In honor of National Screen-Free Week, I asked my friend Jen from Family Sponge to put together a blog post for us! Her family got rid of their television seven years ago and hasn’t looked back since!
We haven’t had a TV for seven years. It wasn’t a radical decision at the time. We just knew that something had to give—we were extremely busy, felt overwhelmed, and weren’t connecting as a family. So out went the television and in came books (lots of books), cooking, lengthy discussions, hiking, marathon training, Yatzee tournaments, bowling dates, geocaching and much needed sleep. My husband even learned to juggle five balls and ride a unicycle.
Life as we knew it slowed down and we finally caught our breath.
To stay up to date on world events, we go online to CNN or NPR. We are definitely out of the loop with the latest TV episodes and new fancy products. Sometimes we are buzz kill on the conversations that go “Did you see… last night”, but that is perfectly okay with us. The unexpected joys from not having a TV in our house trump any setbacks by a long shot, for example:
1. No cable bill. We have saved over $5500 these past seven years by not having a cable bill (and that is a very conservative estimate). Not to mention what it would cost to buy an actual TV, DVD player, DVR, video games, etc.
2. Become more creative. We listen to lots of music, do puzzles, board games, art projects, nature walks, cook together, ride bikes, read books, write books. We make elaborate snowmen when it snows, jump in puddles when it rains, and collect hundreds of leaves in the fall.
3. Don’t see commercials. This was definitely an unexpected perk and makes passing by the toy section in Target a walk in the park for our kids and ourselves.
4. The furniture in our home doesn’t revolve around a TV. Sounds strange, right? But it’s actually really nice to choose what is the focus of a room. Right now it is our eclectic wall of family pictures that dominate the living room.
5. Lots of Traveling. With the money we have saved and our appetite for adventure, we have made traveling a part of our family DNA. In the past seven years, we have backpacked through Europe, took a month-long road trip from Los Angeles to Glacier National Park in Canada, three trips to Amsterdam for art shows and architecture admiration and spent a week driving to Denver, Taos and the Grand Canyon. We even drove across country from LA to Tampa, FL along Route 66 with the kids for 10 days. With that kind of traveling, people think we have lots of money. But we don’t, seriously. We just don’t have a TV.
Jen Hansard is editor and art director of Family Sponge, a website devoted to inspiring parents to be adventurous, health-conscious and world-changers. Jen also holds the proud title of stay-at-home/work-from-home mom to two preschool-age children, and is hopelessly addicted to Starbucks, Craigslist, and her husband Ryan. To learn more about about Family Sponge, visit their WEBSITE or FACEBOOK or TWITTER.