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As a parent to an extremely intelligent (yes I’m biased) 7 year old, I have learned to pick my battles carefully. I have less and less control over some things as he gets older and I become more exhausted from keeping him occupied while I try to sit down and breathe for a moment, so tv has become a few and far between friend.
In the beginning, (bible study anyone?) there was Teletubbies and Baby Einstein. My son was stimulated into a coma while I ran the house single handed due to a now former husband who wanted to be a rock star more than a father.
Television gave me just enough time to get some very important things done and then the child was pulled away (sometimes kicking and screaming) to use his human power. I would order him to go play in the fresh air and find some rocks to kick around.
I remember the television of my childhood, and it usually happened on Saturdays and not for too long. By noon, my mom was swinging a broom at us yelling “go play outside!” and we obediently filed toward the door.
Well, maybe it was because of the broom…
There was no audible lock, as my mother had an “in or out” rule. If you chose to come in and out of her house too many times bringing in dirt, flies and extra neighborhood kids, you got the all expense paid trip to ‘momma’s world’. Playing outside was fun. besides, who the hell wants to hang out with your mom and fold sheets all day?
“Not I!” , squeaked the fly (that was the one that sneaked in the house with the annoying neighborhood kids and the dirt.)
More kids should do it.
More parents should demand it.
For my mom, there was no convenience of 24 hour television programming for children. If there was nothing on the boob tube, we were up under her feet and life was bad for everyone.
As a mother now, I prescribe to my mother’s saving grace. That is to “get out, stay out and don’t come back until I call for dinner or until the street lights come on!” Mind you, this was all said in love, and i think the statute of limitations has run out on a call to CPS.
At an early age, my son was taught to go outside and play.
This upholds the idea that there is a difference between school clothes and play clothes.
I would send him to the backyard at age 3 or 4 and let him have at it. He could play in the hose and make mud puddles and chase the dogs around and get into all sorts of safe trouble. I could peek out the windows and know he was okay and could feel no worse for wear at having to hose him down before bringing him into the house.
I purposely did not subscribe to cable because I wanted to be in control of what my son watched when he did sit down for his coma sessions.
We watch public television. There is so much there for his brain to be inundated with and it is good stuff too.
After he graduated from Sesame Street and Teletubbies (Boobah was all wrong for my house), he moved on to Cyberchase, where got to use his thinking skills and Dragonfly TV where he got ideas for experiments he could do at home.
Regardless what your children watch, Adult Supervision should be required for ALL programming. Your child should feel comfortable asking questions and you should be there even if the question that comes up is “why does Tinky Winky carry a bag?”
At the same time time, children should be jazzed to go ride their bikes and build forts and get dirty.
Our only requirements as parents now is to not only demand that they use; instead of sedate their brains but dig in with them as well.