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#31 of 47 Old 09-08-2010, 05:29 AM
 
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I had initially decided that we would watch NO videos in our house because my stepdaughter (who does not live with us) was always addicted to leaving the TV on all day long, even when she wasn't watching it. Even to this day at 14, she can't sleep at night without it on all night.

We don't have TV reception in our house, but we do have a DVD player and a TV because the house is rented turnkey and they came with it. I had planned to just unplug it and keep it off, but my daughter had other ideas when she came along.

She is 2 1/2 now and has always been so high needs that she becomes violent if I don't give her my full undivided attention all the time. Playing by herself is rare and it's exhausting for me. I decided after a year and a half that I was going to try short videos so I could get some things done.

I have very strict rules about videos in our house. They cannot be too fast. They cannot have annoying or baby-talking characters. I also do not allow anything commercialized. This means NO Sesame Street, Disney, Spongebob, Dora, etc. I only get videos that are broken up into 10-30 minute episodes. No movies. They are too long for little kids.

I screen videos well before letting my daughter watch them. They must be slow-moving and have good simple English and I prefer videos with real people, not puppets or animated characters in most cases. The videos must be gentle with nicely-behaved characters. No hitting, name-calling, rude behavior, etc. I prefer that they be educational, so we get a lot of documentaries.

We check out one or two videos a week from the library. Our favorites have been children's documentaries about nature, food, farms and animals, Wee Sign (children sing songs while signing), videos about manners and hygiene, and children's instructional dance and music videos which are great because I don't know a thing about playing music.

I also allow a few gentle just-for-fun children's shows such as Miffy (our very favorite!), Scholastic narrated story videos, Old Bear Stories (British), and Kipper (also British).

My other rule is that it can't be on just any time. She cannot watch more than two 30 minute videos per day and she can only watch them if I need to get something done. I usually play one while doing dishes and while cooking dinner - two activities that are too dangerous for her to help me with.

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#32 of 47 Old 09-17-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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We're not unschoolers here (child-led in many respects, eclectic, and relaxed, but not unschoolers), so our experience may or may not be helpful to you.

We talk to our kids about our concerns with screen time. Not in a judgmental way, but just a frank, "this is not the healthiest activity to choose" sort of way. We've talked about obesity, lack of activity, media addiction, mood disorders, brain development, just the gamut of stuff. But we also talk about film as an art form, awesome animation or investigative reporting. We don't pretend to know everything that's good or bad about electronic media, but we try to put what we do know, what we've heard, what we're concerned about on the table.

We don't have cable, but we do subscribe to Netflix and Discovery Education Streaming. We have some dvds, and we occasionally borrow dvds from the library. We own a Leapfrog Explorer and a few games. We'll youtube a few videos too. Dh and I try to make available video choices that are acceptable to us if the kids should choose them, so no SpongeBob, but we do have some Transformers stuff.

Then we just ask our kids how much time they need to watch, and then we set a timer. Typically, they ask for 10 to 20 minutes.When the timer goes off, they go do something else. Very rarely, they ask to watch a longer video like Star Wars IV or Finding Nemo. Sometimes, I "make" them watch more. Usually, it's a documentary or something for a subject we're studying. (They love documentaries, so it's not like they are hating this choice).

Anyway, this is the balance that we have found in our family.

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#33 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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my approach to media has been similar to my approach to solids - i introduce them when i think they are ready, some later than others. i didnt introduce added-sugar foods till dd was 3 and i could explain to her what role they play in our diet. some children might be ready for this conversation earlier, others later. I didn't introduce screen activities till i could explain, in simple terms at first, that it needs to be limited, and why. So I am not setting specific weekly limts or anything - rather I am trying to help dd understand the philosophy behind why I feel it should be limited. And often days go by when it is not on at all. But if sometime I feel it has been on too long, I have no problem asking my child about it and also proactively trying to make sure we are doing other things.

