What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

  Bet you thought I was going to talk about all the gross stuff hidden in “kid” foods like hot dogs, mac and cheese and freezer pizza, right?

  Nope, I am talking about feeding their Brains!  Hungry for tactile, hands on, run around outside and play, kitchen table turned tent, kind of stuff.

  Today I am asking you to watch this week at how often your children’s brain “consume” fast food, sugar and junk.

  Lets say playing Xbox, PSIII or even Wii, is like eating McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries.  Once in a while is ok, for a special treat, right?!  But if you eat this McDonald’s meal every day, your health is going to go downhill. 

McDonald'scredit

  I know its “In” to let kids play video games because it keeps them quiet and with Wii, they can at least enjoy it while being active, right?

   For us, we have decided no video games at all for now. {This can be re-addressed later as they get older.} The decision comes much easier now that Dale put away his video games and quit Xbox Live. 

  What about TV time? Regular shows like PBS’s line up of Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Super Why.  I am not including cable shows, because we don’t have cable. {From what I hear, we aren’t missing much but sassy, too big for their britches, wanna-be-teenage 9 year-olds, on the kids channels now!}  

  If Xbox is fast food, then those PBS shows, are little Lollipops or a candy treat. They are sweet, they are sugary, and they keep our kids quiet right?! How bad can they be?

Pretty bad if ingested every day, all day long.

Candy

  As a mom of young children, its important to me, to really limit Tv time, because I want them to play and use their imaginations.  The rule at our house is school kids don’t get TV time during the school week, and the little ones at home get an hour total, spent usually between 9-10am.  {That way Mommy can prep supper, or even get a shower!} That hour of media time can also be spent on an educational lap top or computer game, their choice.

   I used to set a timer, but I am better now at watching that it doesn’t go over an hour.  And, all the kids know when the words come up at the end of a show, the tv goes off.  If it doesn’t, then they are grounded the next day from any media time!!!! 

  Setting a timer will train your brain too, what an hour feels like, so all of a sudden 2 hours hasn’t passed you by.  Also, the kids quickly learned that if you ask for laptop time the last 15 minutes of Sesame Street, mom will say no.

“Sorry Pax, One or the other, not both!” 

laptop toy

  We try to take it a step further, and promote TV time to be educational, or about Jesus, that way they are still learning during that hour.  But, I sure don’t mind when they want to watch a fun longer movie once in a while. Just not every day, or even every week!  {When we are all sick, there is grace for this hour time to be longer, as we all rest and try to heal! But, they also love to listen to Adventure in Odyssey Cd’s…..that has been the BEST investment ever!}

 In the evening, Dale helps promote this by keeping the TV off until the children are all in bed. I am so blessed that sometimes, he doesn’t even turn it on at all! {Unless of course, there is some AMAZING football game he has to catch the end of.} He finds too, that the kids don’t play as well when it’s on.

    So, let’s go back to TV time during the day when we are home with the children……

  I know, I know, we SAHM’s can all get LOTS done while our kids do these activities, because they are so darn quiet!  But, just like sucking on a sweet little sucker every day, eventually there is a cavity, or problem.

Did you know?  {source for the following info}

The average American child watches about 4 hours of television a day [Source: AAP], while 20 percent of children under 2 have televisions in their rooms.   

Did you know…….

 That more and more parents are allowing their tiny babies to watch videos on their phones. Some will even lay them in front of the TV, thinking it is harmless, when in fact, the flashing screen and loud sounds can actually disrupt important brain connections that need to be made in those early on months and even up to the first two years….. 

 Among babies 3 months old and younger, 40% watch TV, with the percentage increasing significantly for children age 2 and younger. 

A study in 2003 found that children 6 months to 6 years old spend an average of two hours a day dealing with “screen media” like televisions, computers and video games. 

The study also revealed a correlation between time spent watching television and difficulty reading.

Researchers contend that even {Baby Einstein Videos} don’t provide this stimulation…they don’t provide the benefits they claim, and they may even do harm.  

   

To determine how programs like “Baby Einstein” affected development, they focused on vocabulary:

  On average, for every hour a day a child {8 months to 16 months} watched these programs he or she knew six to eight fewer words compared to children of the same age that didn’t watch…….

  One of the researchers involved with the “Baby Einstein” study said that he would prefer that parents watch television with their children, if they allow their children to watch TV at all. That way at least the parents would be engaging with their children and helping them to understand unfamiliar concepts on the screen. The creators of the “Baby Einstein” series offer the same advice! 

  Babies of today are also missing out on the stimuli that comes from seeing Mommy face to face during play time, and lying in her arms instead of the car seat when out together.
The quiet, non flashing, non-noisy toys of yesteryear, are being passed by in stores to pick up the lights, sounds and “entertain me” toys of today.  All the lights and noise can actually over-stimulate our babies and just like watching TV, it can cause them to miss out on some very important development and brain connections. 
 

Reading time....Baby Pax, looking at a book

A child’s brain is very sensitive before age 2. It’s still developing neural connections and growing in size. Because of this sensitivity, it’s important for babies to have a lot of interactive stimulation to learn and develop.

  Is it any wonder that after all the tv and playtime with flashing, noisy toys, these children are less likely to want to sit in school and color a picture?

Why would they? It doesn’t sing, dance, do flips or flash lights at them!

There are many, many good sources on the web for good ol’ fashioned wooden toys, or soft board books to start giving your baby to play with.  And maybe, just maybe, when the batteries run out on your Lights and Sounds baby toy, leave it that way.

So how about a Media Detox for our kiddos this week?  

What?!

You mean no computer, no iPad, Tablet, Laptop or TV time for SEVEN WHOLE DAYS?  

Are you crazy!?!?!?!

Maybe.  🙂  

  We all know the kids will whine and be BORED at first, you will be irritated and wonder why the heck you are even trying this, but just wait……

With a detox, you always feel worse before you feel better, right!?  

  I bet, by the end of a week, or maybe two weeks for those die-hard media fans, your children will be playing so nicely together!

  They might even disappear under a kitchen table tent, out into the backyard, or into a play room-turned castle for hours, as they travel to far away lands!!! All without needing media to occupy their thoughts!

  I bet you will be surprised how the tone of your home feels different, too!  

Avery made herself a reading chair

  Next, I want to encourage you to replace 20 minutes of that normal slot of media time, reading out loud to your kids. 

  This can also be done at the table while they eat lunch, right before they go down for afternoon naps, or even save it for before bed. 

Set that time aside and watch it grow into a special family tradition.    

Reading

And, in the long run? Reading will make them better students, too! 

Reading

Additional Info:

  • Today, kids under 2 spend more than twice as much time watching videos, as they do being read to.
  • In 2/3 of households, TVs are on during meals. 
  • In 75% of households, TVs are on when no one is watching them.
  • More than 70% of kids have TVs in their bedrooms 
  • Only 1/3 of households have media-consumption rules

  “No surprise, more media is consumed in households in which TVs are always on, where there are no media consumption rules, and where kids have TVs in their bedrooms.  And, no surprise, kids who consume the most media get the worst grades. (but is this cause or effect?)”

  The original play station

 Here’s to “Feeding” our precious bundles of joy some good wholesome “Food” this week….
Happy Detox!

Hugs, T

 “You’ll see your true self when you look for your reflection in the eyes of souls, not the glare of screens.” Ann Voskamp

{Source for parts of this post}

————————————————————————————

Want to read more?  

Additional Info & Stats

More reading statistics here:  “Mommy, Reading Makes My Brain Strong!”

Advertisements