Friday, September 4, 2009

Our Favorite DVD's

Our kids don't watch T.V. They've seen two or maybe three shows on the television before, and will occasionally watch a spots game for a little while with Steve, but they almost always just watch select DVDs, and even with that I try to really limit the amount they watch. At the very most, I try to have the limit be an hour per day.
It's just been hard lately this past year because since they gave up regular naps at 27 months, they'll usually be up for fourteen hours straight. They are very active, and usually want a lot of my attention. They'd have me play all day long with them if I would. I love playing with them, and spend many hours a day playing and doing things with them, but I need to get dishes done, floors vacuumed, laundry done. They sometimes will want to help me with this, but more often they drag so many things out that it seems all I do is follow them around, straightening up after them.
I've been struggling with the concept of limiting screen time. I've read and thought long and hard about the concept of unlimited T.V. time for kids. I guess the argument is that if kids are free to choose how much and what kind of programming they want to watch, then they will eventually not care that much about watching T.V. because they know they can have it whenever they want it. So, I tried for about a month letting them keep watching whatever and whenever they want to see a program (which was still their DVDs and not television.) But, my kids would watch DVDs literally ALL DAY LONG. I would do my best to distract them with other activities, but like I said, I need to get some things done and during those times when I couldn't actively engage them in other things, they'd just want and crave more screen time.
I noticed that they were much more lethargic, crabby and dull. They didn't play as creatively anymore, didn't care as much to play outside, and didn't want to read as much. So, after this experiment, and reading Endangered Minds, I decided for our family's mental health sake, that there should be pretty strict T.V. limits set. We are very relaxed about bedtimes and eating, but the T.V. issue is quite another thing. And you know what? After just a week of this new "diet," the kids don't crave watching something as much. They are back to making up the most wonderful worlds and games for themselves, running around outside for a good part of the day and are in much better moods.
That said, we do enjoy as a family some really good movies. What I like about watching things together as a family is the discussions we are able to have, and how a lot of their questions come up about what is happening because they have us there to give answers right away.
Some of our favorite DVD's lately have been:
Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, Inkheart and Five Children and It
The kids adore musicals and in the past have loved Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and
Annie. They will also watch episodes of Reading Rainbow, Mister Rodgers Neighborhood, Between the Lions or a Scholastic book special.

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