One year ago our television broke.
We were devastated. Hubby and I thought to ourselves ‘How are we ever going to survive this?‘
Admittedly, we didn’t use the television that much, or so we thought. I mean we only watched the basics: footy every Friday night (this was our wind-down time after a long week), of course we had our weekday favourite television shows, and we sometimes watched a Saturday night movie. Oh, and we also had it on every morning for the news.
When we looked at our television consumption, it turned out we were spending approximately 10 hours a week (at least) watching television. But we were so ignorant; we actually believed we didn’t watch much television.
The realisation shocked us.
So, we made the touch decision not to replace it.
Proudly supported by ACT Health, Good Habits for Life
Then our perspective on life changed. The once tough decision to not replace our television turned out to be the best decision. In fact, it wasn’t just our perspective that changed, our lifestyles changed.
Suddenly we had more time on our hands, but we weren’t bored.
We talked more. We listened to each other more. We had deeper conversations, not just those superficial, ‘hello, how was your day‘ ones.
We interacted more with some serious board game tournaments.
We read more. Were less stressed. Slept better. Exercised more, and spent more time cooking healthier foods.
We were happier, and we generally could get into life more. We connected again.
Instead of having the television on in the ‘background’ we put on some music, or heavens-above, read or talked to each another.
Then our baby boy came along.
It didn’t take us long to realise that our decision to have no television has had a profound impact on his life and on our roles as parents.
This is how:
Changing decisions around purchasing toys
We thought more carefully about the toys we bought him. Instead of buying expensive items and merchandise from TV, which only had one purpose, we bought educational toys that either lasted for a longer period of time, or aimed to improve a range of his developmental areas.
More engaging activities
We actively engaged in play time with him more rather than having one eye on the baby and the other on the television. He responded to use better too rather than being distracted by the bright lights of the television.
More educational playing
As he got older, he spent more time reading books as he saw us reading too. He also spent more time outdoors, even on colder days where he could rug up in his jumper and beanie.
We had more time to eat healthier
He ate healthier as we had the time to cook him whole-fresh foods from scratch rather than relying on package mixtures (see some of the recipes here).
We were happier
We all know the high rates of depression and obesity in Canberra, and nation-wide. We found that when we didn’t spend time watching television our mental health improved. Not that we felt depressed to begin with, it was just that we felt much better without the television on because we spent more time together, exercised more, ate healthier, didn’t watch numbing television programs for the simple reason of, ‘well it was all that was on’.
We felt happier in ourselves, and this had a profound impact on our parenting.
Our son was happier
When we spent time with our extended families who owned televisions, our son looked at it with curiosity but didn’t demand it to be on. He didn’t know any different and was very happy playing with his blocks, trucks and books. He laughed more and spent more time playing outdoors.
Getting into life: Why we continue to have no TV
All in all, we are very happy with our decision not to own a television. It has had a profound, positive impact on our lives both in terms of how we spend our time and how we interact as a family. We are content with the basics in life of spending quality time together reading, playing games or going outside into the garden or local parks. We have connected more with people and things around us.
Role modelling good habits
It has made me realise that as parents we really do have an impact on how our children grow and how they live their lives. Our son has learnt from us to appreciate the simple things in life and the importance of spending time together as a family. He has learnt, how to get the most out of his life.
In what ways can you get into life more with your family?
For more ideas on how to engage your little ones in every day activities, visit Good Habits for Life website.
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