Since having our daughter we have made the decision to limit her exposure to the media. To us this means gifting her with a magical childhood, free of television and allowing her to explore the world and just be a child. She will only have one childhood and will have the rest of her life to enjoy television (if she so pleases). Many people who I tell this to are quite shocked and think that this is a very extreme measure.
I recently went to a talk at our local Steiner pre-school entitled "images in a young child's life".
After listening to the presentation I really cannot see one benefit of television for a young child (say under 7 years old) other than it being a babysitting tool for parents.
We talked about......
- archetypal images verses stereotypical images - less is more. The less formed an object i.e. a doll without facial features (unlike those Bratz or Dora the Explorer), or a simple train (not Thomas the Tank Engine), the more the child can use their imagination and the greater the possibilities for play
- increased tantrums and other behavioural disorders - every image seen is internalised and needs to be processed. We talked about how children process and digest images through their play and how difficult this becomes when exposed to hundreds of different images in one viewing session.
- children becoming too informed and loosing the wonder and magic of childhood
- the importance of movement and 'doing' for a child
- impact on sleep and night waking due to over stimulation
- impact on the relationship between siblings
- how dull the real world may seem to a child who has just experienced the sensory overload television has to offer
......and so much more I just don't have time to write it all here.
Images are in our minds forever.
I can vividly remember one image from a video we watched in Religious Education when at school.
An awful image I have never been able to remove from my mind still to this day.
My step daughters live in a television free home. I can honestly say I have never had a moment when I have thought gee I wish I could just sit them in front of the TV.
Their imaginations are full to the brim of things to do.
They are such sweet children, so innocent and pure.
They are so trusting of this world and of other people.
They play with such creativity and confidence.
We still have a television in our house. my husband and I occasionally watch a cooking show, and (he) the rugby, however weeks have gone by and we realise that we haven't even turned it on.
Prior to having my little one, I worked long hours in a corporate job, often traveling overseas and without a doubt enjoyed many hours staring at the television as a means of 'relaxing'. I now think what a waste of time! I recognise that television has its place in adult society, however feel that it is just so over used.
The time my little one is in bed at night is really the only time I have for myself (once all the tidying etc. is finished). I make pretty much all of her toys myself so spend my evening hours sewing, reading and of course blogging! Recently I have started giving sewing classes in my home - I have so much enjoyed inspiring other mums to make simple toys for their children and to encourage some creative timeout.
I hope this post gets you thinking.
Be an informed parent.
Don't just accept the norm and what everyone else does.
...turn off the television...
...have a tea party with your children...
...join a book club...
...join a sewing group...
...have friends for dinner...
...have a candle lit dinner with your partner...
...sit down to a good book and a glass of wine...
Enjoy living your life, not watching it go by as you stare at the screen
....isn't that why we are here?