Booting the Box. – Parenting with no Television

Living With Soul

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So, for those of you that don’t know, I am a Mumma of 3 little munchkins… 9, 7 and 5.

One month ago now, I made a decision to ban TV within the household.

This wasn’t the easiest decision to make.
I personally don’t watch television, apart from the very rare film or doco, but grappled with making this decision for the kids.

But, three issues continued to be raised on the daily, prompting me to take action. These were;

Rubbish in the guise of cartoons and light hearted entertainment making it’s way into my children’s psyche.

The ever present culture of materialism, body image, sexualisation, external gratification and violence pervades our television screens, creating foundations for stereotypes and beliefs and values I do not wish to support. Crunch time came when I was no longer able to personally rationalise cartoons and kids programs to be – kids programs.

There are wonderful documentaries and animated shows available for children, however, it seems in-between each awesome program were 5 horrendous ones. At the end of the day, it didn’t seem worth watching an hour -plus worth of rubbish for half an hour of goodness.

Fighting.

My children, it seemed, had forgotten how to communicate with me and each other other as soon as the television switched on. From bickering incessantly over what show to watch and who’s turn it was to choose, to bellowing at each other to move out of each others way, fighting over where one sits on the couch…. Oh. My. Gosh. This list, could be endless.

Television was moulding my kind and creative monkey’s into non-sensical copy cats parroting behaviours they’d witnessed straight from a cartoon episode!

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Learning.

I’m not a huge advocate of homework, however, as a mother I do wish to support my children’s learning and confidence as well as be in touch with their strengths and trouble area’s. I noticed that there was no focus or creative commitment to learning when their minds were itching like an addict for a TV fix.

So, I announced that television was banned.

Let me say, the response was surprising.

All three of them almost seemed relieved. And if relief is not quite the right word, they were curious at  least as what life would look like without tv.

One month in and I’d like to share what’s gone on since…

Noise.

A lot of noise. But the kind of noise you are wanting!  Squealing with delight, laughter and a newly formed “Lounge room Band” formed, adding to this already loud household. (Bless my neighbours!) Eli on drums, Willow on Guitar and Airlie on Ukulele. (The only instruments in the house. Thank god there was no recorder!)

Communication and connection.

From the noise, arose communication and negotiation skills between each other to create and navigate imaginative games. Kindness, encouragement and support are also other by products. The happiness is palpable and their connection as siblings ever deepening.

Interest.

Their interest and commitment in their learning has grown tenfold! Sure, there are days when they’re tired and not willing for homework, but mostly I am finding that they are taking pleasure in completing their homework with focus and efficiency.


Creativity and Passion hunting.

Instead of zoning in front of the television, we’ve been doing yoga, drawing, or researching areas my little people have indicated interest in. This has been really exciting and invigorating for all of us, especially for me. Sometimes, due to the monotony of the motherhood, it is easy to become disgruntled by the ever surmounting duties, forgetting that this “job” is actually fun.

Let me share… last week I learnt about different star systems, a couple new dance moves, and some of the fastest animals and insects in the world. We tried our hand at cubism and abstract drawing and we harvested our cauliflowers, researching why they grew “leggy” and not squat and compact.

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This is Soul Food in action. 

This is daily ritual. 

This is intuitive living.

And boy, who knew it could be so darn good!

So, if you’ve dabbled with the idea of booting the box, why not give it a go, even for a short while. Who know’s what may happen!

Big love

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8 Comments to “Booting the Box. – Parenting with no Television”

  1. Amazing, I love it!
    I don’t have a TV in my house and I find it so freeing.
    The mind is so amazing, especially kids who can have such vibrant and vivid imaginations. Seeing them zone out in front of the TV makes my heart cry, it squashes their imaginations.
    This post is so great!

    • Oh Madeline, how great is it that you don’t have a television at all! I am now really considering ditching it all together. I completely agree – it entirely squashes imagination. There are some good programs available, mostly doco’s and so, I don’t mind supporting education and inspiring material, but most of it is rubbish. And you are right, it has been completely freeing to not have it present in the house! So pleased this post has connected to you! xx

  2. Awesome experiment, I was a kid in the late 90’s and my mum banned television until my brother and I were well into our teens and even then we were only allowed on weekends. Though it caused the occasional argument, and when all the kids at school were talking about shows they were watching we did feel a little left out, living without TV definitely encouraged our creativity and learning abilities. Plus I think it made our family bond even stronger :) Good Luck!

    ps. even though it sounds old fashioned we used to love listening to old radio shows together (our favourites were the muddle headed wombat and the famous five) entertainment that still encourages imagination.

    • Hahaha! That’s awesome – listening to the radio. It would have been great, and a beautiful and different way to see the world. Your experience sounds so interesting. I wonder show my children will describe theirs. :) x

  3. Wow! Thank you for sharing this experience in such a kind and honest way. It’s the first article on children and media that doesn’t have a judgmental tone and isn’t chalk-full of stats. I really appreciate that you’re simply sharing what you’ve observed in your own family. I love it!

  4. Love it Lauren!
    So freaking beautiful that your little ones were open to it all in the first place.
    I feel incredibly liberated just reading your words.
    Some lucky kids, I think!!!

    xxx

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