The children's park. A timeless blessing too often overlooked.
Today marks the start of 'TV Turn-off Week" (April 19th-25th).
After having read a lot of Waldorf/Steiner inspired literature, and mainly just following my gut instincts, TV has become a thing of the past in our home. North rarely ever watches television programs (I'd say maximum 30 minutes a fortnight). However, my husband and I have not curbed the habit at all- something I look forward to doing this week. I realize the television can often seem like a harmless help when you are frantically fixing dinner, cleaning up around the house or simply want to take a shower, whilst a needy toddler lingers at your feet, but I promise you, after only a few days tv-free you will see such a difference in your child's nature, their ability to play creatively and to entertain themselves for longer periods of time. What you should prepare for is being more creative yourself- what fun activities can you suggest to your children as an alternative to TV?
'Billy' provides hours of entertainment- North feeds him, puts him to bed, takes him on walks in a little pram and reads books to him.
Wooden trainsets are magical and grow with your child.
North happily helps me around the kitchen a couple times a day. By noon today, he had already "helped" whip up a batch of pumpkin oatmeal muffins and had decorated his own mini pizza for lunch. He also has his own broom to help me sweep up the floors. Yes, it does take longer to get things done and cleaned when he's helping, but it gives him a sense of control, independence and purpose, and how else will he learn to be careful pouring the flour or how to sweep up after himself? We also do a lot of drawing with crayons; make our own playdough; paint if the weather's nice outside; go for walks, collect sticks, rocks and nuts; garden together; play catch; have dance parties; read books and many other things. He is only 19-months old and has just begun to use imaginary play (he'll pour pretend tea into teacups and stir pots of rock soup for mama to taste). Encourage older children to get outdoors and explore- climb trees, make tipis and forts. Sit down as a family and write a list of all the fun activities you can do together (and independently) that don't involve watching television or playing computer/video games.
For some more inspiration see the following websites for ideas.
Give it a go this week and see if you notice a difference in your child(ren). What have you got to lose? If you don't think you can last that long, it may be a red flag warning: why might your family be so dependent, dare I say, addicted to television and how might it be affecting you and your children?