Back in April, we told you how we had completely turned off our DirecTV. We didn’t downgrade our package, or switch to just local channels. We have no television package whatsoever. At the time, we had a plan of things we would do in order to “fill” our time as a family. I thought you might like a little progress report, now that we’ve gone about 7 months without any TV.
First, let me address the question everyone seems to ask. “Do you miss it?” While that’s impossible to answer in one word, I would say we really haven’t missed TV. Yes, I don’t like missing ball games, but we really don’t miss the TV very often at all. We watched TV a ton before we turned off the TV, but it was amazing how we just went on to other things. I think that shows just how mindless TV really is!
Now, what have we done with our time? Here are just some of the things
- We have taken the kids outside a lot more. With winter coming, that will change. We spent quite a bit of time in our backyard, as well as at the park or other fun places.
- We have gone shopping as a family sometimes. While not my favorite activity, the kids enjoy seeing stores and we would go looking for several things, from plants to furniture. Often, since we live on a budget, we just window shopped, but that’s okay!
- We have people over. We have always had a desire to have people over to eat, but, when we weren’t thinking about what might be on TV, it got easier. We need to do better on this one, but, with colder weather coming, we probably will, since we’ll be looking for more indoor activities.
- We watch TV. Wait, what? Seriously, we watch some family-friendly movies and some older TV shows that we have on DVD. We try to limit this, but we do still have some “marathon” evenings where we watch 2-3 episodes of The Cosby Show or some other program. We also have a couple of educational DVDs the kids enjoy watching.
- We go visiting. While, again, we need to do better, we sometimes take the kids out to visit folks in the nursing home, or just people who need a visit. We’re happy that our kids are learning to visit people without fear.
- We learn. Reading, listening to podcasts, and doing research on the computer has taken a prime place in our lives. I have a goal of reading 40 books each year, which I am already passed! We are learning things that are important as well as fun, instead of filling our minds with nothing more than the storyline of a TV show.
- We have devotionals. Every night, we read the kids a Bible story. We sing some songs, and we have a prayer list we keep up and let the kids pray for. When we had TV, we easily forgot this, but we have some sort of devotional every night now. We are seeing the kids grow in a lot of areas, but none more than in prayer.
There are other things, but we have really filled our time well.
Now, what has been hard? I’ll admit that we do miss some things. With the Yankees in the World Series, it has been tough not being able to see a single pitch so far. We both enjoy watching college football, and I’m gearing up for college basketball. How have we “survived?”
First, we have the internet to read articles and posts about favorite teams or other items of interest.
I also subscribe to several sports podcasts. In fact, I think I know more about baseball this year than last year, just from reading online and listening to some podcasts. The same is true of the NFL, for sure (though it hasn’t helped my fantasy teams!).
We watch some things online. ESPN360.com has all sorts of games available from many leagues, and we also watch some YouTube and Hulu videos that are fun, educational, and enjoyable.
Overall, we have had a great time. I would challenge everyone to try it for one week (or one month, if you’re really into it). I think you’ll find that it’s really easy to go without TV. We’re glad we did!