Our kids have set bed times which are fairly early. We try to be consistent when it comes to food choices, making them eat healthy, non-branded and not encased in sugar or preservatives- and no fast food (unless it is free kids meal night at Chic-Fil-a) and organic or natural when possible (but we are not Nazis. We allowed them to eat lots of Halloween candy). Kristi has a set afternoon schedule consisting of naps, homework and playtime until I come home. We even try to be good with discipline, our downfall. Our kids even get "grounded" which consists of sitting in the their room with no toys or books. We try to keep them away from commercial television, although that has become more of a challenge as they have outgrown Noggin. Luckily the library has DVDs and our kids have little downtime during the week. Finally, they have almost no toys, food, clothing, etc. with branding beyond the occasional sports team and super hero (dad's choice) and Little Kitty (mom's choice). We fail as often as we succeed, but we are trying.
I mention this because as they get older, this becomes more of a challenge. When they were smaller, we could act as if the world of Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Sponge Bob and Barney (they saw it once at grandparent's home) did not exist. We could act as if nobody took their kids to McDonald's or gave their kids sugar encased lunches. However, by sending our kids to school, they have become exposed to all of these new things and sometimes do not "get it" as to why we make different choices. We cannot tell them it is because we are better, smarter, or love them more, which they would understand (and I occasionally feel). We have to discuss life choices that are more abstract than a 5-7 year old can fathom at times.
What is amazing is how pervasive the market is. I have complained in the past, blogging on this subject on occasion, reading books, wishing the church would tackle the issue and wishing other parents would make my life easier by not buying their kids this crap (Thank God for school uniforms). The most frustrating piece for me is the capitulation to the market of most parents. Not only do they buy their kids whatever piece of crap they want upon the first whine, much of the time they introduce this crap to their kids because Mom and Dad likes it (eg. Jonas Brothers).
It irks me because I am not a ascetic that fights the market at all times. I just want to have limits. I want to say no and want other parents to say no to the market occasionally, even when they like something.
However, the limits are hard when my 5 year old knows the names of the Jonas Brothers when they have never seen a show or been exposed to them in our house. The limits are difficult when girls at school find role models in that Cyrus chick and become sexualized at a young age. It is especially difficult when you choose to run in the wrong direction from culture during birthdays, holidays and every time you are shopping. And, I am sure it will only get worse.
Ahhh. I sound like every other parent out there.
Anyway, here is a good resource
here are good links
Once more, I wish Christian parents would tackle this and make resources for the church. However, it would be unpopular and some parents would complain that the church is judging them and coming down on them, when the church should come down hard on the sinners outside the church, not on their financial choices.