One thing I have never adjusted to is having the TV running all the time.
Actually, as a kid we never had a television. As I remember it, the first TV we had in our home growing up was given to us when I was 16 years old. It was always comical watching our friends come to visit for the first time. They'd walk in the front door, look around very confused, and then would come the familiar question, "Where's your TV????" We'd say, "We don't have one." It was always interesting to watch the following expressions, which usually went like this, "What do you DO all day long???"
That question always stumped us. We found so much to do that we would never have had time for a television. Or quite possibly it would have been the reverse. We would have watched so much TV that we would have missed all the fun, zany, bizarre, creative moments that filled our days.
Oh.....we organized skating rinks on our huge back patio - where we also sold lemonade and candy (and charged an entrance fee. Did I mention we were also incredible entrepreneurs?) We got all the neighborhood kids involved in our skit team and we'd hold a "Skit Night" where we presented all of our dramas (again, we charged an entrance fee). We made "Barbie mansions" in our room and there was nothing we couldn't make out of paper.
Today I have a TV in my home. But, Z and I have both agreed to extremely limit what our son watches on TV. In fact, we've all but limited his viewing to videos and DVDs because this way we have greater control over what is influencing his little life. At this point he really doesn't care to watch anything beyond Veggie Tales, and we're happy about that.
Z has co-workers whose kids enjoy watching Croatian Big Brother. Considering the fact that a child has actually be conceived on our Big Brother show, to say that it is not fit for children is a major understatement. But their excuse is, "But he enjoys watching it. What can I do to stop it??" I have a few tips, but they probably wouldn't appreciate them!
We also have a few more media ground rules:
1. Robi is not allowed to play with our cell phones. We know other parents allow it. And that's fine. This is our rule. First of all, an 18-month old does not understand, "breakable" - and so to avoid having to buy new cell phones every month, we put ours out of reach and he knows he's not supposed to touch them. Second of all, kids get enough "screens" in their life. They don't need one more version of a screen.
2. We limit how many Veggie Tales he can watch in a day. This number is not fixed. It can vary depending on the weather. But I can assure you that the number is somewhere between 2-3. This limits his screen time to 1 & 1-1/2 hours a day - MAX.
3. When he's not watching Veggie Tales the TV is off, except in the evenings. Occasionally I'll turn on a music video and he'll watch bits and pieces of that. But, generally speaking the TV is only going in the evenings and mostly after he goes to bed.
4. We have strict rules about what is watched in our home by adults. We don't have "adult movies" and "kid movies". If it's not fit for a kid's ears it's not on our shelves or allowed to be shown on our TV. Most people may find our DVD collection boring, or even juvenile, but we have strong convictions about language, innuendo, nudity, violence, and "adult themes". Quite honestly, just because it portrays "real life" doesn't mean it portrays the life I live and I don't want to watch that kind of "real life". It's a life we've chosen to reject. How then can we find it entertaining? And isn't the purpose of entertainment to escape real life for an hour or two? I find those negative elements disturbing, not entertaining. So, if I want to be disturbed I can just walk out my front door or take a walk around town. I am sure I'll find enough, "real life" out there to disturb me for an hour or two!
I know we will eventually get to the stage where he'll want to play video games, play on the internet and watch "real"movies. But we plan to stay very involved and micro-manage what enters his eye and ear gates. And I don't feel the least bit bad about my plans whatsoever. Will I be able to protect him from evil forever? No. I am not that naive. But I do plan to try for as long as I can.
Limiting a child's "screen time" gives him ample time to cultivate his natural creative abilities. And there is nothing sweeter than watching my Robi imitate his mommy! *grin* I had the best time this morning watching him take my watering can and "water" all the plants around my house. I love it when he "sweeps the floor", or follows me around with his Fisher Price Corn Popper as I vacuum, pretending that he's vacuuming like mommy. And to think, if the TV was taking his attention away from me I may be missing these treasured moments!
Linking up over at Women Living Well Media Mondays
Thank you for sharing...