Why My Kids Get No Screen Time

My kids get no “screen time”- in other words, they don’t watch TV. This is because we don’t own one, and I don’t allow them to watch anything on our tablets or phones. Actually, my kids don’t even ask for screen time- we don’t have a TV, and they have never watched on a tablet as they don’t even think of it as an option.

They are still young, so I still have some measure of control over what they know. By not having it in the house at all, I can ensure that I don’t just “give in”- even for a short amount of time.

Having a small amount of screen time is harder to enforce than no screen time. Taking something away from them is harder than never giving it in the first place. By having no screen time at all, I don’t have to deal with tantrums and fighting. Keeping the temptation away is easier than controlling the temptation. 

This also allows us to reduce the amounts of screens we have in the house- no screen time means no need for extra screens. I have a smartphone and a laptop, and my husband has a “dumb phone,” and we share a kindle. That’s it. We don’t buy screens because we do not need to use them.

Why my kids get no screen time

Cutting the Cord? No Need!

Besides the financial savings (No TV, no cable, no Netflix, no Hulu, no Amazon Prime, No DVD Rentals, no device for each kid), I want to raise my kids with good habits right from the start. My kids are still young, so I still have the opportunity to raise them without the peer pressure and external influences that start to seep in as they grow older.

TV is on for an average of 6 hours and 47 minutes a day in an American household. The number is staggering! Think about what you can do with all that extra time!

My kids read, do arts and crafts, play with toys, play with mud, and hang out. They are learning to do things with their time that are much more valuable than just sitting in front of a screen. This may not continue until adulthood, but they are not getting into the habit of sitting- they are getting into the habit of doing.

We spend a lot of time outdoors doing fun and frugal things. We may spend some money on toys and supplies, but at least we don’t have a cable bill. Part of embracing a frugal lifestyle is turning away from expensive electronics that constantly need updating and attention.

Controlling The Environment

TV also is FULL of marketing messages- subtle and overt. When we watch TV and movies, we are bombarded with different messages that OTHER people decide to share with us- usually in the pursuit of making themselves money (everyone’s gotta make a living!). I do not need for my children to be exposed to that.

Think of all the branded merchandise and characters available and marketed directly towards children. We hear and bemoan the “marketing zombies” that so many people have become- why should I offer my kids up for that? I’d rather have my kids grow up with the least amount of materialistic pressure possible. They will get enough of that from friends and relatives.

This may not be directly related to personal finance (even though think about the money we save by not buying a TV or any subscriptions services!). Still, it’s about creating life-long habits in ourselves and our children. It’s about starting as you mean to go on.

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

4 thoughts on “Why My Kids Get No Screen Time”

  1. I completely agree with all of this. Even though we do have a TV in our house it is in the basement and not in a prominent place in our family room. Although we do enjoy watching TV in the evenings – it is after the little one has gone to bed. We are consciously trying to keep screens away from her. She does know what a phone is and pretends to use everything as a phone but she doesn’t know how to use one. And has never sat in front of one for entertainment. Will this change eventually? Absolutely. But for now we can try our best to keep screens away from her.

  2. Our daughter went to a Waldorf school and TV and other screens were discouraged, especially for young children. Play, creativity and the natural world were stressed instead! It worked out well for her. I do think reducing or eliminating screen time is relevant to personal finance, too. We chose not to have a TV or pay for cable when our daughter was young, but to this day we still don’t pay for cable. There are other things we’d prefer to spend money on. Personal finance is all about aligning spending to match values. Spend on what’s important and cut the rest.

  3. I think it’s fantastic that you are able to go screen-free with your kids. While I agree with you that it may not stay this way forever, it’s nice for them to develop those habits of keeping busy instead of wasting hours on end watching TV or playing video games. I hope you are able to keep this going as long as possible.

  4. I love this so much and I basically grew up in the same way. We had a tiny TV when I was a kid and my dad watched the news in the evening, but otherwise it stayed switched off all day, even though my mother was stay-at-home. In fact, she took it a step further and used the TV as a threat. She would say, ‘If you don’t behave, I’ll put you in front of the TV instead of playing with you!’ and I would cry, ‘Noo mommy please, not the TV! Let’s read/play/garden …’


Leave a Comment