A friend recently posted on Facebook a picture of her son next to an elaborate fort he had built in the woods near their lake house. No clue if this was a regular activity or the first time he stepped foot in the woods this summer, but it looked like a perfect summer time activity. He was outside, using his imagination, interacting with nature and having fun.
As I was ruminating on this seemingly idyllic childhood summer scene, I looked over my shoulder where my kids were glued to the TV set in a full-on trance. Now to be fair, they had been outside most of the day at a camp where they swim, play tennis and hang outside. But no one was rushing to the door begging to go outside to build and explore. Ah, the forever question that haunts me. TV or no TV? Screen time or no screen time? What is the perfect balance?
I have our rules straight during the school year. No TV or screens during the school week and an hour each day during the weekend. But things have gotten a little lax in our house this summer. I did an informal poll of my friends to find out other families rules. Some say no TV, others allow a movie on a rainy day, and some feel like a little TV or screen time is fine each day. However, no one admitted to letting their kids watch whatever they want for as long as they want.
What about you?
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.