So it has been a week since we have taken the tv away and put it in our closet. It has actually been a wonderful experience!
Now let me preface this by saying a couple things:
1. This is something that OUR family has decided to do for US. There is absolutely zero judgment on anyone else for not doing what we are doing. I promise.
2. We are not “grounded” from the tv. If we go to someones house, I don’t care if the girls or all of us watch movie and shows etc. In fact, we still (attempt) to go to the theatre with the girls…for the hugest tv ever. Haha.
This was for me.
It was easy for me to turn the tv on and zone out on the couch with my phone and next thing I know, HOURS have passed. I was tired of feeling guilty laying in bed at night and realizing that when Adam asked how our day was and what we did…what he should have been asking is what did we watch….because I could basically tell him how many times we watched Finding Dory, or describe the entire last season on Octonauts.
It wasnt always this way, but in the last 6 months or so I noticed some things:
I found myself not wanting to go and do fun things because it took more effort. I rationalized that it was simply too hot in Texas anyway, or I was tired etc.
I noticed that Bailey was starting to not want to do things because she wanted to stay
home and watch tv instead.
I noticed that Claire would just kind of do her own thing because she would get bored of watching tv.
I noticed that Bailey would throw a huge fit if I turned the tv off even if she wasn’t watching it.
I noticed that we didnt sit down and have meals at the table anymore, because it was easier to just eat in the living room so I wouldn’t have to fight turning the tv off with my 3 year old.
I noticed that I used it as a way to feel less guilty being on my phone. (Which it didnt btw).
I noticed that we never read books together, and bedtime routines were rushed, and when Adam and I actually had time to be a couple together…we just watched tv.
So something needed to change. I needed a RESET. Since I am an all or nothing type of person, I needed drastic measures haha. I tried just turning it off, but the fits were too much and I found myself feeling like I “earned” tv time after an hour of play or so. Simply put, with it being in the room, I couldn’t ignore it.
I never actually planned on putting the tv away. I remember just complaining that I needed to watch it less because it was getting ridiculous. Days and weeks and months I feel like I said that. Then I talked to a friend of mine (who has 4 kiddos), and she mentioned she got rid of the tv for the summer and they were happy and actually play together more. I remember thinking wow! I envy you! I wish I could do that! But that is too hard, I cant. It’s not for me. I made every excuse in the book as to why that wouldn’t work for me. But I admired her for doing it.
Not even a few days later, I am laying in bed with Adam around 11:30pm, downloading the day, and AGAIN feeling guilty and frustrated…when he says kind of nonchalantly “Man I wish we could just take the tv out of the living room or something.” I sat there for a minute, and I had this overwhelming feeling to do it now! Right now! So I told Adam lets do it! Before the morning comes and we talk ourselves out of it! So we hopped out of bed at almost midnight and took the tv down, put it in our closet, vacuumed and rearranged the furniture how we always wanted to, but never could because of where the tv would be. We had so much more space! We went to bed…nervous but excited.
Well the next morning Bailey had a meltdown. I am pretty sure she went through the 5 stages of grief in about 30 minutes lol. When she finally calmed down enough we explained that the tv needed rest and it was sleeping. For whatever reason, that clicked in her brain, and it really hasn’t been an issue since. She still mentions that she wants to watch a movie or Octonauts, particularly when something reminds her of it, or it’s that lull time of the day. But then I remind her that the tv is resting and she’s like oh yeah. And does other things haha.
Overall it has been a really positive experience. Here is what I have noticed in just a week:
- I am on my phone less. It is still a work in progress. I am still on it and catch myself…but it is definitely less than before! And sometimes Bailey and I will watch some shark youtube videos…because she is reazaaaaaly into sharks right now haha. And 20 minutes of shark videos are the best thing ever.
- The girls play more! They play pretend food and peek a boo and chase each other around. They build cool towers with blocks and fun beds out of the couch cushions and blankets from beds.
- I read more to them! That has become the replacement for the times I just want to vedge. I will get all cozy in the fun couch bed that Bailey makes and will read book after book to them. It has been something I have been wanting to do for a while, but just never could find motivation to do. Bailey hadnt been interested in books because she preferred the tv…now she loves having cuddle time with me while I read. And I get cuddles! Which used to be few and far between haha.
- I do more things. When the tv is gone I noticed I gained a lot more time to fill in the day. Sometimes those minutes are looooong haha. But I’ve been better at filling it with fun stuff. We will play in the backyard in bathing suits (or sometimes just strip down in panties and diapers since we have a gated yard) and they play with the hose and little pool. They eat sticky popsicles to their hearts content and just enjoy the sun. Or we go to the library! They have a summer reading program where you can log books you’ve read and get points to cash for little prizes! Bailey has already earned a sticker that we need to go get. So fun. Ive also started to engage more with them. Having dance parties in the living room. (Today we had one and I loved watching Claire watch Bailey dance and try to do it herself haha. She ran around in circles like Bailey and totally got dizzy and fell and just gave up and laid on the ground for a while.) Playing pretend with them. Hide and seek. Cooking together. Bailey is actually interested in what I do now while making cookies because she isn’t zombified all the time with the tv. We go to parks! We explore more park options and are usually out and about early before it gets too insanely hot. A good solid 45min-hour and the girls are pooped and loving it haha.
- More time with Adam! Instead of just watching tv or movies, we talk about each others days, or play games and just hang out. I didnt realize how much I missed that. Granted some days we are still on our computers when we need to do things haha like I am right now….but still! More time together! And we have been doing Family History by Indexing, which has been really neat.
- Less rushed. I feel like I gained time. So bedtime we can have a nice quiet wind down with bath time and reading scriptures and singing songs and saying prayers…and the girls go to bed content! The change in that has been pretty cool. I think overall I just noticed their “love bucket” being more full at the end of the day, since I am paying more attention to them personally. I can pick up on things more and engage with them better. In fact today Bailey said the cutest thing. I was giving her a kiss on the cheek while we were in the bathroom going potty, and she goes “I love your kisses…but no more for right now.” Haha it was the sweetest thing! She is so funny. I love that I can see their happiness increase. I look in their eyes more when I talk to them and I notice little things in each of their personalities that I love so much.
So all in all. It’s been a win. I am not perfect. I still get frustrated and tired and snap at the girls at times and have moments on my phone ignoring them…but I am making improvements little by little. This was by far the best decision we have made in a while.
So again. No judgement to anyone. I could care less if you watch a million hours of tv all day long. Or even if the girls are at your house and watch 3 movies. Fine by me. Haha. I just needed a reset in OUR home. And I definiltey got it. I was the last person I thought would do something like this, but I would recommend it if anyone is on the fence about it. Hands down.
These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.