I would love not to have a TV but others in the family disagree. For now we dont have cable. Anyway similar issues arise with computer.

I agree with laohaire. Though unlike some others we do have the box in the house, it is not a major part of our lifestyle. It also takes effort to do things other than TV and I think it is well worth that effort and definitely part of our holistic learning approach.

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Originally Posted by SundayCrepes
Unschooling is a spectrum and there are no unschooling police.

no longer momsling.GIF or ecbaby2.gif orfly-by-nursing1.gif ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?

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#34 of 47 Old 09-20-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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I've just started limiting after over a year of trying to RU it... I feel like I gave it a really good try and wasn't pleased with how it was affecting us. So now, no screen time til after lunch which is around 3ish here. I'm actually super pleased and the kids (2 and 4) seem to be reacting really well. I felt like screen time was making it impossible to get our days off the ground and they weren't getting to move around in the way their bodies so desperately needed. Our tv area is really small and there isn't room for them to move around a lot while they watch or keep other toys and the computer is at a desk which also limits them. I couldn't really imagine setting up the house any other way because of the small spaces we have to work with.

In the afternoon there are more people around to play with and activities for kids, so I'm leaving it pretty free for them, but offering trips to the park, visits with cousins/friends, community center activities. I'd like to think in the future we'll be able to go back to no limits, for example when someone is old enough to stay home alone
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#35 of 47 Old 09-24-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I just wanted to say how relieved I am to read this thread. While in theory I would love RU to work for our family -so democratic! so ideal! - it did not work out in our family at all the way I thought it would, particularly in regards to TV and food. My DS1 (4) is also insatiable with TV and junk/candy. We tried RU-ing it with media for a year and a half (from age 2 1/2 -4), and my DH and I just got so fed up with fights about "shows" that at the beginning of the summer we lied and told him that the TV was broken. It's been "broken" since then. We unplug it and then if my DH gets up in the middle of the night and wants to watch something, he plugs it in, watches, and unplugs it when he's through. DS knows that there is a TV in our bedroom (not his) and that I watch it at night when I am nursing the baby to sleep. He will occaisionally ask to watch something in the morning when the baby is napping (and the baby is not the kind that will tolerate being left asleep alone - must. have. mom. at. all. times) - and I will allow 1 half hour show previously recorded on the TiVo (that we don't pay for - my parents bought it years ago when you could buy them outright with no subscription). So he'll watch one Curious George or Dinosaur Train and then we turn it off. It's worked really well. It was a real problem to have the TV on in the living room (that's the "broken" one) - it's where we spend most of our day, and when it's not on he actually PLAYS with his toys, reads books, plays dress-up...this was seriously not happening when he could just ask for shows all the time. He would sit at his little table or on the couch and eat (junk mostly) and watch shows. All day.

Really glad to see that there are other people out there that can make unschooling work for their family, without worrrying about the "rules" of RU.

Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#36 of 47 Old 09-29-2010, 02:37 AM
 
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While in theory I would love RU to work for our family -so democratic! so ideal! - it did not work out in our family at all the way I thought it would, particularly in regards to TV and food. My DS1 (4) is also insatiable with TV and junk/candy. We tried RU-ing it with media for a year and a half (from age 2 1/2 -4),
I think there is a widespread misconception about the "R" in RU. wrt to tv /candy / bedtime / chores, I think that guidance in the early years can and will lead to responsibility and independence in the later years and no, this does not mean making the same choices as the adult would make or would like the child to make. It frees the child to make choices, and it frees the adult from judging those choices. But like other responsibilities, not all kids are ready for this at the same age and there is no need to rush it. (kind of like learning to write or read)
I explained a bit of my own approach above.

no longer momsling.GIF or ecbaby2.gif orfly-by-nursing1.gif ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?

