Yesterday I wrote about protecting the senses. One of the best ways you can do that is to have boundaries around media use in your family. So today’s task is to unplug!
Some Waldorf-families have a strict no-media policy for young children and other families allow some media with clear boundaries in place - you have to do what works for you! The important thing is to be aware of the effects of media on your child and your family culture and to have limits that feel right for your family.
Here are some of the benefits of unplugging and reducing screentime:
You protect your child’s senses from overstimulation.
You protect your child’s imagination from getting dumbed down.
You give your child a chance to play without being entertained - the very important childhood experience of getting bored and making up your own fun.
Media use doesn’t have to be all or nothing but the vast majority of children in our culture are exposed to way too much. If you have been wanting to cut back please have the courage to make a change! You will get a lot of resistance at first (which is actually a signal that the screentime is addictive) but over time you will watch your child really learning how to play and entertain herself and the need for tv-as-crutch will fade away. I promise!
How to unplug:
1. Notice how screentime affects your child. What happens when it’s time to shut it off?
2. Consider what boundaries are right for your family and stick to them. What kinds of media are ok for your preschool child and how much?
3. Remember that young children have an impulse to imitate and they do not have a capacity for judgment yet. Be super aware of what you expose your child to, whether in books, videos, commercials, audiobooks, or anything else. Are the characters people you would want your child to imitate? Is the moral message something you want your child to absorb? Is the maturity level appropriate?
4. Please think twice, thrice, or four times before using screentime to entertain your child while sitting at a restaurant, in a car, or waiting in line. How else can you help your child cope in these situations? Brainstorm! Is there an opportunity here to connect, read aloud, sing songs, play with beeswax?
5. Make it a priority to preserve the awe and wonder of the preschool years. Give your child the gift of a magical childhood - one with plenty of open time to play, create, listen to stories, make up stories, get messy, daydream, be your helper in the home, and roam in the woods.