One of our first big adventures in living life outside of societies norms was ditching the big, black box in the corner of the living room. No more mindless entertainment and white noise pumping through the house; BLISS! Anyone close to me back then, thought I’d finally lost my marbles (or what was left of them.)
Dropping the microwave down to the op shop?
That was deemed inconvenient and odd, but still seemed manageable.
Giving away all my plastic Tupperware containers and only using recycled glass jars?
“Are you sure you don’t want them? They’re worth a fortune you know?!”
Moving towards a chemical free home and a more organic lifestyle?
This brought raised eyebrows and the suggestion that anything “organic” is so pricey. “You’re a single mum, you know?”
Thank you for the reminder.
Saying goodbye to the TV and putting firm boundaries around all screen time?
“Woman! You have gone too far?!”
We had dabbled with this idea for quite a while, prior to going the whole hog, and I found that it seemed to be a difficult thing to stay consistent with. The television used to hide under a blanket in the corner of the room. It would make occasional appearances, short stints here or there.
Then what I found is that “occasionally” became more frequent, and pretty soon, the blanket was gone, and the TV seemed to rule our house.
It interrupted our morning routine, often causing us to be late. It distracted the kids when meals were put on the table, and delayed family time. And it became the “go to” activity, leaving everything else strewn around the yard and ignored.
One of us won in the end, and it wasn’t the TV!
Initially, the kids weren’t exactly thrilled about this decision. But, like most things, they adapted quickly. Soon, screen time evolved into quiet reading and play. Less time soaking in the glow of radiation, became more time outdoors and doing art and craft. And more room for boredom to set in, opened up space for imagination, interaction and conversation. Not just for the children, but for me as well.
Here we are now, years down the track and these things have just become part of our normal life. Board games, cards, family read alouds. Plus, whether we are on the road and travelling, or in a home, like now, screen free time together has created memories, stories and times of much deeper connection.
Call it age, or balance, I’ve become a little more flexible with television time these days. A brand new, fresh, shiny, and dust-free one was delivered to us the day after we moved in to the fully furnished house we just rented. The real estate insisted that we “needed” one, what with three kids and all. It gets flicked on for a documentary sometimes, or a movie, or even the odd episode of Peppa Pig or Bluey.
Some things remain consistent though. That TV time is definitely not a necessity in this house, and the understanding that life is what happens away from a screen.
Are you a TV free family?
How have you implemented balance and boundaries when it comes to kids and screen time?
This guest blog piece was written by Kristy, who has just returned to life within four walls after travelling the country in a van with her partner and three children, homeschooling them on the go! You can find Kristy over at @little_platypus_learning on instagram to stay up to date with where life takes them next or let her know your thoughts on this piece.