In the beginning of 2016, we decided to throw one major thing out of our lives — the television. After our yearly cable membership expired in January 2016, we decided not to renew it and see if we could live a life without TV and the way it would affect our lives.
In the beginning, of course, there were the usual withdrawal symptoms of not knowing what to do and we would often look for the remote to satiate our boredom.
We had a tough time coming to terms with the fact that there was no noise in the background when we were having our meals and also curbing those mid-night cravings to watch a late night movie. Moreover, we had a cranky four-year-old who would often find solace in her favourite cartoon show after a scolding session.
The good, the bad, the ugly
Life without TV was tough and boy we had a hard time coming to terms with one that had no television, no movies, no cartoons and no daily soaps (yes, we missed them!) in it. But then it suddenly dawned upon us how TV was affecting our family and our relationships at large as a spouse, a parent and a child.
We had become so dependent on the idiot box to kill our boredom that we would often have meals while watching our favourite show, even during weekends. More than that, as a parent we had gotten so used to switching on the television set for our daughter whenever she would complain of being bored or have her bouts of crying, which were mostly to seek our attention.
The TV had become our one stop solution for all our parenting problems like many other families. So when our daughter was not eating we would switch on some music videos and playfully stuff things in her mouth the moment she opened it to sing along.
When she was a little cranky and would throw things all over the place, we would cleverly put on her favourite cartoon show to distract her attention. In general, we would use the television to solve all our problems and to pacify our hyperactive five-year-old.
But when we did not have it, we realised that we could no longer turn to our TV set to solve our problems and we had to face them head on. We had to find proper solutions for all of them and ones that were equally entertaining as well as satisfying.
We had never imagined these changes
What happened in the coming months changed our lives in more than one ways. Here’s what happened:
1.We started talking to each other
Yes, you read that right. Well, we used to talk earlier as well but that would be a half-hearted conversation as our minds were preoccupied with something else. We now started giving full attention to what we said to each other and our little one too started joining them as she had no other distractions in front of her and she also wanted to make a point every now and then.
As a couple too we started sitting out late quite often, but not watching a movie on TV, but having coffee as we chatted about things that happened that day.
2.We got creative
No TV for the toddler meant finding new creative ways to feed my baby girl and also to keep her occupied. To find a solution we introduced her to a variety of books and comics and soon she got hooked to them. She would often sit for hours alone and would read her favourite storybook.
At other times, all of us would sit together and have general conversations on life and otherwise. My daughter loved that “we became a group” and I saw that she became a happier kid than before. She started reading aloud and would often read stories for us during bedtime, even though she’s just five! She would also keep herself busy by doing things she enjoyed the most.
3. We paid attention to each other’s silences
With our TV sets on most of the times, ours was a one noisy household and we often didn’t pay attention to our silences.
With no TV noise in the background, there was silence. And we noticed each other’s silences and what they meant. My daughter too understood why Mumma was quite and not talking to her or what is it that’s stopping daddy from playing with her.
4. We enjoyed our meal times
Meal times became sacred for us and no one was allowed to do anything besides paying close attention to what they were eating and more importantly enjoying their meals. We started having meals together as a family and had fun while eating our favourite foods.
5. We became closer as a family
After dinner, we would sit down and do some activity together or play one of those many games that we have all grown up playing such as ludo, carom, and Chinese checkers. That one hour became our stress buster and we would look forward to spending time with each other. We came together as a family and more importantly we came to know that there is much more to life than just sitting in front of our TV sets and watching entertainment shows for hours.
We came together as a family and more importantly we came to know that there is much more to life than just sitting in front of our TV sets and watching entertainment shows for hours without actually paying attention to what was around you!
Of course, television is not that bad and there are many shows that are worth watching as well, but this last one year we realised that even if we don’t have one in our house we are not missing anything in life. And for catching the latest news and other important stuff, there’s always YouTube and Netflix.
We had a great time as a family together without TV this whole year and we have no plans to renew our cable subscription next year as either. However, we would have to think about other innovative ways to buy our time, but we’re all for it. What about you?
Images courtesy: Pixabay and YouTube