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#37 of 47 Old 09-29-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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A slightly different perspective here - my kids are 7 and 9. My older child has some OCD tendencies so we have really struggled with this issue. One wise mom pointed out that for OCD kids, restricting is difficult, because then they worry about it all the time ... when? how long? I wasn't comfortable with unlimited access though, because visual images seem to really stick with my ds and they go around and around in his head. We considered doing away with it entirely, which we did when he was a toddler, but we wanted to respect his passion for these games and to allow the learning that does take place when he plays them. We experimented with various approaches. What has finally worked is that we have a daily chore list. Once the animals are fed etc. they can have screen time. It works really well, because the worry about when is gone for him because it's immediate and then it's done for the day, and for me, it naturally ends at lunch time, so it's limited to one or two hours a day.
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#38 of 47 Old 10-12-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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I'm glad to have found this thread.
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#39 of 47 Old 10-17-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Our family's take of technology (for now....it might change!)

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Mama to DS (10), DS (8), DS (5), DD (3), & DD (6 months).
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#40 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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I'm coming in again over a month later, mostly to laugh at myself. Haven't abandoned all limits, but have to say that my kids (as I imagine most) are clever.

My four year old asked "why?" in a very sincere way and I explained that I was worried that the screen was sort of trapping them on their way to explore the rest of the world, and that, in the way I think a variety of food is good, I also think a variety of activities is good. So DS comes back later, lists off a variety of ways that he's explored his world and asks to watch something. He adds that he's had a busy morning and wants to relax. What's a mama to do with such reasonableness? So I tried saying yes. And guess what? A few weeks have gone by and he's watching and finishing on his own. There are some days of concentrated viewing and some days where the tv doesn't get turned on until really late. I think I should have just tried talking to DS without being afraid of the tv monster in the first place.... I thought I had, but now I'm wondering
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#41 of 47 Old 11-06-2010, 07:00 AM
 
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My boys are 10 and 7. Like some others have posted, the last few months, I've been dealing with pregnancy nausea and general low-energy, so they had free reign on screen time. In the last month I've been feeling better and we've gone back to our normal routine...

which is - they can each watch two episodes or one movie a day on the computer. Like most of you, we also don't have any reception on our TV, it's just a tiny one with the DVD player built in, so that's all it's used for is playing our skimpy collection of DVD's (which they are allowed to watch whenever, but neither child is a big fan of watching the same thing over and over, so they rarely pull those out - they do get netflix, one new movie about once a week, so they watch that whenever they feel like it, too).

The boys are watching episodes mostly on netflix, sometimes hulu, sometimes they'll find full episodes on youtube of things they want to watch, which for my older son is usually anime, my younger son watches mostly pokemon via the cartoon network website. On all the websites besides netflix there are one or two commercials, which annoy the hell out of me, but I get nice reminders when we stay at hotels how many terrible commercials *actual* TV has, and don't think online is so bad

My kids usually watch their episodes in the morning, because they wake up so early and I prefer to laze around in bed for a bit and not be bothered

They also have Nintendo DS's (little portable nintendo's for those with kids too little to have been subjected to this silliness yet They can play those 2 days a week, and pick the days they play. They have their own calendar with all their activities, including any trips we take, etc. So, usually they'll schedule DS days on a day we'll be doing a lot of driving or a day they have nothing else planned, etc. That's interesting that one mama PP said they only do screen time and video games on the weekends - that's when we're out and about hiking and stuff - my kids would be ticked off to have that be their screen day and then not get to have much screen time

Our experiments with unlimited screen time have been mixed. They don't go overboard on watching shows, so no problems there (that's basically limited because I work online, so it was getting old to have arguments that they wanted to watch shows vs. I need to make money!).

Playing the DS is another story! They were getting really cranky and rude and generally lost all imaginitive play - it was really sad! Since we went back to limited video game days, there's been actual playing REAL games, pretending things, building forts & lego sculptures, it's nice to see my kids act like kids again

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#42 of 47 Old 11-17-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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notes2.gif We have a lot of the same issues here -- if I don't limit screen time, ds will spend nearly all his waking hours in front of tv and/or computer and will be nasty to me when I try to talk to him. And if I want to take him somewhere he is always anxious to get back to his shows. Ugh. I find that when I do limit him, he's a lot more fun to be around but it's a huge battle to get there.



