I am more than convinced after an out-of-town week of children, including mine, who were constantly looking to plug in and zone out, that I would be a horrible mother of children with Game Boys, Game Cubes, X-boxes, televisions. It seemed to be a constant battle for me, and I honestly don't know how other parents do it, to coax children away from those enticing electronics into real life and relationship. And if your answer is "limit on screen time", and please be honest, I haven't met an interested child who doesn't try to play sneaking under the radar of their parents yet. Longer and more seem never to be enough for the child.
Or maybe it's not a painstaking chore for other parents with more patience, less children, or more obedient children than mine to monitor and moderate screen time.
When my children were small, I drank in a delicious lecture about allowing children to explore wonder, and I made the tiny leap that a screen was no place to really experience anything. Years later, another I attended another lecture on "raising your children to love literature". The speaker boldly admonished that her approach would not work if parents were not committed to totally unplugging their children. So, I did.
We're safely home now to Tennessee, and back into our own family's routine. So, here's how my guys spent their day now that we are away from beeping, singing, boinging devices beckoning to hiding youth like the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Candy. Lollipops. Icecream. All free today." Two boys played lazer tag over the hills and woods of our yard this afternoon while another hung out with the dog and goats in the field. My girl dressed up and dragged out every doll in her closet. I read aloud for some time in the afternoon to the gang. And since it's dark and rather cold (otherwise my boys still might still be outside) they have spent the evening gathered around a book on CD building with legos. It's very pleasantly peaceful evening.
We may watch Home Extreme Makeover or some Olympic action together if they wish.
So, am I cursing my children to nerdom by depriving them of the American Boy's Electronic Dream, simply because I don't want to deal with the hassle? I do wonder what other segways between boyhood toys and grown up jobs are available which don't involve power sources. Is it sad to you that my boys are so mesmerized when a TV is on in the same room, and they can't manage to play around ignoring the program like others who tune it out? Would moderation serve my children better than my deliberate household fast? I'd love to hear your opinion.
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