Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Media

Everyday my kids ask to watch TV or do some other kind of media (leapfrog, leappad, online games, movies, you tube etc etc). They sometimes BEG for it. I'm sure your kids do to right? 

(This is with MY kids, not necessarily yours out there who are reading, so please don't think I'm judging you at all.) But what I've come to realize is that more than a half an hour of media a day, turns my kids into crazy monsters! (Enter shrieks and multiple heads and eyes here!)

 If Autumn watches a whole movie...or spends more than a half hour/hour on media she comes out CRYING (like wailing, uncontrollable, balling) and Noah, well, just isn't normal Noah. He's morphed into this needy, whiney, teary thing that I don't know anymore. Seriously.
 So I've thought about it for a while and realized what the root of it is....self control. There's no need to have self control when your watching TV, it's just gratifying, right there! There's no need to be kind or patient, the world just goes RIGHT when your sitting in front of something entertaining. There is no one coloring in on your page, or taking your toys, saying unkind things. ALL is right with the world when you let media wash over you. They don't get practice interacting and pretending and just being a kid, and so it's easier to freak out when all doesn't go your way.

After watching TV my kiddies LOOSE it if their juice isn't poured RIGHT when they ask. Why? Well on TV and games everything happens right away, so they expect gratification right away. And pretend play just seems BORING after not having to think the whole day.
 I've realized it takes self control on my part too. Like if I haven't showered and gotten ready for the day right away in the morning, then I'm tempted to just switch on the TV for an hour or more while I get ready ...and then I have this quiet morning hour when Jude naps and my kiddies are in front of the Tube where I can do what I want to do instead of serving my children. It  sounds tempting doesn't it? A QUIET morning? :) No discipline, no crumbs on the floor, no split juice, no interruptions when your on the phone, no tears when it didn't go just their way and your house is clean! Just a selfish little hour/ hour and a half all to me. Hmmmm. Just one little movie right? (I'm talking tame stuff here like Mickey Mouse and Little Einsteins, in case your wondering)
But then I regret it, the rest of the day.  If I pull out a coloring project they are bored within 5 minutes. If I try to do reading with them they are restless, because it's just not as self gratifying as TV.

But like this morning they didn't watch TV at all, and they colored for an hour and a half!  I tell you if they had media it would have been 5 minutes and then "I'm bored" or a fight would have broken out between them.
 On days where I get ready before breakfast, and have a PLAN of what I'm going to do that morning with my kiddies, well it's just a much better day. It's way more work on my part, but I have these kids that I just LOVE hearing their stories, and that whimsically morph into pretend knights and princesses, and tables become pirate ships, and our dog Spurgeon becomes the bad guy, and a normal bed is suddenly an airplane.  I get to read the Bible to them and then when it doesn't go their way I can remind them AGAIN of the gospel.
So....during Jude's nap (9-11 every morning) I try and come up with a plan for my kiddies. Half an hour of coloring, some reading, some songs, some Bible, outside play etc). It takes work to plan but it's WORTH it....Noah's going to Kindergarten next year and I won't have these precious mornings with him in just a few months. And when I chat to him I just realize how much I love his little soft heart and how he just GRASPS the Bible so quickly when I read it to him. He connects things that I've never even thought of, and then I'm learning too.

Some things that I've really loved lately are....stick figure through the Bible. It's an idea I got here:

I didn't order a lesson plan I just come up with my own where you have to draw a concept in the Bible. So like today we just did Psalm 139 and my kids drew people standing, sitting, and sleeping and we talked about how God sees/knows everything we do. We are also doing MFW homeschool (I don't stick to this though much cause it's a bit repetitive and boring) but it goes through 1 letter a week, so then we talk about that and practice reading etc. Every day is a bit different but I try and do something educational/reading with my kids for at least an hour to hour and a half of  Judes morning  nap, then I let them free play outside (even if it's freezing I bundle them up and have them swing or whatever) and then it's snack time and Jude is awake and we play with him. Then it's lunch, a bit of daddy time, and nap. After nap they usually play pretty well by themselves until dinner/bath/story/bed.

I'm not saying it's outlawed in our house, just limited :) We've moved the TV from the main living area into our bedroom, and then it's not this looming temptation the whole day as well. So it helps a bit. I'm curious to hear if any of my readers have discovered the same thing, or if it's just me! :)


The Mom said...

I especially agree with your thoughts on what media for my kids does for's just easier, which typically means I have the freedom to be selfish. We also try to limit the shows and movies, and I have noticed some of what you've mentioned here...especially the laziness and the idea that everything else is "boring". A morning routine makes time for so much more interaction and fun with my kiddos, but it is a lot of work!!! I'll think about you next time I just want to turn on the tv instead of pulling out the paints, being encouraged to know you're learning and working in the same ways I am. Thanks for taking the time to share :)

Heather said...

I totally get that too. When I'm not feeling well and it becomes "movie" day, Georgie has a much more awful day. Thankfully Liv really detests media, so it keeps me from being tempted to just stick them in front of the tv.
I find even when I am on the computer or my phone while they are awake or unbusy, they tend to act up. Now I just stay off of most media if the kids can see me. And we get to spend much more meaningful time together because of it!

Pickle Family said...

A really helpful reminder! I've totally allowed way to much TV in our house since my Autumn was born. I like the idea of moving it to another room!

Emily Ban said...

I am so relieved to read that you found MFW boring! It may sound funny, but I was really taking it personally that we were struggling to get through the curriculum. My friend really enjoys the MFW curriculum so I was thinking "Maybe I'm not cut-out for homeschooling" and frustrated because I was dreading going through the lessons everyday.Regarding the instant gratification part, I concur!When the day is spent busy doing activities instead of letting tv occupy much of our time I find that I look back on the day and feel like it was a great day. There is always that battle of instant gratification VS. being intentional with our time.It is so difficult to be disciplined enough to do what is most important than to do what is easiest. Thank you for that reminder and challenge.I will also check out the grapevine studies.