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#43 of 47 Old 05-29-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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Looking back here through old resources. For us, my challenge is, trying to heal from adrenal fatigue, not feeling well enough to do the kind of engaging I want to with my children (7 and 2.5) at all times or feeling like I need to spend so much time in the kitchen but haven't been motivated to find fun ways to integrate them into the cooking unless they ask/show interest. I know, though, they need to participate to value it and to say away from TV!
 

I'm also interested in any updates now that screens are so much more prevalent. My husband lets my son look at his smartphone, etc. We don't do tablets but he does want to play educational games on the computer, and his attitude is really affected by doing it.

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#44 of 47 Old 05-29-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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We don't limit per se but we kind of make it not that attractive most of the time. Basically-and this isn't deliberate-the tv is in the far reaches of the house, away from the action. My kids are fundamentally social and so don't like being in a room on their own really. In order to watch tv they have to climb a lot of stairs, find all the remote controls, find the multisocket that will have been used for something else, plug them all in, go through half a dozen screens and passwords and even then, because we are streaming through the bbc/ c4 sites or netflix, half the time the connection is pretty awful anyway. So watching tv is just not that easy or attractive and no one really cares enough to sort it out. I think that that is the key, tbh, its not a family habit, we ourselves certainly don't model tv use at all-dp and I hardly watch it-and its not easy to watch so no one does really.

 

Oh and I just want to add something else.  When mine were little they had basically no TV. Sometimes at friends houses or on special occasions but very, very little and we quite blatantly limited it. Probably until ds was around 7 or so. And now we don't. And it has been fine, it is not forbidden fruit, they don't watch compulsively, its no big deal at all. I truly think that saying "no tv" for young kids is fine, if that is what they seem to need. 


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#45 of 47 Old 08-08-2013, 09:19 AM
 
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I stick to the rules that tablets are for reading, recipes, etc. and when my son is older and can handle it very carefully, he is welcome to read on one. Not for games. Same with my smartphone. I use it for music when driving, directions, email, phonecalls. 

The computer we sometimes use for looking up videos and identifying things on our property, explaining things that need more than words that I am having trouble with, etc. But again, not a toy. 

Television we turn on occasionally when my son wants to watch the news, like this morning, and then a cooking show came on and he was fascinated by it so we watched that too and talked about it. The kid loves to cook. But otherwise, television is saved for after he is asleep, for the adults, or for Friday nights when we watch a BBC series together, and the occasional documentary or educational show together. 

I forgot to add, he is almost four. 

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#46 of 47 Old 08-08-2013, 09:20 AM
 
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Basically, they are tools. We use screens as tools. 

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#47 of 47 Old 08-09-2013, 12:31 AM
 
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I have to update my response now that it has been a couple of years and I have another child.

 

So DD is now 5 and just started "school" officially (meaning that she is registered as a kindergartener but we unschool at home) and our screen time has changed.

 

With the birth of my son (who is now 17 months), screen time has had to change. I do limit it, but my daughter now gets quite a lot IMO. I *have* to nap with my son in the afternoon or I just cannot stay awake the whole day or function at all. So now her screen time is limited to nap time which can last between one and two hours. I have an iPhone now which is a used phone left over from my husband's last job. I have lots of educational stuff on there plus a picture hunt game and Minecraft which I pretend is good for my daughter because it's creative. Like Legos. Right? :) Anywho, she's allowed to play on my phone during nap time as long as she sits very quietly and doesn't wake us up. It works for us. Not sure how I'm going to work it once she's a bit older and the baby doesn't take naps anymore.

 

Oh, and Saturday is movie night. My daughter is allowed to watch one movie on Saturdays. Two, one for each, once the toddler is old enough to watch movies. 


Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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