The No TV Issue

Sep, 01, 2014

By Fredrica Syren:

For years hubby and I talked endlessly about skipping the TV but for so long we always had an excuse: the World Cup, football season, CNN, PBS for the kids, and the list goes on. But in the last year, we noticed that we had started watching less and less TV, and that it was not so important to us. We realized that when we did watch a show, it was lame, we didn’t like it, or it was a re-run of some sort. The kids never seemed to miss it and, since they watched mostly movies anyway, we found watching them on the computer instead easy.

Copyright Green-mom.com2014
Copyright Green-mom.com2014

So now we have made the decision not to own a TV. That it’s not there for channel surfing is actually a relief, and we get more done, too. When we tell people about our TV-less home, their reactions are “Wow! I could never do that because I’m home alone a lot”or “I like the background noise”or “I love my TV shows.”Some ask us how we entertain our kids without a TV. It’s easy:

We have dance parties—Kids love to dance. When we dance as though no one is watching, they think it’s great.

We read books—All three kids will endlessly bring us books to read if we let them.

We sing—Who cares if my voice can crack glass? My kids thinks I’m Pavarotti☺

We build with blocks and Legos—We let our fantasies create the most stunning houses, buildings, cars and …well, something.

Copyright Green-mom.com 2014
Copyright Green-mom.com 2014

We paint, play with play dough, playmais or do other crafts— The kids treat projects we find pretty simple (like painting an egg carton) as if they are creating masterpieces.

We build castles with sofa cushions—Who does not want to be the king/queen of the castle?

We go on nature walks—Letting kids loose in nature is fun to watch because lately everything is interesting: rotten leaves, sticks, pinecones and bugs.

We bake or cook—Ok, I have to admit it makes huge messes and everything is painfully slow, but it’s so worth seeing how proud and excited they are over the result.

We play music—I bought used, cheap bongo drums, a tambourine and a flute. Boy, are we one great band. Maybe, just maybe, one day we all will play the same song!

As you can see, our TV-less life is shaping up to be pretty good. I keep myself really busy, but once in a while, I miss cuddling up with hubby and watching a good movie. And sometimes I feel a TV would save my sanity if I could park the kids in front of it for just a moment.

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)


  1. Reply

    Larraine Roulston

    September 1, 2014

    Nice going. So true. Our 4th grandchild never watched TV. When the rest of the family watched a sit-com or a movie she would go to another room to play by herself. Today at age 7 she is more observant than most kids and is a superior reader for her age.
    My sister brought up her girls without TV and my other son does not have TV for his two youngsters. We too haven’t had a TV for 3 years and love it. We rely on our CBC radio favourite programs and the news. Larraine.

    • Reply

      Green Mom

      September 1, 2014

      So nice to hear and I swear we have become better parents and kids more creative since we got rid of the TV.

  2. Reply


    September 2, 2014

    So glad to find others who have unplugged from the strangle-hold of the TV. I stopped having cable (which means no reception) in 2007. When I go into other people’s homes, I find that the TV is such a distraction~loud, flashing, and a lot of times just plain vulgar.

    • Reply

      Green Mom

      September 3, 2014

      Thanks you. I agree that TV is such distraction and I really didn’t like what it did to my kids or us for that matter. I believe we’re much better parents with no TV and our kids imagination and creativity is blossoming.

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