Occasionally it comes up in conversation that we do not have television, I usually get the response, neither do we, we watch netflix. We do not have that either. We do not watch television. The next response I get is, “wow, what do you do in the evenings?”. My husband also tends to correct me, we do have some forms of television. This post is about what we do and do not have in regards to television, how we use it, and why.
Do not Have:
Amazon Prime (for movies)
Google Play Account (for Movies)
Why We Dropped Cable
When my first child was born, I remember watching a 30 minute show while I nursed her. Then it turned into another show, and another, until before I knew it hours had passed by in oblivion. This issue, along with our desire to cut back in unnecessary spending resulted in us dropping cable when we moved to our new location. We wanted to spend time as a family making memories and after the kids went to bed we wanted to spend time together as friends, growing and working on our marriage.
Getting the Antenna:
For a few years after our move, we went with absolutely no television watching. We did not have anything, but a TV and DVD player. On weekends, when we wanted to watch a movie, we would stop by redbox and rent a movie for the night. This was the extent that our TV was used for.
My husband kept up on his sports updates via the internet. After a few years of his sports withdrawal, he purchased an antenna so that we could at least pull in local stations for an occasional sports game (about once a month). This is why we now have the antenna.
We tend to do most our non-grocery shopping on Amazon. This is partly due to our desire to limit unnecessary spending, but also partly due to our laziness. Due to our devotion to Amazon, we decided to try a free year of Prime. We of course decided to keep it after the year was up. Having Amazon Prime allows us to watch our movies for free since we select slow shipping and get a $1 credit each time. We also stream movies directly through play.google.com (which we also get for free through an app we use).
Having Amazon and Google, now allows us to stream movies directly for the children and ourselves. This being said, we have rented a total of 27 (14 through amazon prime and 13 through play.google) movies in the year 2016, about 1/3 of those being documentaries and one of those being a season of Elementary, which had 24 episodes (run time 40-45 minutes). So all in total we watched 3.24 movie run time/month in 2016. I am however missing the BBC Earth DVDs we own in this calculation, so lets be really liberal and assume we watched 4 movies a month, or 1 a week in 2016.
The 4 movies a month is what daddy and mommy watch after the kids go to bed, we consider this date night. I am not actually sure how much our kids watch, Amazon doesn’t record when I direct play Daniel Tiger. I am guessing 1 episode of Daniel Tiger a month on average, MAYBE 2–yes, that is it. Watching a “movie” (aka a show) is reserved for “sick days” and special family movies nights. Sometimes we will try to watch a longer movie with the kids (longer than 30 minutes) but rarely (once a year?). Sometimes if my husband is gone we will watch 2 episodes of Daniel tiger together with a special popcorn treat.
What Do We do Instead?
We do not watch television because there are other things we prefer to do with our time… and it costs money (but that is the minor side). We would rather our kids be using their imagination to play or spending time as a family. My children have grown up this way (so far, they are still very young) and they are used to it. They know how to entertain themselves (usually).
When I need to work on something like dinner or write a letter or want to read a magazine or my bible I let them know what I am doing and tell them they need to play or, depending on the activity I am doing, they can join me. If I am cooking, they can help or I may have them do their responsibilities. Our children are also excited to play together, since they have all had a 2 hour break from each other during quiet time. If I am reading my bible or a magazine or book, they usually opt to read their own bible, magazine, or book with me. Now don’t get me wrong, this does not always work perfectly, more than once I have had children fighting or pleading for me to hold them or some other emergency necessitating that I drop everything and focus all my energy on them. They are young, they are learning, this is a time of learning and growing for ALL of us.
My husband and I see our evenings as time together, time to grow and learn, time to sleep.We feel that this rarely happens when we watch television, or even a movie. We both love exercising and often get up early or workout after the kids go to bed. We also enjoy reading and often read books together out loud. There have been times we do a bible study together (this comes and goes). We also enjoy strategy games and will often play one in the evenings, or my husband tries to talk me into playing a game of billiards. There have also been times we just visit. There are other times that one of us has a commitment in the evening and I catch up on my responsibilities or he just rests and catches up on emails.
I remember, not too long ago, my husband mentioning it had been a while since we watched a movie. We both agreed how wonderful it was. Often we watch a movie because we are tired, but do not want to go to bed and I find that afterward I feel drained and exhausted, I very rarely end the movie feeling refreshed.
This change in our family over the last 4 years has been amazing. We have built endless memories reading, exploring, camping, playing games, running around, and more. We have saved money towards retirement and feel more positive about life and have been able to focus on what our God’s purpose is for us.