Guest Post: Tonya

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I am OVER THE MOON to introduce y'all to a woman who I truly admire. Her name is Tonya and she is the Mama behind 4 Little Fergusons. She has an awesome testimony and is such an encouragement. We have lots of similar views on several different topics and I have asked her to share her heart on one of those, limited tv.

Hello there Tonya, so nice to have you grace "These Moments...", let's start with a short introduction...

Hi there! I am Tonya from the 4 little Ferguson's blog here today to tell you how much I hate TV. Haha, not really, but I do want to tell you about my passion to limit tv in order to promote reading. I have been married almost 12 years to the love of my life, thanks to a Father in Heaven who can restore what the locusts have eaten.  

We were pregnant 8 times the first 8 years of our marriage, so you can imagine the words heard most often at our house are: Hello, Goodbye and I am PREGNANT!  

We have 4 children in Heaven and 4 on Earth, Destiny is 10, Tylan is 7 next Friday, Avery is 5 and Paxton is 3. They light up our lives and it is our goal to raise them in a home full of laughter, love and Big Picture Parenting.

You are pretty passionate about Limited tv, tell us why?

I AM passionate about this, because I hate tv. I hate how grumpy they are afterwards, and how apt they are to "be bored" or fight with each other.
It's also much more, to me the tv feels like a sewer tube leading right into the living room of my home, an access for Satan to come in to our safe place. We don't have cable, just an antenna on the roof, and we still battle the filth that is shown on commercials and tv shows.
For this reason, we limit the non school age children, to 1 hour of tv in the morning. This allows me to get a shower, or answer my emails, but that's it for the rest of the day. They can also use that time to play and educational computer game. In general, our basic rule is, it has to be educational or about Jesus. So even some of the stuff on PBS, the cartoon-y things, don't fit the bill.
School aged kids can use tv time on the weekend, this is when we allow the 2 hour length ones for a family movie night, rated G or PG only. Someday, when our dvd player goes out, it is our desire to buy a special one that filters the disc is plays! That way a movie we loved like "Night At The Museum" could be played, because it'd beep out the ONE bad word that ruined an otherwise darling movie.

My husband, Dale, helps me with this, by keeping the tv off until the kids go to bed during the school week, or at very least, turns the tv to a black screen for the commercials of the football game he wants to catch on the weekend.

Was it a hard adjustment going pretty much tv free, why or why not?
My mom limited Tv when I was a kid, so I grew up playing outside until dark, or going through the Tv Guide with my brother to find 2 cartoons we agreed on for Saturday morning fun.
Our kids don't know any different, we started this from day one. If your kids are used to tv, they MAY be cranky and bored that first week or two, it's ok, with any detox you feel worse before you get better! Be on your A game that week, be ready with fun ideas, a dining room table turned tent maybe. It WILL get better!

I nannied for 5 children before I became a momma of my own, and I watched their home DRAMATICALLY change when they unplugged the tv and rolled it in to the storage room. At first it was hard, the kids were cranky and bored, but within a week, the began to play and use their imagination to the max. The whole home changed, it was then I knew, I would limit tv in our home someday.
Plus, I am a total book worm, I want my kids to be passionate about reading, I want them to see the beauty of traveling to faraway lands and adventures via those pages. So, not only to we limit tv time, but we promote reading too.
1 hour required reading {looking at pictures} during naptime for my non napper, and an hour on Saturday and Sunday for school kids. Our home is very quiet with the exception of turning pages during that quiet time, I get to sit and read too, I love it!
We also read at night, family devotions or a Bible story, and if time allows, we love to read chapters from a kids novel like Runaway Ralph, Ramona, Little House on the Prairie, or Indian in the Cupboard.

With having 4 little ones and no tv, how do you keep them entertained? 

You know, its funny, I don't. I mean, don't get me wrong, some days I hear "I'm Bored", but its very rare! They have active, well used imaginations. They always seem to have some idea they want to play, like house or orphan children, or King and Queen.
We try to keep things like wooden stamps, play dough, huge butcher paper to cover the whole table, colors, paints and construction paper on hand in the toy closet, so when they don't have an idea of an imagination game to play, we can move to a craft type activity.When our children were babies, we would give them simple toys on a blanket to learn and grow without someone around. 

Around the age of 2, you can start teaching your children to play without you, by starting a game then walking away. "Let's play restaurant...I am hungry for chicken and potatoes please." I would play awhile then start her playing on her own, by setting up babies and teddy bears around the table. "Mommy has to go do laundry, I will check in later, for now you feed all these hungry babies and animals their supper." If they came out to whine at my feet, I would say, "OH! I hear your baby crying, she needs you to go feed and rock her." Continuing to teach them to play alone, helped me so much those busy days with a newborn baby at home, along with 2 pre-school aged children.

For someone like me who only has 1 child and no siblings to play with, what is your advice for keeping our tv-less days fun?

Invest is some Melissa and Doug toys, a wooden car town, dress up doll or lacing cards. I love everything they sell! Set up a play room that is kid friendly. We have a train table that we rotate "sets" on, from train to wooden car town, to race track to train town. We have a kitchen and small table, a crib and a place for a clothes line on "laundry day".

There is a bookshelf of books and a bean bag near by, along with cd player, cds and headsets for Adventures in Odyssey Cd's to listen to {Look into these discs, they are amazing and teach the child to imagine just by listening to the stories, not watching them!} We have a play closet full of organized baskets of toys and activities. Having these things in place will help your child succeed in playing alone.

