Natalia Temesgen

Giving up TV during the week isn’t so bad after all

I want to follow up on something I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. We aren’t supposed to be watching TV at my house on school days anymore, remember? Well, it’s been a little over a week. I have stuck to my guns, and with my husband’s encouragement I have enforced the rule not only with the kids, but also with myself.

“Castle Rock,” “Sharp Objects” and “Insecure” must all be indulged in my free time on the weekends. No longer are my afternoons spent puttering around the house with the recurring hum of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song. No, sir! The school year is up and away, and so are the remotes.

What can I say? It has been easier than I thought. The kindergartener is frankly so thrilled about school that she is happy to go along with whatever new rules come with being a Britt David Bulldog. The preschooler is a bit more resistant, but to be fair he is still on summer vacation until Monday. He is being a good sport and making the shift with as much grace as an almost 3-year-old boy should be expected to possess.

The real joy has been in watching the three of us discover what a week without screens looks like. It looks like a trip to the library after school, where we do homework, read and play. It looks like turning the armchair into a cockpit, equipping it with wings and an engine, and setting up stuffed animal passengers in rows behind it. It looks like learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Pulling weeds from the garden. Cooking dinner together. Actually being eager for bed when its bedtime, because a fluorescent LED screen has not been staring us down in the hour before.

Yes, our sleep has improved. With no TV to click on when the kids are down, I have to really ask myself what I’m doing awake. I’m tired at the end of the day. And with little stimulus but tea and books, Pete and I are early to bed, early to rise. It’s awesome.

It’s also a trip down memory lane. We didn’t have smartphones, tablets and TV on demand when I was a kid. But we definitely still had a healthy opportunity to become TV-addicts. My parents had the no-TV on school nights rule my whole childhood, and I remember writing plays, shooting movies, writing songs and choreographing dances to songs I tape recorded off the radio. I was creative in ways that the kids have been creative this week. We all need more of that these days.