In a Nutshell: Consider shutting off media for while, to let kids’ creativity bloom!
We are trying an experiment with our children…a month almost no TV, computer, Wii, or iPod games. I say “almost”, because we can still have a family movie night occasionally, they can still do homework online, and they can play exercise games on the Wii. We’re just trying to get rid of the mindless media consumption that seems to steal our most precious time together.
While it hasn’t gone off without a hitch (in other words, it hasn’t gone off without a tantrum or two), there have been some pretty cool side effects to our experiment. A few nights ago, my house was invaded by a bunch of superheros in training! They began the fun themselves, by tying blankets around their shoulders and jumping off the couch (for those of you who’ve been to my house, perhaps this may help explain the condition of my couch…). To stretch their fun out a little longer, we raided the leftover fabric and in less than 20 minutes, they all had a complete superhero costume. I admit to a moment of perfectionism in this process. For a little while, I was determined to pull out my sewing machine, make a nice little pattern, and sew real capes and nice little masks. But we went rigged-up and stapled-down instead. I just cut out a lopsided rectangle of felt or fleece to fit over their eyes, cut out eye holes in the middle, and attached the string by tying it through a little hole, or stapling it. Not fancy, but for one brief, fleeting moment, I was a Certified Cool Mom. They rescued all humanity and battled each other over an hour. They made up their superhero names and created an impressive list of super powers they possessed. My 14-year-old just rolled his eyes as he was ambushed, but that’s okay. That’s what 14-year-olds do. But my 12-year-old, who at first mocked the masks, donned his black running gear and brought out his slingshot to become the mandatory nemesis to all those heroes.
Not every evening of motherhood is full of creativity, laughs, and memories. But for me that night, watching my kids save the world was one of those nights. I guess that sometimes kids watching too much TV isn’t about what bad they might be seeing, but about what good they might be missing.