Limiting television time – part three – 50 options instead of tv

For some people trying to kick the television habit, they need more specific suggestions on how to occupy their time.  There is no reason for anyone to say they have “nothing to do” other than watch t.v. when there are so many other things to do in life.  Some options involve work.  Some options involve play.  You will want to do some every night while some you might want to do only once every week or two.  Either way, when you combine all your options, you have plenty to keep you busy so that the television should be in the basement.  Here are 50 more ideas on what you can do rather than flipping on that television switch! 

1.       Write a letter to your state or local representatives or senators about a topic of concern.

2.       Write a thank you note to someone who has done something nice for you recently.  I think this would be a terrific habit to establish on a weekly basis.  Keep a list of everyone you want to thank on your refrigerator and on a designated day of the week, write thank you letters to everyone on the list. 

3.       Bake cookies or homemade bread.  Do this for your family one night a week.  Do it for a friend on another night.  Do it for a local charity, fire station, police department, etc. on another night.  Deliver the cookies or bread the next day.

4.       Pick one room and do thorough cleaning.

5.       Clean out a closet.

6.       Refill all your salt and pepper shakers, flour containers, sugar canisters, cereal canisters.

7.       Empty and refill all your ice trays.

8.       Wash your car.  Wax your car.  Let your children help.  Even little children enjoy watching all the black wash off hubcaps.

9.       Read a book aloud to your children.  Reading aloud is one of the most enjoyable activities you will ever do.

10.   Listen to a book on tape.

11.   Teach your children to play marbles.  Do you even remember how?  Do you still own marbles?  You can still buy marbles at the local dollar store.  This is a FUN game!   I can remember playing marbles under our dirt carport when I was a child.  I always lost to my aunt, who was slightly older than me, but it was lots of fun and I still like playing marbles.

12.   Play croquet with your children.

13.   Mow the lawn.  OK.  That sounds like work, but you could put on some headphones and make it relaxing work or think of it as exercise.  I love to mow the lawn when I feel well enough to walk that much.

14.   Get sick.  I guarantee you that if you’re as sick as I am, you won’t want to watch television because you’ll be so sick, you won’t want to watch t.v. because all you’ll want to do is sleep.  That one may not be fair because obviously this one should not be a goal for anyone, but it should make you think.  Enjoy the time you have.  Enjoy the fact that you have choices.  You do have choices!!  Don’t waste your time watching television.  Finish reading some other choices you have and choose some of those over television.

15.   Make a picnic lunch or dinner and eat a long meal outside with your family.

16.   Make homemade paper dolls out of cardboard.

17.   Make a town out of cardboard houses.

18.   Catch lightning bugs.

19.   Sit and watch the birds.

20.   Sit and listen to the sounds of nature.

21.   Just sit and focus on God’s word.

22.   Read the Word of God.

23.   Practice learning where different countries are on the map.

24.   Go camping.

25.   Create a website.

26.   Make up stories and tell to one another.

27.   Look at family photographs together.

28.   Create a scrapbook with your child.

29.   Pass baseball, softball, football in the yard for an hour.

30.   Go for a jog.

31.   Groom your dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig.

32.    Make a bonfire and roast marshmallows.

33.   Invite friends over to visit.

34.   Practice multiplication tables.

35.   Have a spelling bee.

36.   Give children a ruler or a measuring tape (not one that will spring back and cut them) and let them go around the house and measure things.

37.   Make a pie.

38.   Practice dancing.

39.   Talk.  Since the invention of televisions, telephone, computer and many other modern “conveniences,” the act of talking is almost a lost art.  This is sad.  Despite what modern evolutionists teach, mankind has always had a spoken language ever since God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Turn off the television and spend the time just talking with your children.

40.   Make a rag doll with your child.  After that’s done, play dolls with your little one.  Learn how to make doll clothes for the rag doll.

41.   Have a scavenger hunt.  If it’s warm weather, do it outside.  If it’s cold weather, do it inside!

42.   Make finger puppets out of felt.

43.   Visit a local nursing home.  Sometimes new moms don’t want to do this because they think their young children will be a burden to the elderly occupants there, but the residents usually greatly enjoy these young visitors.

44.   Build a house out of cards.  Do you remember when you used to entertain yourself with such mundane tasks?

45.   Play Mad Libs with your preteen children.  Not only will they love it, but it’s a great way for them to develop language arts skills!

46.   Spend some time looking for something you’ve lost.

47.   Write out a list of all the things you want to do during the warm summer months.  Write out a list of all the things you want to do during the cold winter months. 

48.   Work a puzzle as a family.  Put a more difficult puzzle on a larger table and make sure you keep an easier puzzle available on a smaller table.

49.   If you’re trying to entice your spouse away from the television, offer him/her a foot massage and an opportunity to chat about whatever he/she wants.

50.   Paint your daughter’s fingernails and toenails, brush her hair and spend time just talking.  For your son, give him a back rub or perhaps a fun game of wrestling.  The point is to spend time together and interact rather than spending time together in the same room ignoring one another while you stare at the television.

So there are fifty more ideas you can use to get you off the couch and interacting with your children, your spouse, your family, your community, or God.  The goal in these articles wasn’t specifically to make you spend time with one particular person so much as to stop watching so much television.  The natural outcome of eliminating or reducing television is that families will spend more time together and that is terrific!  However, you will also have more time specifically with God, more time with your children, more time to focus on things you want to do individually, etc.

In the next installment of this series of articles, I’ll talk about what to do if you want to eliminate television time, but your spouse has the remote attached to his/her palm.

Sonya Haskins



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