We live surrounded by an increasingly complex matrix of impulses allowing strangers of all sorts (TV, media, Internet) interfere in our mental, emotional and spiritual development. Understanding this intricate network and how does the human brain interacts with it is becoming our door to happiness and health. If no TV means happier and healthier life within your family, the question is how to keep your kids busy, creative and inspired with no TV, Internet, Tablets and Computer Games.
1,Switch off your TV when alone with kids. There have been hundreds of studies on the link between exposure to violence (on TV or within a game) and violent behavior. Most of the studies answered: yes, the link is there. According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics): ‘Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.’ An average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18... None of us wants to see our children or our loved ones depressed, obese, in front of computers or TV screens at all times, having behavioral problems, being sick, or experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the rhythm of our lives and our day-to-day habits that allow the TV to rule might damage our mental health.
2,Switch off your TV when with the guests. If you are spending the time with people you really care about, you might want to re-consider the habit of having your TV on, and reaching for your mobile phone at all times. Learn to actively listen to your loved ones, it is a beautiful skill.
3,Re-invent your time together. This is your 'family' time. Make sure that you eat and/or prepare at least one meal per day together as a family. Time together is full of wonders. You could spend time cooking, playing, talking, walking together. You could sing, dance, do art together, or explore learning a new language. There is plenty of time and mental space that you will gain with no TV time.
4,Re-invent your kids time alone. There should be a balance between time spent alone and time spent with friends. Time spend alone is an important time where a child learns to entertain itself through writing, reading, beading, singing, dancing. learning a new skill, this is a time for music, time for silence, art time. These are all structured activities, done at home.
5,Allow Free Play. There should exist a balance around time spent in a structured activity and time spent in a free play. Allow your children an opportunity of free play. Let them experiment, challenge the existent, and stay curious exploring new games. Do not invent new toys and new games for them at all times. Let their imagination become the driving force. The child with the room full of toys is no longer able to focus, because of visual and mental clutter. Whatever is in his or her hands will not be enough, because the other toy is also reachable. The toys are today made to be perfect, so they do not allow for the expansion of imagination. Different alternative schools such as Montessori and Waldorf suggest that early toys should be hand-made and without specific features, ie. a doll without a face, a ball made of cloth, etc, so that children’s imagination can work its wonder. Perfect toys do the job instead of children, stopping them from the exploration game.
6,Let them go out and play. There should be a subtle balance between time spent indoors and time spent outdoors. Children get fascinated with gardens and ‘green’ grounds. Outdoors create a golden opportunity to run, to breath, and to learn outside of the ‘box’. Children who learn to enjoy the outdoors will become adults who enjoy hiking, gardening, jogging, bicycling, adults that take care for animals and plants and protect the environment. Using 'outdoors' we help children fulfill some basic childhood needs: racing, yelling, hiding, experimenting, a need for freedom and adventure and an opportunity to explore the unknown.
7,Invite friends. Children need lots of opportunities with friends to develop their basic social skills and the whole range of social competencies. Children learn both cognitively and intuitively, observing the subtle inner relationships within nature and between people. Playing with friends, kicking the ball, playing hide-and-seek, or run aimlessly, are all keys to growing creative and inspired children.