5 weeks ago my husband and I made the decision to remove the TV and the Play Station from the Lounge room, and then it was going so well that we then sold them to the next unsuspecting human. Who is now probably wondering where all the pee is coming from.
My husband and I had become tired of being too tired to watch the TV.
We were tired of it being the goto thing at the end of a day, the end of a walk, the end of a shopping trip or a family day out. The TV came on and suddenly the dynamic changed.
My husband and I found ourselves at the end of a day sitting down together to have a nice… nap. See: too tired.
We also found that the content on free-to-air TV is utter rubbish and the worst part was that the kids had no idea how to relax without the TV, that doesn’t sound right in my head.
Hungry? TV…lol. Not really that one’s a joke. Or is it?
But you get it?
We also realised they played a lot of games that came from TV shows they liked to watch rather than using their own minds and creating games themselves.
We wanted to help them expand their imaginations and we wanted to expand ours.
Geez Antanika, how much TV we’re your kids watching?
Not much. Weekends a few hours, after school an hour or two all up.
Somedays-rare days- hard and long days, we had it on all day long… I won’t lie. I am no saint.
For us in the daytime, it came on when I was overwhelmed by the kids, the screaming, the crying, the tantrums, and the such. Which is often… ya feel me?
In the evenings it came on to wind the kids down and to give my husband and I some peace and quiet, that often resulted in them arguing about whos ‘turn’ it was next.
It came on when I needed to clean or cook or when I needed that 30-minute bath.
Often it came on just because I caved in because man, my kids nag better than I do.
I often felt guilty about the amount of TV they watched even if they hadn’t watched much, I felt guilty because I used it as a babysitter and the more they watched the more they wanted it and I became sick of the battle. .
I don’t believe I really need to go into the details because if you’re a parent with a TV you might understand my pain.
And yes, we could have had better control over the kid’s screen time, but just having to argue with my kids every day about something so irrelevant just seems so pointless. We also found that by merely having it around made them crave watching it, and explaining why they can’t watch it every day, just isn’t productive for anyone.
And then after a week or so without it, we sold it and the kids were like WTF Mum and Dad?
When we sold it it was a weird experience, it really felt like I was waving goodbye to an old friend (an old friend that we are still paying off by the way).
Harliquinn, the 5-year-old was upset it was leaving because she couldn’t watch Full House anymore, despite having already spent last year watching every single season.
Leto, the 6 year old, was so happy it was leaving, “we don’t need it with all the other things we can do”.
Tosh, almost 13 was the most ‘upset’ because he has his Youtube shows (Which we still allow him to watch on the laptop etc) and “what the hell am I supposed to do when my friend comes over for sleepovers now…?”
And he had me there, they were so noisy without it the other night.
TV has always been part of my life, it’s always been there. When I got home from school there was mum every day without fail watching The Bold and the Beautiful. Her and my step-dad were those people who watched the news channels from 5pm till 7pm when Home and Away came on. The Tv was an ever-present part of my life, hell I remember being like 2 or 3 and eating sparkle toothpaste in front of Sesame Street…and I have a terrible memory. So saying goodbye to something that I was so used to for the last 33 years was refreshing and daunting.
I also had a little bit of FOMO, because my friends are all avid TV show watchers, how will I ever relate? Till I realised we rarely discuss TV shows.
Other than the obvious effects you’d expect when removing the TV; more creativity, more imaginative play and more games they otherwise usually didn’t play, some other things were immediately noticed by me:
1. It is really weird to arrange a lounge room without a TV as a centre piece
2. There was at least 90% less piss on the floor by the end of each day. I kid you not.
In my experience, my youngest two 5 and 6, were less likely to go to the toilet if and when they needed to if the TV or a movie was on. I would find peed in pants on the floor in the hall, I’d find puddles of pee that were seemingly invisible until stepped in.
Not just sometimes either but ALL the time, like wet your socks piss, can’t sit down on the seat piss, piss might as well have been coming out from under the door to swallow me in my snorkel piss.
Just piss. Urine. Pee. Always.
I was so fed up with having other people piss on the back of my thighs. And now, its only happening 10% of the time. Winner winner chicken dinner eh?
Well, I have nothing but silence to fall asleep to on the couch these days and I do have to talk and play with my kids more often, something that is hard to do when all you have is enough energy left for yourself and the ice cream in the fridge.
But it’s worth the comfort of knowing that I am doing what I feel is best for my kids even if they’re not aware of the benefits that might bring them in the long run.
I also enjoy watching them do the weird little things they didn’t do before because the TV was on. I enjoy watching them dance to all the different kinds of music we have been listening to, all the books they’re reading, all the games they’re coming up with, the excitement when they listen to a podcast they like.
I just enjoy.
We removed the TV at the very beginning of the 6 weeks of school holidays, we have just over one week till school goes back, and I am incredibly proud of how well our family adapted to something that is so commonly relied on.
But don’t get me wrong I don’t judge you for keeping yours, I do not blame you.
My little dog now has an anxiety problem from all the new jumping and banging activities, perhaps she has PTSD from too much exposure to that Pineapple-apple-pen song? To the point where today she hopped into my bath with me in it because it had become too much…
However, if you are considering it, I encourage you to try it, because you can always bring it back…unless you sell it…
And be prepared to make some extra library trips and for the kids to make more noise and mess, but most of all be ready for the less piss, in pants, on floors and walls.
(Currently both my youngest kids are both lying in the same bean bag making their way around the room because the ground is Lava…its loud and annoying to write to… HALP)