Sunday, August 28, 2016

Making Media Choices for Children

They might not consume much media, but they sure know how to operate a touch screen (and expect all screens to be touch)! Here they are at the National Constitution Center learning about farmer riots in the eighteenth century.  I'm sure they understood all of it. :-)
There was a moment at the doctor's after immunizations this week when Disney Princesses, Spiderman and Star Wars stickers were offered with near-zero response from my babes-who have never been exposed to any programming that coordinated with these child-culture pleasers-and I wondered if I had failed them a little bit as a parent.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children get an average of seven hours (!) of screen time a day, where they recommend 1-2 hours of quality programming, and none for children under two.

We have no TV and therefore no DVD player, which means that all of the movies or videos we watch come from Netflix, Youtube, or Apple downloads.  We own a few DVDs, including two children's educational DVDs, but having no DVD player, these never get watched.  Gideon's total screen time for a typical week is usually not more than 2-3 hours, and Esther more like 1-2, almost all on the iPad watching home videos, Youtube and Instagram feeds, a British children's learning show, Umizoomi, the ZooTrain learning app, or something church-related.  (No wonder they enjoy watching talking heads for General Conference!)

With so little media consumption, this week's experience made me pause to reflect whether I have been conscientious about the children's media consumption.  I concluded it had not been very thoughtful.

Much of my children's media consumption has been by default - we have no TV and therefore DVDs, to save time, or to limit behavioral issues that typical accompany Gideon's gloobie ways (he watched far more while potty training, and we halted training because his behavior, not his potty skills, became so problematic).

Yet even if the low media consumption is admirable, shouldn't I still be more diligent and thoughtful about the little they are taking in? We take great pains (especially Lance) in developing a thoughtful library of children's classics - shouldn't I expend some small percentage of that effort on developing something similar for multi-media consumption?

Netflix doesn't often offer classics (like Disney Princesses, Spiderman, or Star Wars), so, not having a TV, how do I cull a library or at least a list of Apple rent-ables for my children?

So...I need your help.  What are your recommendations for a classic children's video library?  (And I need to do the same for music!) What programming should I choose to expose my kiddos to with the precious little they get in?  Should I up their consumption? Based on response and research, I'll do a later post on what I develop.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Small Wonders
* Esther and Gideon officially weigh the exact same - 30.4 lbs. E may just surpass G soon, as she has taken to eating five pancakes in the morning and two pieces of bacon, plus whatever veggies and fruit I make in the morning.  Feeding my kiddos is one of the toughest things I do all day - keeping up with Esther's bottomless pit and not feeding her junk v. getting G to eat anything, especially the healthy stuff.  Esther is off the bottle, but she has begun requesting very specific foods upon waking or going to sleep - a banana, bread and peanut butter, a pouch, even bacon delivered to her sleep tent! (And no, I don't comply with all of it, but I certainly don't let her go hungry.)
* Until this week, G has not felt comfortable praying by himself.  For his personal prayers, we usually go over things that he is grateful for, and then ask what he would like help with before saying a prayer for him.  We've started to go to bed so late, however, that this process has reverted to him saying "just pray" and not wanting to be helpful at all.  I've made it a matter of prayer to figure out how to get him to pray and open his mouth, even just helping me know his heart and needs.  I've started to get them to bed earlier, and low and behold, Gideon has offered to pray all on his own this week.  I see it as a direct answer to my prayer!  He says beautiful little prayers, and can often differentiate between family-appropriate things and personal things to pray over.  They are heavy on the gratitude side of the equation, but we are only providing encouragement now and will work on developing the request side soon.  There is nothing more gratifying than hearing your child pray I've learned.  Must be how God feels.

E found this hat in the play things and insisted on wearing it all day. Love my little cowgirl.

It has been a heavy work week, but we did manage to join friends in our congregation on an amazing fire station tour

G has gotten really good at helping me clean out Chloe's cage, and can do several of the tasks by himself, like turning the hose off and on, putting sawdust in the litter tray, and cleaning out the muck with the hose.  He actually carried the big metal litter tray for a few seconds, saying "I'm such a big, strong boy!" Indeed.

Flea market tire-out this morning so we could do naps pre-church.  Kids both insisted on holding Lance's hand almost the entire time.

Main house project for the week.  Pretty pleased with how this yellow detailing turned out! Now I just need some blue and white knobs to tie it into the rest of the room, and it's done!

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