)

I am loving the time snuggled on the couch reading books but if I have to read How Fluffy (the guinea pig of all things) Saves Christmas one more time…

Would we do it again?

At day 14 I would say yes (I’m not sure anyone else in the house would agree with me) but perhaps not annually as I initially thought. I think every two years will be enough to remind us of life without TV.

Perhaps in the future I’d look into not having a TV but still having access to entertainment through a laptop or movies on a projector, that way we could still have the good bits of TV but also the good bits of not having TV.

For now, November 1st is marked on the calendar and will be celebrated with a movie and a rest for us all.

What do you think? Could your family go without TV? Would you even want to try? What would be your setbacks?


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