Monday, April 02, 2012

Easy way to have media's independent children

I will continue to share my way of raising my children media's independent. As they are growing I can see if I succeed or not. They are now 10 years old and I am pretty happy and proud of the result so far.
If you go back in the oldest post you will read more details about how I did it.
If I tried to summarize I would say that I did not let them watch any TV at all for the 2 first years of their life.
When they reached 2 and half years old, or around it, I believe that I showed them some animal's documentaries, but about 1 or 2 per month maximum. The trick was that since they were born the TV was off and hidden inside an piece of furniture. My husband and I were never watching TV while the children were awake. TV never was part of their life. They learn early on to entertain themselves the same way I did when I was a child as TV was not the center of a family life as it was just starting to exist.

When they got a little older, meaning walking, we started to go out a lot, socialize with other parents and children. Happily Los Angeles is full of opportunities for parents who want to be active with their children, a lot of mommy and me fun classes and get together.

We also started to hike and they absolutely adore it. Escaping in those mountain was always a way to relax.

Park and recreation centers in Los Angeles are also an amazing resource for parents, they offer amazing classes in many different activities, sport or art, for a very affordable fee. We definitively took advantage of it.

So it is easy to fill up a day without TV, plus children really belong outside, they literally love to be outside, play in the park, in the sand, in the soil, in nature.

Sure as all of you I did need to have time to cook meal, and I never put my children in front of the TV to have free time to cook. I let them play with their toys, leave them "read" their picture books, listen to their Cd's. I have to say that I did have a lot of Cd's, many of music but also many with stories. I particularly love those books with Cd's inside. They love to watch the pictures while somebody is reading the story to them. And they love it still today, at 10.

Here is a fact: children do not need TV!

Later on I did start to teach them media literacy. I never let them watch a commercial. that was pretty simple as we were just watching tapes or DVD. So I did explain to them what a commercial was and help them make one, I videotaped them making their own commercial, they were about 6 years old. I believe that there is no better way to understand what media are, commercial are by making it yourself. And yes, they did understood very well.

From there I did teach them more about media. We made more little video and I showed them movie from Melies and the Lumiere's brothers, explaining to them that it was the beginning of cinema.

I strongly believe that media education should start in Elementary school. But it is essential that this continue to be reinforce at home. You will be surprised by the number of mother who come to me and tell me how much they would love to keep the TV off but their husband would not...
Many husband seem to be spending a lot of time in front of TV, particularly watching sport. Those wife told me that they would not accept to turn the TV off.

So suppose I am really lucky to have an understanding and supportive husband.

As my children grew, it was completely natural for them not to watch TV. We watch some tapes and DVD together now and then, always more documentaries than movies or entertainment programs. I believe that watching TV along with the children is essential, this way they can share with you their emotion and ask you any question they want.
I also always preview those programs before showing them to them. That way they never were exposed to violence, particularly the free violence in so many movies and cartoon.

As you surely supposing, we do not do video game at home. Does not mean that my children do not know about it as they are playing sometime at their friends house. But they easily bored by video games, they prefer to be outside. Does not mean they do not like computer, they love them, they love to learn about them, use some educational CD rom, go on some interactive website, or check their email.

They love to make movies as well. And for me, this is a big part of media literacy education. By making video they learn all the tricks.

May be some of you will think that it is easy for me as I am not working outside my home. In fact, I do not think it makes any difference. If you are a working mom, your child must be in daycare or school were they are not supposed to watch TV.
When they get back home, if you never get them in the habit of watching TV and keep the TV off while they are awake, they will entertain themselves another way.

After all, many of us did not grew up with Television on and we were not bored or unhappy.
actually letting your baby find ways to entertain himself will be an asset for a lifetime.

I hope this is helping. do not hesitate to ask me any questions you want.

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