We Still Don’t Own a TV. Here’s Why.

We still don’t own a TV. This is one year later after we’ve moved back into our home. And we don’t have any plans to buy one in the near future.

Life without TV is so much better than with it. It’s a conscious choice we’ve made to create an environment for our family to live in.

Here’s why.

I’ve become a more conscious and attentive parent.

This is perhaps the most important reason why I got rid of our TV. By getting rid of the constant distraction of sports, news, sitcoms, etc., I can spend the limited amount of time I have at home with my kids—with my kids. Recently, we’ve been treated to impromptu dancing, singing, and acting performances by our girls. And I sat still for all of it. The likelihood of this happening with a TV in the middle of the living room would be slim to none.

I read, write, and sleep more.

Before dinner, after dinner, before bed…These are all times that can be easily consumed by television watching. By eliminating the choice of watching TV, I get to read, write, and sleep more. Same thing goes for my kids. They work on art projects, read books, play with their toys, draw, color, and anything else they can think of to entertain themselves.

Screen time for the kids (and myself) is manageable.

Just because we don’t have TV doesn’t mean we don’t have access to TV programs. With our tablets and smartphones, we’ve got 24×7 access to stuff we could watch. But because those screens aren’t always visible (as compared to a TV occupying a large amount of space in our living room), we can avoid the lure of watching those screens with some self-control. For our kids, we let them watch an hour or so of YouTube Kids videos on the weekend. That’s it.

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On a recent trip to southern California over the holidays, we spent a week in hotel rooms with big TVs. Our kids’ first reaction was to want to watch TV at any moment we were in the hotel room, whether it was upon waking or going to sleep. On vacation, my wife and I happily let them indulge in TV for the week. My oldest daughter, a normally avid reader, read none of the books she brought with her for the week. Upon returning home, she immediately started reading her books.

By eliminating TV, we are happier and healthier. TV no longer consumes us. Rather, we choose what we do with our time and hopefully our kids will do the same.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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