Introducing my children to nature has always been important to me. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, my kids are outside playing and exploring nature. Mike and I are "low-tech" parents. Our kids have never played with an iPad or cellphone. However, after Rosemary was born, the television grabbed a hold of us!
I once attended a "Nature for Life" workshop and was shocked to discover that many children are spending forty to sixty-five hours a week connected with electronic media. Dr. Michael Cheng, a child and family psychiatrist at CHEO, was a guest speaker at the workshop. He said he often prescribes "Green Therapy" for his young patients because nature reduces aggression, stress and anxiety. It's a free antidepressant with no side effects! Cheng said time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our kids health.
I came up with a simple list to help us conquer our recent television addiction.
1. We cut our cable back to basic. Now, we're even discussing getting rid of it all together. Baby steps.
2. No television until we have; played outside, read books, done something creative, made a meal together and completed at least one chore.
Limiting screen time has helped me cross a lot more off my to-do list and toddler meltdowns are basically nonexistent. For me, it's about balance. A little tv is ok; a lot is not.
I am happy to report, television is no longer disturbing the calm rhythm I've created in my home.