One of my favorite things that has worked really well for our family is to be very limited in the media we allow. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, for one thing, we do not allow computer or video games at all, really. It isn’t that we think they are wrong. We have tried using various kinds of educational games on our different school devices (computers, iPads, etc…), but just gotten to the point where we really don’t even do that at all. We have an ancient television we use on occasion for watching videos (probably an average of about 2 a week), but that is all the television we watch.
So what exactly is the point of these limitations? First of all, I really believe that we get use to the fast pace of tv or games and it severely effects our attention span. Books and old fashioned games or puzzles don’t hold the excitement they might otherwise. Electronic media discourages creative play. Because our children are not use to a lot of electronic excitement, they don’t have a problem spending literally hours doing a 500 piece puzzle or reading a book. Last week was our official ending of our school year and since we have had so many rainy days, we have all spent a lot of time indoors. Believe it or not, no one has gotten too restless because they have all been devouring library books! Thankfully, Beppe (grandma) took them to the library and they all took out several books. We have been enjoying reading the old classics the past few weeks. Zeke is finishing up the last of Thornton Burgess’s animal books. He and Isaac have been taking turns with Robin Hood. And the whole family has really enjoyed listening to the original version of “The Swiss Family Robinson” on audiobook. (Have you ever read the real thing? So much different and better than the movie!!!) Lydia just finished “These Happy Golden Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder and is starting “Hans Brinker”. Everyone is loving summer vacation so they can stay up late and read. Lol! I love the fact that even though they have finished formal schooling for the summer, they are still learning so much without even realizing it!
Some devices that are allowed in our home are basic Kindles…the black and white kind that you can read books on but not play games, as well as MP3 players that have audiobooks loaded on them. As much as we encourage reading, we do have one child in particular that would prefer to be doing something with his hands (puzzle or other project) while listening to a story, as opposed to just sitting still reading. Still, I don’t like for them to go around in their own little world with an MP3 player all the time. One of my favorite things to tell everyone is: “UNPLUG!”
Another benefit to limiting television is that when I really do need a nap or just some really concentrated time to get a project finished, I can put a movie on and it holds everyone’s attention amazingly! 🙂 So, even though we don’t use it often, it works really well when we do put a movie on because it is such a big treat!
One way that I know we have been overdoing some form of media is when I get asked for permission to use it all.day.long. Media is incredibly addicting! If you aren’t careful about how much of it you use, it can very quickly begin to consume your time. As a child and all my teen years we have very little television and no electronic games in my home. Crafts, handwork, games and music were all encouraged. I learned so much during those years by pursuing my interests instead of spending my days on the internet or wasting my time playing video games for hours.
Anyway, I am not saying this is the only way to go for everyone, it is just what we have done and found to be of great benefit in our home.