In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative. The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media. This initiative is designed to support parents on this road. We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog. An Introduction article that includes links to articles in this series is here.
- Holiday Testimonial
These days I’ve been getting up earlier in the mornings to sit near the Christmas tree, eggnog in coffee. Adding nature to the house – red berries, frosted mini forest settings and cloved oranges strung up to reflect the ages of my boys, 5 & 7 – brings me joy. And there’s no exception to that adage in my house: when mom’s happy everyone’s better off.
One of the many values that appealed to us about the Waldorf community was pulling back from media-heavy culture. Silly, I know, but I thought it’d be easier. A little media actually seems harder in practice then none or a whole lot. So I’ve been working on making it “a little” closer to “a little, really.”
Thanks to the Fish Pond, I’ve started making things with my hands: felty critters, beaded stuff, pillowcases and snack bags. My kids see this and, simply, they seem calmer. My little guy, Jon Luka, will even join me most days. Our 7-year-old Max is in public school and Star Wars-obsessed. On the cusp of his learning to read a few weeks back, I was tempted to give in to Star Wars early reader books. But the violence made me think twice about giving him such a first impression of the lifelong reading experience. Sure enough, he has begun reading books about lemonade, toads and other things he found boring not long ago. This month we cut out a morning TV show from the daily routine. It happened overnight, without even blowing up the TV. No subsequent uprising from our children either. Perhaps most surprising is that my husband, Inan, and I survived these mornings with our own heads intact.
Another recent adventure has been cutting out the 3-year Friday film night tradition with the boys’ best pal. The point of this ritual has been to allow us to socialize with grownups without leaving home or hiring a babysitter. Afraid to bring it up with our friends for too long, I finally explained what I thought we could do differently and why… it’s working. Bonfires, family games, older kid helpers, and costumes, costumes, costumes.
The advice that has helped the most: If you explain cutting out media to kids with respect for them and, here’s the key, total conviction, they get it.
Wishing you and your family all manner of joy and love this season,
Kristen, WSA Kindergarten Mom
- Alumna Testimonial
From the age of four I have been a Waldorf student. Throughout the years I have had my ups and downs coming to terms with my “media light” approach to life, and it wasn’t until 11th grade that I realized how lucky I was to grow up with the “media light” approach my mother took when it came to raising me.
When I was younger my friends would always talk about movies and TV shows that I had absolutely no clue about. At the time I was upset, but recently I’ve come to realize that I had the best childhood ever.
Lately when I babysit children they either want to watch TV while I’m there, or talk about what they’ve seen recently. When this happens I usually suggest that we draw, play a game, or make up a story, and the kids are easily re-directed and become very engaged and interested with what I offer them.
When I was their age I was building entire cities in my playroom with every toy I could lift off the ground. I believed in gnomes, and built more fairy houses at the bases of trees than you can imagine. I was the happiest little kid you would meet, or at least I’d like to think I was.
These days I find myself coming to different conclusions about situations than many of my peers. I’d like to think this attribute was formed through my extensive play as a child.
And now, Olivia’s words of advice: Your children can play by themselves. They do not need any type of media to distract them. Believe me. I would know.
Olivia, WSA graduate, class of 2011