Media in the home… a Waldorf topic to be delicately discussed. In our media-driven age, it is such a difficulty to adhere to the Waldorf insistence of a media-free home. We are all aware of the harmful effect that too much TV has on our children. Yet, some of us can’t imagine how to achieve a life without the big screen. ‘TV is educational.’ ‘TV gives me the break from my kids that I need’. ‘TV give them a space in which to wind down’. ‘TV gives them so much pleasure’ These are all excuses I myself have used while knowing, in my heart, that these needs can be satisfied in a much more wholesome, nurturing and soulful way than is ever delivered by Television.
In my families quest to deepen our waldorf practice, I had to tackle our love affair with the television. As many of you are aware the waldorf philosophy sees media input as detrimental to our childrens development. It hinders their imagination and blocks their soul. As I began to pay attention to the play in our home, I saw how serious this really was. My youngest, only two at the time, was mesmerized by the images flashing across the screen. Even if he had begun to play something on his own, which was rare, he would scream if you tried to turn off the T.V. I felt awful, I had created a tiny television addict. This apathy was apparent in my whole family.
Thus we began our journey away from “the elephant in my living room”. Our play group teacher suggested we start a weaning process. I began by just trying to distract from turning on the t.v. as long as possible. We started to really play together and get out of the house on outings more. We started to really reign in what there was to watch. The real shift came for us when my now 3 yr old entered the pre-k/kindy class. Our teacher very kindly and firmly asked us to restrict the media viewing even further as it was affecting his play at school.
Our next step down the path was to cancel the cable and create family movie night. Not only did this generate some quality together time but it stopped the constant asking for t.v. time. The children know it happens ever week at the same time. The results have been amazing. The children not only play on their own more, their creativity is through the roof. My young son now asks for floor games instead of the television.
We are not media free yet but we are working towards it.