My children have complete freedom to watch tv whenever they want and whatever they want. We have two tv’s and two portable tv/DVD players. If children have access to it all the time, won’t they always want to be on it? Let’s look at what they did today:
Emmett (2.5 years)- a Bigfoot movie held his attention for TWO MINUTES because Nova and her babies were much more interesting. We had some great opportunities to work out some stuff. Emmett kept stealing her baby and we had to find a way to meet both their needs. Need for a baby of his own, and Nova needed to play with hers peacefully. We did it!
Nova (4 yrs) -She didn’t watch any tv in the morning. She played with her babies. In the afternoon, She played outside, played LEGO, happily went to karate and then went to her grandmas house, cane home and crashed.
Chaz (6 yrs)- he didn’t watch any tv in the morning but I’m not really sure what he did do. 😀 at lunch he brought the tv/DVD to the table while he ate and watched that Big Foot Movie, TWENTY MINUTES. He spent the rest of the afternoon pursuing his other interests with Nova (LEGO, snow fort building and karate). Chaz went to karate. In the evening he went with his grandma to help cut up deer with the hunters.
Michael (11 3/4 yrs) -he didn’t watch any tv in the morning. He did however attempt to wake up early again by setting clock for 7 am. He has expressed interest in self-regulating his sleep and schedule. After his alarm went off, He stumbled out to the living room and slept on the couch for most of the morning. I’m guessing he didn’t want to miss anything. Michael spent the afternoon outside in the snow building forts, or maybe it was one giant snow fort. He made rooms for his siblings and they helped on and off. Just before supper Michael used my smart phone, so I’ll count that towards tv time, SIXTY-FIVE MINUTES. He watched a show before bed, I’m guessing SIXTY MINUTES.
Total times spent on tv (or other screens) in one day:
Emmett- 2.5 minutes (or less!)
Nova- no TV at all, but she did play on her dads phone around supper time.
Chaz – 20 minutes
Michael- 2 hours ( part of that was time spent on my phone)
With that being said, I want to say that I am not against them using the tv. Sometimes they watch a lot and other days they don’t watch any. The point is to use our technology responsibly. I think excessive and mindless tv consumption only happens when children are not engaged in the world around them. So rather than tv being the problem, it is really a symptom to be dealt with at the source: Disconnection to others. I still think we can watch tv and be connected though (nothings black and white for me). My son, Chaz who Is six, we connect over watching documentaries on dinosaurs. He loves telling me about what he sees or is learning. I live sharing this passion with him.
Back to too much Tv being a symptom, I’ve noticed that when I am busy, or not feeling well (depressed, sad, angry, etc) I become disengaged with the children and they tend to watch more tv. I’m learning to connect with them even through these emotions. I am seeing how I can be sad or tired and still be available for them.