If you’re new to this blog in the last day or two, you might want to start with the first installment of this 3-part series of posts. I started with The Media Dilemma, then followed that with media in the home being a Work in Progress for us.
I ended the last media-related post mentioning that Hubs and I had an eye-opening, or rather brain-opening evening hearing from Kim John Payne. I have not read Simplicity Parenting…yet. However, I have spent several years around a few parents who have either read the book or others like it and who are far more “unplugged” than even we are at this stage. The children from these families do not see screens in the home, at all. No computer access, no TV access, no phones or tablets for them to play on.
None of that really had a huge impact on me because parenting is a lot of “to each his own” unless you plan to “follow” a friend’s lead on every single decision. I admired them for their tenacity in keeping up the commitment, but that was about it.
Once I became more aware of what Sensory Processing Disorder really is and how my child struggles with it at some level is when I felt I should begin to think about that type of “home life” a little more seriously. I certainly could argue that screens, most especially the television screen, should be limited to young children if for no other reason than the commercials and the content of the various shows. Most of my mom-friends were in agreement about which cartoons were off-limits, for example.
I feel I should have started Friday’s post with a disclaimer of sorts. This blog and the views posted on it are solely my own personal thoughts and opinions. I am a firm believer that what works for me and my family does not mean that I think all families should follow suit. I do not write to cast judgment on anyone’s personal views and I welcome courteous discussion regarding any subject I choose to write about.
One of the most difficult aspects of understanding what is “best” in regards to TV viewing and children are the “facts” and opinions shared about it. Shared from other parents. Shared from your parents. Shared from the pediatrician, the talking heads, conservative websites, liberal websites. You name it, there’s an opinion on every level. I have friends who are educators who rail against kids watching TV and I have educator friends who see no problem with either TV or computer access being allowed to any child of any age. Sometimes, the opinions come with validated reasons and other times, usually from other parents, they are perplexed about the issue and aren’t secure in the decisions they’ve made regarding media in the home.
Just because the AAP says “not before the age of 2” does not mean that all children who view screens of any kind prior to that age are forever “messed up”. And just because an adult grew up watching hours of television each day does not mean that they should use that reasoning to decide whether or not watching TV is a good thing for kids today. Each child is different, processes things differently, has different vulnerabilities, different strengths. What can negatively impact one child can seemingly appear to have little impact on another child of the same age. It can be very confusing to know the best direction to take!
With that said, our reasons for strongly limiting access to TV viewing and computer screen time, both for ourselves and for our children, come from various sources and, as the blog post title states, are in a continual state of change. What seems to be working for us right now does not mean that we plan to stick with this as long as we have children in the home. However, it is working for now, which is why I feel compelled to share about it.
I’m sure this topic has been around since the term “media” became a part of any culture’s vocabulary. Whether you are single or married, have children or not, work outside the home or stay home, own a house or rent an abode, media and screens are a part of your life and decisions are made about them on an every day, if not an hourly, basis.
I’m also very aware that there hundreds of thousands of opinions, factually-based or otherwise, on what is deemed “healthy” or not, whether you’re talking about children under the age of 5, people of all ages, length of time screens should be viewed, noise level, screen flashes, content, level of interaction, and the list goes on and on and on.
I distinctly remember the first night we had D home from the hospital. There he was, all snug in his blanket like a little burrito, eyes wide open as he was taking everything in, and our humongous TV was on. My only “plan” I had at that stage of mommy-hood was that I was going to do everything in my power to keep him from viewing the TV screen until the age of 2, as recommended by D’s pediatrician and the AAP. No problem, I thought. I can totally do that.
It’s days like these that I don’t have to wonder why some mom’s choose to work outside the home.
It’s days like these that make me doubt the saying “It all goes by in the blink of an eye!”
It’s days like these that I fall far short of my own definition of what a “good mother” is.
It’s days like these that I can’t help but be thankful for my supportive, hands-on husband.
It’s days like these that my secret stash of chocolate gets me through to the next hour.
It’s days like these that I’m thankful we live in a sunny climate.
It’s days like these that I MUST remember the bigger picture of my family’s life and trust that there is a purpose in the chaos during the day.
The day isn’t over. There’s more opportunity for hugs rather than shouts, for kisses rather than tears, for laughter rather than anger.
photo courtesy of MSOffice Photo Gallery
I learned 8 things in 3 minutes today.
If you are a parent of children under the age of 5, or you have children in your midst under the age of 5, or you know someone with children under the age of 5, then this information may be helpful for you to learn as well.
1. Always keep a safety gate to keep little ones away from an area where you store medicine.
2. A 24-lb. two-year-old child does not need to be rushed to the emergency room if he has consumed 6 birth control pills. He may have a puke incident once or twice a few hours later, but no major harm done.
3. Post your local poison control number in an easy-to-find place in your home. Better yet, put it on speed dial on your cell phone.