TV – Creative Ways to Wean Children


A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Creative Ways to Break a TV Habit

April 26, 2012

Original Photo Cred: Corsi Photo via Flickr

One of the things I, as a parent who doesn’t watch television, struggle most with is allowing my children to watch television.

I have fond memories of watching TV as a kid.

But, I have stronger memories of playing outside in the woods, building dirt and twig forts and running free, hosting tea parties for all of my dolls, playing school and spending hours recording stories on a cassette recorder.

Which of these memories bring back happier memories?

Not the ones about watching too TV. Those are barely a blip in my memory bank. But ask me about playing on my grandparent’s 50-acres and I can go on and on.

Children, for lack of knowing any better, will always choose to watch TV or go to the computer unless we teach them to think outside the box. For some people, like The Outlaw Mom, television has definite benefits.

For me, it’s about a balance so I prefer to redirect some of the time. Yet, it’s about saying yes as much as it’s about saying no.

Original Photo Cred: Greg Westfall via Flickr

I’ve asked some parents around the blogosphere to share their favorite strategies to distract children from television and other techno gadgets that seem to be invading our homes and here are some the best they had to offer as well as my own. These moms also have great sites to find many, many activities to do with your children instead of television.

10 Creative ways to Break a TV Habit:

Make it a Family ChoiceTake the pledge to really stop using gadgets as an everyday pasttime. Practice during Screen-Free week.Unplug.

Set the Stage: Cathy from the Nurture Store suggests setting up an “Invitation to Play” by having enticing materials to spark play all ready for when a child comes home from school. Maybe teddy bears waiting for a tea party  or some art materials.

Change up their Routine: Do not say a word but leave a surprise for them like Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon has done by putting art supplies on the kitchen table when they wake up in the morning.

Set Limits: Bernadette from 2 Posh Little Divas gives her children certain times when they can watch TV, but they cannot watch before school when she wants their brains to be quiet and focused before heading out for a day of learning. {In our house, we will say yes to TV only after certain chores are done as a way to get things picked up.}

Let them Choose: Have them make a list of things they think are cooler than TV. Honor their choices and respect them enough to help them happen. We’re big on letting our kids set most of the weekend’s to-do list. Or, they can choose something from their “Think Outside the Box Box.”

Loosen your Grip: The more we push them away from the TV, the more they may want it. Watch yourself and how much power you are giving these gadgets. Let go a bit. Rebekah from The Golden Gleam allows one hour in the middle of the day each day and that works nicely for her family.

Shoot your TV: {Just kidding!} Many people have turned off their TV service and now use only Netflix or Internet TV when they have the time and desire to watch. Jennifer Fischer at The Good Long Road said this works great for her family, which happens to make films for a living.

Play With Them: The most obvious, it seems, but sometimes we need reminded that children learn more from us than any toy or TV show. And, there aer many easy and fun ways to play including 25 Ways to Just Be With Your Child. And, here’s another 15 Ways to Play as a Family.

Use the TechnologyAngelique Felix uses YouTube to create videos that are appropriate and timed perfectly for her child. She shared two playlists with me: a 10-minute stories playlist and a 20-minute playlist.

Challenge Them: We have been known to resort to challenges at our house. Friendly competition, really. It always works to say something like, “Let’s see who can … ” and give them a challenge such as who can find the most circles, or who can draw the biggest castle. We’ve also done the Family Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt, which incorporated my girls’ gadgets with photography and exercise.

Talk to them: Point out the amazing things there are to do in life and how time is short — too short to sit in front of a television. I say this to my girls all the time. They do not ask to watch TV in the mornings and rarely in the afternoons because they realize that would be time away from more fun things like taking walks, playing and doing art projects. They still like TV, for sure, but they love to play together and as a family even more!

They understand that to make memories means connecting with family in meaningfuly ways.

I love that about them.

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s