It is now 10 days since we unplugged the television from the wall, and still, the plug remains laying on the carpet. The TV table has slowly filled up with other items, so now when I look over at it, the big black square is obscured by a bag of bricks, a pile of books and a few odds and ends which I should probably put away!
The first couple of days were definitely the most difficult. The house seemed strangely quiet and all 3 of us were a bit lost. It poured with rain and my son decided to skip his nap 3 days running, so not turning on the TV for some afternoon downtime was a bit of a challenge. However we persevered and now 10 days on, life has definitely improved.
How it has affected me –
I have been crazily productive this week. I have been writing so much and feeling so much more creative. I have also been going to bed much earlier – around 10 or 11 – and the extra sleep coupled with the lack of zoning out staring at the TV have meant I have felt so much more energetic and full of life. If asked, I wouldn’t have said before this week that I watched much in the way of TV anyway. I was a bit of an Eastenders addict (and by that I mean I didn’t miss an episode, not – “I spend my whole day thinking about Kat and Alfie Moon and wondering what new mischief Max Branning is getting up to!”) The first couple of episodes that I missed, I did stop and look at the clock, realising it was about to start. But I quickly forgot all about it and spent the time doing something more fun.
One major change is that my dreams have become so much more colourful and vivid. As I said, I didn’t watch much TV anyway, but my brain is making up for it as I have been dreaming about the cast of How I met your Mother and also the Simpsons, which is very odd as I never watch it!
How It has affected my 20 month old –
This has been fantastic. After a few days of no TV, he suddenly started making his own entertainment. He took an interest in his activity table and building towers, started doing more drawing and art, and generally seemed more alert and imaginative. And this was not a child who had spent hours watching TV. He had maybe seen an hour during the day and then bits and pieces when it was on in the evening (for most of the evening, admittedly.)
Family relationships –
The TV not being on has meant searching out something else to do with our time. It has had a real affect on the relationship between my son and his daddy. They have been spending much more quality time together doing giant chalk drawings in the garden, playing together, reading more and just enjoying each other. Our son has really enjoyed it and now often chooses to ask daddy instead of mummy when he wants something. This is a huge shift for me, especially as when daddy is home, our boy who usually breastfeeds every 20-30 minutes, has instead been far too busy with daddy, and not wanted to feed for several hours at a time some days.
Between me and my husband, the first night we didn’t miss the TV at all. It was really nice to talk without distractions. However, although the TV is off, the computers have still been on. We had travel plans to make, new phone contracts to sort out and a few other things cropping up. So, most evenings have seen us in separate rooms, me writing on the laptop or reading a book, him listening to music and using the computer in the next room. This is something we need to work on now. I want to free up some time together each evening to chat again without distractions. I think, since he is not in to reading as much as I am, he is unsure what to do with his relaxing time if he is not online. Something we will figure out in time, I’m sure.
So, we have decided to cancel the cable. We are going to keep the TV for now as I would like us to be able to watch a movie together sometimes and maybe we will turn it on every now and again. But this time we will be mindful of turning it off after we finish watching something together. I will not waste my time watching mindless rubbish. And my toddler will never know who the Teletubbies or Mr tumble are. I think we can live with that!