• Recently we underwent some minor renovations to our home. Due to our budget restraints, we had to do the majority of the work on our own, which took a lot longer than we anticipated. Part of the plan entailed painting the family room, which required us to move the TV into the garage until the renovations were completed. Shuffling between my full time job and the schedule of four children, what was suppose to take only one week dragged on for almost six months. I was only able to work during the weekends and some exhausting late nights after work. I feared that it was the project that would never end.
    While the house was in disarray it suddenly occurred to me that neither the kids nor I even noticed that the TV was gone. Finally, once the project was complete, I still planned on replacing the old tube and was simply debating on which flat screen and what size to get. That should give you an idea of how outdated our system was. I did my research looking waiting for a great deal and deliberately took my time.

    Even after bringing it back into the house they haven’t been drawn to it all that much and don’t ask to watch very often.

    I realized that the children still hadn’t really asked about the TV and was just curious how long it would last. Furthermore, I observed a definite improvement in their behavior and interaction with one another. They played more board games together, read more, and practiced their musical instruments without much prompting. Even more bizarre was the fact that I never heard any of them say, “I’m bored!” That was a key phrase they would use regularly as a prelude to saying, “I want to watch TV.” I decided then and there that a new flat screen was out of the question. I took it even further and left no TV in the house for almost a year and neither my kids nor their friends complained. They were plenty busy with more outdoor activities and enjoying interactive games.
    It’s been a year now and since then I decided to bring the old TV set back into my room, where it’s stored away behind a closed door. My rationale was that perhaps every once in a while they would want to have a movie night, play a video game, or watch a special program. Even after bringing it back into the house they haven’t been drawn to it all that much and don’t ask to watch very often.
    I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong to having a TV because G-d knows there have been times when it has served as a great baby sitter when I’ve had work to get done. Each person can monitor their own use and make a decision of how to balance their kids’ exposure to TV. However, the increased interaction between my children and their friends has been significant. Children are flexible and will adapt to their surroundings. They will find things to keep them busy as long as you can provide the proper tools and environment for them to flourish. It might not work for everyone but it was an accidental discovery, which turned out to be a blessing for our family.