The Benefits of Cutting Back on TV

One day I got tired of the family watching so much television, so I turned it off.These are the benefits I've found for cutting back on tv.

One day I got tired of the family watching so much television, so I turned it off.These are the benefits I've found for cutting back on tv.

I’m not gonna lie – the television at our house is probably on more than it’s off. I think it’s there more for my sanity than for the kids’ viewing pleasure. However, I’m trying something new – we’re cutting back on TV. No TV on Sundays or in the afternoons. And I’m finding that there are several benefits to watching less television.

I’m not overly concerned with my kids being exposed to too much screen time or inappropriate shows. It’s rare for any of the kids to sit still and zone out watching shows – they’ve got too much other stuff to do. The TV is there more for background noise and the occasional distraction. In the mornings we watch shows on PBS Kids, like Sesame Street and Dinosaur Train. And my son would tell you his day in incomplete without some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (I like to humor myself by thinking what we’re watching is educational.)

That being said, one day I got sick of TV. I got tired of the constant noise and my son’s desire to watch Mickey Mouse NONSTOP. Not only that, the girls are getting really weird about whatever is on. They don’t really watch it, but they want something familiar on, or I’ve got two rampaging, crying, screaming one-year-olds on my hands. No idea why. The only show they seem to want right now is New Girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love that show, but my three-year-old echo is going to pick up on some lovely choice phrases if we watch it much more.

It started out slowly. When I got all the kids in bed for their afternoon naps, I’d turn it off and go do blog stuff, read, or clean. When the kids got up, I just wouldn’t turn it back on until after they were in bed. Then one Sunday we just never turned it on. We didn’t feel the need to. It was quiet and peaceful. So I thought we could make this a thing.

Some days this works out really well, other days not as much. My son seems to have a lot more energy and resistance to listening on days with no television. But I do enjoy the quiet moments. 

These are the benefits I’ve found for cutting back on TV:

Family Time

We’ve gotten in some good quality family time on Sundays. Without the extra distraction, we’re able to focus on each other. We’re not bickering or bargaining over what we’re watching. There are no hissy fits over missed cartoons when Momma and Daddy can’t take anymore squeaky voices. It’s more peaceful.


Since I’ve started blogging, I try to keep Sundays empty so that I can spend the day focusing on my family. With no blogging and no TV, I’ve actually found the time to start reading again. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, but between kids, house, and blog, there’s not really any time. Until now. 


When I say we don’t turn on the tv on Sundays, I mean at all. It even stays off after we get the kids in bed. Usually our evenings are spent catching up on the DVR, but on Sundays we have a nice quiet evening. There’s something about this that makes the evening feel more restful and restorative. Hubs and I get good time together, reading, writing, or playing card/board games. That’s a great way to wrap up the weekend and refresh before the weekly hustle starts.


There for a while, the only songs stuck in my head were from Elmo or Mickey. Nothing’s more annoying than jamming out in the shower singing the freaking Hotdog song! I know you know what I’m talking about. I feel so out of touch with whatever is current in music. So now we’re listening again, and it’s amazing. I hear my son singing songs to himself. We have impromptu dance parties all the time. Even the girls join in. One of my favorite things to do is sing and dance in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, and I love that the kids are learning that, too.


I am getting so much more done. Once the kids go to bed for their afternoon naps, I turn off the TV. In the past that’s when I would zone out and watch all the shows that I can’t watch with Hubs (Grey’s Anatomy… Scandal…). Since I’ve stopped my afternoon binge-watching, I’ve actually gotten a lot more done. Mostly blogging, but also the occasional laundry and housework. 

As a stay-at-home-mom it’s easy to feel trapped in your house with no connection to the outside world. In the past, television filled that void for me. But this little experiment I’m trying has rebooted my brain. I don’t feel like a total show-obsessed zombie. If you asked me about my day a month ago, I could have told you everything that happened on TV. Now I’ll tell you about the book I read, the post I wrote, and maybe, MAYBE the laundry I got done (don’t push it). 

Like I said earlier, I’m not worried about my kids having too much screen time, but I do like how things are going for now. They still get their morning shows (or New Girl episodes, depending on the girls’ moods). We’ll still have our occasional binges, but I feel like I’m in charge of the TV now, instead of the other way around.

So, honestly (no one’s judging), what’s the TV like in your house? Always on for background noise? Never on at all? Tell me below in the comments!