In today's society, so many unacceptable things are on tv and in movies, even ones that are supposed to be for kids, what are your standards for picking safe movies with christian morals?

As I mentioned earlier, the general rule for tv during the week is educational or about Jesus.

This means PBS only on tv, Sesame Street is ok, although it used to be better. Daniel Tiger has recently gotten my approval after I realized he taught a lot in sing song. I don't like Arthur or Clifford, not because they are bad, but the learning element is so watery.
Some of our favorites:

Under The Rainbow: Old Testament and New Testament {there are a ton of videos, all very acurrate to scripture!!!!} 

Veggie Tales 
Chuck Swindol's Paws and Tales 
Faith Collection 
Boz the Bear 
The Mandie series 
Last Chance Detectives from Focus on the Family

We watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with the kids since it came from a Christian author, and loved it, but its definitely for the Elementary age crowd. We discussed the battle of good and evil afterwards. We won't watch the second or third movie in that series until much later, due to its content.

We feel pretty safe with most of the animated movies that come out, like Cars, {we like 1 better than 2} Planes, Wreck It Ralph, Tangled. Classics like, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Bambie.

What was the most recent good, quality, morally sound movie you saw?

Last weekend we rented Cloudy With The Chance of Meatballs 2 because we loved the first one so much, it was equally cute and family friendly.

See, limiting tv doesn't mean missing out on the cute kids movies, it just means that when you do turn the tv on, they all hold still because its such a treat!

Have you seen kids play through tv time? That is because a) they are just too young to watch that long, and don't need tv time yet or b) they have grown up around the noise of tv so much, it's considered normal in their lives, not a special occasion.

And just for fun, every mom needs a little time to herself, what do you like to do for your "me" time?
My Word of the Year for 2014 is Balance. My calendar was too full, I worked from morning to night trying to get all my tasks done on the computer and in our household, and I was failing. This year, I committed my calendar to the Lord, "cut the fat", learned to say no to extra things and guess what? 

I have read 10 Christian novels since Christmas break. I am in HEAVEN! I have a chair by the fireplace, so I grab a chapter book, my water, the phone, and a blanket and let myself have at least 30 minutes of quiet. And let me tell you, I am a better mom and wife for it.

I find myself working extra hard during morning chore time to prep supper and transfer laundry, so I can take an hour to read during nap time

Eye Opening Statistics:

-It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems.

-66% of Americans eat dinner while watching tv.

-44 million adults in the U.S. can’t read well enough to read a simple story to a child.

-Minutes per week parents spend in meaningful conversation with their kids: 3.5

-Over one million children drop out of school each year, costing the nation over $240 billion in lost earnings, forgone tax revenues, and expenditures for social services.

-Percentage of daycare that use tv during a typical day: 70%

-60 percent of America’s prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.

-Average hours in school, 900. Hours per year your average youth spends watching tv: 1500

-Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year.

-Number of murders your child sees on tv by the time they finish elementary school: 8,000

-In a class of 20 students, few if any teachers can find even 5 minutes of time in a day to devote to reading with each student, due to strict testing goals.

-Average violent acts your child sees on tv by the time they are 18: 200,000

-Percentage of 4-6 years olds, who when asked to choose between tv time and spending time with their father, prefered tv time: 54%

-Today, kids under 2 spend more than twice as much time watching videos, as they do being read to.

-In 2/3 of households, TVs are on during meals.

-In 75% of households, TVs are on when no one is watching them.

-More than 70% of kids have TVs in their bedrooms

-Only 1/3 of households have media-consumption rules

Suggestions from Tonya:

-Be an example, turn the tv off during the day. 

-I used to have a show I watched every feeding when I had one child, once she got old enough to turn to the tv, I knew it had to go. I shut it off 9 years ago, and haven't watched a morning/day time tv show since!

-Let your child see you reading.

-Spend time together reading, show it can be fun. Don't make it too complicated, at the table during lunch, 3 before nap, or 1 before bed can plant the seed of reading in them.

-Require reading during a resting time. Don’t push too hard, but stick to your guns too! Even 20 minutes a day will help for a lifetime.  

-We have worked our way up to 2 hours of quiet while brother naps. First hour is reading or looking at books, second hour is a quiet activity.

-Let your child read to you. Start out simple with easy-to-read books, and encourage your child to try new words.

-Set aside daily reading times. Like I mentioned, it works great for us between lunch and naps and again at bedtime. This is a good opportunity to start introducing them to daily Bible reading and quiet time with the Lord at the end of the day. We all pray as a family before tucking them in for the night.

-Tired of “baby books”? Even young children can grasp chapter books. My mom did this for me when I was 2 years old. She read me the Little House series And later on, as a 7-year-old, I have such fond memories of her sitting in the hallway between my room and my little brother’s, reading out loud from a chapter book. Oh, how we’d BEG her for just one more chapter!

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Tonya. I wondered when you ever got time to read. Love your word are such a busy is good to learn how to say No to some things. Going to try to implement more of these things with our 3 year old grandson that lives with us....well, try to get his mom to implement. She is pretty good with tv time, but we all fall back on it too much. BTW, my word for this year is BOLD! Oh, that's a hard one for me,,,,,but I'm coming along with God's help. Love you and those 4 little Fergusons