The week of Thanksgiving my women's group met at Jan's house (the mom of a girl in our group) and were treated to an amazing brunch/snack and babysitting while we were able to ask Jan questions about almost anything. She has four grown children and they're a very close family. Since everyone in the group has young children and primarily stay home with them, the questions were mostly about our children, our marriages, and how to do those things well without going crazy. She had a lot of wonderfully wise things to say, and connected it all to Jesus. We are to teach our kids to obey us in order for them to learn to obey God. We are to direct Caley and Amelia to Jesus, above all.
One point that resonated most with me was that little kids shouldn't watch much (if any) TV. Her reason was that the shows and movies offered today are just too stimulating for young children, that the frames are moving so fast it's just too much information for a little person to take. She said she's noticed that after watching a Disney (or similar) movie, little girls get really whiney and little boys get really active. (At least I think that's what she said, I kind of forgot since I don't have boys.) Jan suggested that if kids are going to watch TV, it should be something at their pace such as Mister Rogers. In real time they watch Mister Rogers walk into his house, take off his shoes, walk across the room, change his coat, etc.
I was so convicted by this! We (meaning mostly I, Addie) were letting Caley watch TV nearly every morning and sometimes a movie at night. It became fairly routine for her to ask, "Can I watching something on TV" when she woke up, and we'd flip on the TV so she could watch PBS or the Christian cartoons. They were okay shows, but I was starting to feel convicted that I was using the TV as a babysitter. I was able to get a lot done during that time, but it was getting be too much. Jan's talk was so timely for me. Since that week, we have been making a conscious effort to limit Caley's TV time and being selective in what she gets to watch and how much. And it's going so great! She still asks to watch a movie or TV most days, but I just tell her "no, there are plenty of other fun things to do at home." Instead of TV, she has really taken to playing with playdough, drawing, and just sitting and reading books. These are all things that she liked to do before "the change" but now she's getting much more imaginative with her play. I've also noticed that the girls are playing together so much better. Caley can still be rough sometimes with Amelia, but she is getting more gentle and involving her more in her play. (Maybe this is because Caley is older and more "mature" and Amelia can actually play now instead of laying on the floor spitting up!)
It has been so wonderful to watch Caley's little imagination take flight. She's always loved taking care of her stuffed animals and I frequently find her bears and babies tucked into our or her bed. She's getting more creative though. The other day the girls were playing in Caley's room and they shut the door--I wasn't allowed inside. I heard Caley knock on the door, open it and say, "Hi bunny, I'm glad you could join us." It was so cute! Amelia was just playing with the dollhouse next to her, so peacefully.
We still let her watch movies, but now it's more of a treat. She watched Shrek when her friend Olivia came over, and a bear movie one night before bed. She still loves Wall-E and other movie characters.
I learned so much else from Jan, but this has been the biggest thing so far. Thank you Jan for your insight and biblical counsel!