TV-free Tuesdays

My sister and her husband have started something they call TV-free Tuesdays. Like so many of us they found themselves starting to slip into the habit of switching on the idiot box after dinner each night. Now I’m going to admit something so few people do: I love TV. Love it. It’s true. I love big fantasy dramas like Game of Thrones, reality shows like 24 hours in Emergency and One Born Every Minute, Aussie comedic dramas like Offspring, documentaries, the list goes on. The problem with loving TV and switching the TV on each night out of habit is you usually end up watching more than just the show you had planned. The hours pass and before you know it you’ve wasted the whole evening sitting in a stupor on the lounge, often in close proximity to your partner without actually engaging them in meaningful conversation. Now that ain’t good.

So what’s the alternative? Leave the TV off and do something instead. Read a book, do some knitting, bonus points if you do something together such as a jigsaw puzzle or card game. The main thing is to break that mind numbing habit and reconnect with yourself and or your partner and family. Get away from the constant screens at which we seem to endlessly stare (computers, TVs, phones, tablets etc) and engage in something fun and active.

Games and puzzles

Matisse jigsaw puzzle

I often keep my eyes open for jigsaw puzzles at op shops. I’ve picked up some great ones including the Matisse pictured. I love puzzles that are artworks. The hardest I’ve completed so far is Blue Poles– it took ages! I also picked up this wonderful Book of Games which is full of every type of card, dice, gambling, and table game. It’s great for inspiration and also as a rule book to which players can refer- especially important when you’re playing with family!

Book of Games

Dix Mille

One of our favourite games is Farkle. It’s a dice game also known as Dix Mille, 10,000, 6 Dice and so on. All you need to play are six dice and pen and paper to keep score. The aim of the game is to be the first to reach 10,000 and points are scored by adding up the dice as you take turns. It’s a great game as no particular skill is needed and it can be played anywhere (we often take our dice to the park and lie in the sun playing for hours) and with any number of players. You can even play in teams if you want. It’s also a good way to get kids to practise their math (addition and multiplication) and probability calculations.

Do you find yourselves slipping into bad screen habits (please tell me we’re not the only ones!)? Have you tried TV-free nights or a family games night? If so, what are your favourite things to do? I love the idea of this becoming a little family ritual.

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7 comments

  1. When we got married, 22 years ago, we decided that we didn’t want a TV…and haven’t wanted one since. Where do people find the ‘average’ 4.8 hours a day they spend watching (or whatever the current figure actually is!) We do pop up to my Mom’s (3 doors up) to watch the Tour de France once a year – an hour a day for 3 weeks – but that’s it!

    1. I certainly think I’d be more productive without a TV but I confess I couldn’t give it up entirely! We go without TV when we visit the family farm and it’s wonderful to ‘detox’ from the screens for an extended period. Quite a few people I know have gotten rid of their TV and just use their computers to watch certain programs/events on demand (e.g. the Tour de France). Good on you for doing what you want rather than what society tells us we should do! When we got rid of our microwave people kept offering to give us their old one or spare one- it was so funny the way people couldn’t comprehend we didn’t want one. I imagine it’s the same with not wanting a TV!

  2. Yes the Tv is an issue. I have banned electronics in the house until after dinner – as the kids would be gravitating towards screens straight after school. If my husband and i are not watching tv, then i am knitting, blogging or reading, and he is playing his shooting game on the wii. i bought a dartboard for my son for his birthday and we’ve had the odd game. I think a family darts/games night would be a good idea. Each person could have a turn choosing the game. I like the sound of your dice game. I used to quite like yahtzee.

    1. When we were little my Dad made a big show every morning of unplugging the TV aerial cable and putting it in his briefcase and taking it to work with him. It meant we couldn’t watch TV before or after school and of course we entertained ourselves by playing outside and burning off all that childhood energy. We hated him for it at the time (everyone else got to watch cartoons!) but now I look back and appreciate it. We had a dartboard too and it was great! Another game that’s good for maths (certain aspects of maths are my weakness) and fun for any age!

  3. My dad took our TV to the shed (a kilometer away!) during the school year and we only had it for holidays. The ironic thing is that now I am a filmmaker!!

    I would love to get away from the tv (and the internet) but it is a very hard habit to break. I am always trying though and making a dedicated night to be free from it is a great idea!

  4. At one time when I was trying to get out of the habit of slumping in front of the TV for the whole evening, I set up a system where I had to designate what shows I would watch for the week to my housemate – it was a good way of being intentional and accountable for my tv time.

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