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About Samantha

I am a SAHM to three kids and a menagerie of pets. I love coffee, books, crafts, wine, cooking, and more coffee. Seriously, I couldn't function without coffee. Read more about me!


  1. Good to know I wasn’t the only one plagued with the Hot Dog Song in my head-haha We actually don’t watch too much TV in our household either (who has the time?!) We would much rather spend time together outside or doing something as a family. Great post!
    Cara recently posted…February Beauty FavoritesMy Profile

  2. Yea I feel ya. When hubby is home, the TV is always on. I tend to keep it off and have quiet, but the Sprout channel is usually on because it helps drown out Baby H’s complaining lol
    Julie S. recently posted…Gratitude and Goals March 4, 2016 #GratitudeGoalsMy Profile

  3. YES Harry Potter!!! Kudos to you guys. I struggle very much with turning the TV off, and this has actually been one of my goals to work on. More reading, less Grey’s Anatomy!!
    Chelsea recently posted…It’s Okay to Put Yourself First SometimesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Chelsea! I usually read HP once a year or so, but things have been incredibly busy lately. I’m a few years behind on my re-reading!

  4. Working from home, I have a rule: in the morning the tv is only on when I’m doing e-mails. Lately since the weather has been nice, I’ve just been working outside. Just turn Pandora on and occasionally be distracted by the dogs. Mentally, I just feel so much better without hours of tv every day!

  5. We have one night a week for TV watching but that’s it, otherwise we fill it with other things. Granted a lot of those other things is video games and educational YouTube. But we do and choose those together and interact more than just straight TV. It’s great that you guys have impromptu dance sessions now!!

    • Our DVR is in control of most of our evenings, but I’m starting to really enjoy the quiet nights. 🙂 And the dance parties are great! It’s ridiculously cute to see all three kids dancing around.

  6. You’re right on if the productivity part. Once I cut out TV I was able to do so much more… like sleep… jk. Cutting out TV was difficult but once I got through the early withdrawal I was surprised how little I missed it.
    Jay recently posted…Five for Friday!My Profile

  7. I am totally with you! I love my tv, that’s for sure, and like you, we often have it on as background noise, even as we’re playing or doing other things. Yesterday I turned it off to read, for my daughter and later for myself, and it was just so refreshin.

  8. It’s funny, I actually watch more TV now than I have done in years. I read loads and have no problems being productive. The problem I had was switching off from work (which I love). My son loves films and certain tv series Doctor Who, Scorpion… And wants me to watch them with him. So now I make a point of switching off and enjoying our mutually enjoyed time together. We watch most things on catch up so our time is never dictated to by what time a TV show is on.
    Wendy Tomlinson recently posted…Morning Business Chat. Confused about SEO? Networking and SnapchatMy Profile

    • That’s awesome! I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to enjoy watching Scorpion! 🙂 And thank goodness for DVRs and Hulu! We never actually get to watch prime time shows as they’re airing.

  9. Neely (@Neelykins)

    I should really cut back but then Dance Moms…

  10. I grew up in a household where the tv never was turned off. When I moved out and got married I love keeping it off. Love the silence! I feel like even as background noise my brain is overstimulated. We also only have one tv and keep it in the living room. I’m so much more productive without it!

    Greta |

  11. I get so much more done when the TV is off and I don’t get sidetracked on my phone. My school work gets done and i feel I have more time.

  12. I have TV issues. And I know it’s me more than my kids! I really need to work on breaking the habit because I know it’s not doing us any favors! Loved this post.
    Erin recently posted…Why I Made a $2 Debt PaymentMy Profile

    • I know! I have it stuck in my head that the day will go smoother if the TV is on just for “my” benefit. I’m also a liar. Things are fine without it. I’m not against TV at all, we love it, and my son learns a lot from Sesame Street and all the others. But cutting back for myself has made things better.

  13. When I first became I mom I had no idea what I was doing. I would let my daughter watch tv all day. Then I got tired of it. I started off with no tv in the morning then eventually we went all day with no tv. It helped me and her so much. lately, I’ve been letting my kids watch more tv then usual (I’ve been sick) but soon we will go to watching no tv.
    Healing Mama recently posted…Where’s The Pause Button On Life?My Profile

    • All bets are off when you’re not feeling well, so TV is totally fine! 🙂 I’m so glad your starting to feel better!

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