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Mom Puts Her Kids on TV Fast, Kids Thrive

With a love for cultivating an “old-fashioned” life and returning to what truly matters, a mom of three encouraged her kids to adopt a “TV fast” for three months. Jill Winger lives on a 67-acre family homestead in Wyoming with her husband, Christian Winger, and their three kids: Mesa(13), Bridger (10), and Sage (7).

We didn’t really watch a ton of TV, we just had Netflix and Hulu. My kids would watch shows an hour and a half in the afternoons. Then because we have long winters in Wyoming, our family would kind of default to the TV in the evenings after supper.

Mrs. Winger began asking herself, “What other activities is the TV displacing?” She posed the question to her husband and kids, and together they made a decision: They would go on a TV fast. “Three months, from December 1, 2022, to March 1, 2023, we would not watch any TV. We just said, ‘Let’s experiment with what happens.’”

Shockingly, I expected more pushback; the kids were not super upset. I think they knew that they were turning on the TV kind of mindlessly, without really enjoying it. So, when we told them our plan, they were kind of like, “OK, we’ll try it!”

Together, the family discussed what to do with the time freed up by quitting TV. One of the first ideas to emerge was reading books together. Another impulse that emerged was to learn new hobbies. The three kids together taught themselves chess, started cooking more, and became more engaged in homesteading activities.

When the family reached the end of their TV fast on March 1, they sat down to discuss the experience and came to a surprising conclusion: They wanted to continue. They decided to set aside special time once or twice a month to watch a movie as a family and preserve their newfound free time for hobbies and creative pursuits. She insists that it’s not crucial to live on a homestead; even in the city, there are free resources, such as outdoor play, board games, and local libraries.

A TV “fast,” by definition, is finite. “It could be a week, it could be a month ... pick your time,” Mrs. Winger said. “Then I think it’s really important to have a conversation with the whole family, to get everybody on board and help them understand why you’re doing this.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

While we all may not live on a 67-acre homestead or have three children, we can learn a lot from this family. Whether we are adults or youth, we all spend too much time on our screens and waste many hours that could be put to better use, whether learning a new skill or hobby, in fellowship with others, or in serving the Lord.

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