Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Better Things to Do

TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. ~Author Unknown

In Beverley Hills, they don't throw their garbage away - they make it into television shows. ~Woody Allen

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home. ~David Frost

If the television craze continues with the present level of programs, we are destined to have a nation of morons. ~Daniel Marsh, 1950

It's been years since we had a tv. We didn't watch it much when we did have it. Just a movie once in a while. When our daughter was little we got rid of it. We didn't want to raise a couch potato. Watching television is mind-numbing, certainly not something children need to be subjected to for hours at a time. Everyone knows that children are sponges, soaking up everything they're exposed to. Their little brains and bodies are still developing. Kids need to be learning, exploring, exercising, using their imaginations, and spending quality time with their families. For better or worse, these little people will grow up to be mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, librarians, bankers, dentists, and presidents. What kind will they be?

Here are a few things to think about...How can a child be healthy when he spends hour after hour parked in front of the tv? How will he learn to interact with people when his best friend is a piece of furniture? How can he make a worthwhile contribution to society when he needs a celebrity to tell him what kind of toothpaste to buy? There are other questions I could ask, but do I need to?

- Read a book. My husband and I love to read. My daughter loves to read, too, and my son is learning to appreciate books (he's only 18 months old and doesn't yet have the attention span to sit through a whole book). The library has a wealth of information to offer you.

- Go outside. Look for caterpillars, chase butterflies, dig in the dirt, swing, "poison" armadillos. Olivia makes "armadillo poison" by mixing dirt, grass, green onions, rosemary, and peppermint (I've told her she'll have to find a substitute for my green onions). Sit in the hammock with a book and soak up some Vitamin D.

- Play games. Olivia likes to play Go Fish, Old Maid, and Checkers. I can't wait for her and Jesse to learn to play 42. It's my favorite game. It'll be so nice for the four of us to huddle around a card table playing 42, sipping hot chocolate, when it's too cold to go outside.

- Plant a garden. Good exercise, good food, good education for the kids.

- Make something. Sew, knit, crochet, draw, work with wood, paint. Be creative. It's satisfying to spend time working on a project and have something to show for your effort.

- Go somewhere. Go to a library, museum, zoo, or arboretum. Take a picnic lunch.

- Learn to play an instrument. My husband and I used to play music a lot before we had kids. I hope music will be something we can enjoy as a family when the kids get bigger (we don't seem to have time for it right now). By the way, people who play music tend to be better at math.

- Cook from scratch. It'll take a little more time than opening a box, but it's worth it. This is time you can spend with your children and the food will taste better and be more nutritious. It's hard to beat a loaf of homemade bread fresh from the oven.

- Perform random acts of kindness. This is something I need to work on myself. Take a meal to a sick friend. Help an elderly person with housework or yardwork. Volunteer at the library. Let your kids see you do something good simply because it's good. Let them be involved so they'll learn about charity and unselfishness.

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