House Projects

Reduce Screen Time – Part I: TV

tvThere seems to be two types of people in this world: Those who can watch one episode of something and turn the TV off and those who can’t turn the TV off until the series ends or their eyes are forced shut by the dryness caused by dozens of hours of TV time. I fall into the latter…to a rather embarrassing extent.

Before baby came, I was perfectly fine to devote a 24 hour period to my favorite shows. I fed my internal need for entertainment and stimulation by constantly hitting the “yes I am still watching” button on the annoying Netflix interrupt screen. Even after baby was born, I would have it on in the background as noise and a distraction from dirty diapers and screaming babies.

One day, my husband came home from work and I realized, I hadn’t moved all day. Baby and I existed on the couch as if we were Tom Hanks and the volleyball on our little island. I felt gross, but at the same time I wanted to finish “just this one episode”. This, mixed with lots of research that TV for kiddos under two seems to be a bad thing,  (see this article from NPR about the advice from the American Academy of pediatrics) lit a fire under my butt to break from my television spell.

We don’t have a ton of extra money, so my solution had to be somewhat on the cheap. I knew that there was no way I would actually get rid of the TV – my husband and I really enjoy a Friday night movie snuggled up on the couch. My overactive brain devised a mechanism where the TV would retract into the wall and would pop out the minute we needed it. Yeaaahhh… too much sci fi. So the obvious answer to me is to cover it up. There are really neat wooden or mirrored TV covers that look very chic, but since we are on a budget, I decided to go the canvas route.

We ordered a 42 x 56 canvas print of our favorite picture from a trip to Glacier National Park last year. sent us our picture but sadly, it showed up with uneven sides. They promptly sent us another one that had the same issue, so we accepted the flawed product and my husband is determined to fix the picture. had, and seems to perpetually have, a 50% off sale so our order came to $150 plus free shipping! No one else can tell the canvas isn’t perfectly rectangular until we point it out – so we have been using it anyway until we can square it up. My husband added some metal to the back of the canvas to securely hook onto the television face and voila! We have a beautiful picture that we love as a deterrent to my incessant screen obsession.

So did it work you ask? Better than I could have imagined. It has been two weeks and so far, I feel like a completely different person at home. Since the TV isn’t staring back at me, I find other things to do like play more with my daughter, clean, work out, cook, read, craft, ect. I feel happier during the day and we don’t automatically turn on the tv at night anymore. Granted, we still love our tv time but we have been a lot better about not using it as a default. Our daughter doesn’t seem to mind the extra attention either! This experiment turned out a lot better than I had hoped.

What are some ways you have turned down the use of your TV?

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