Friday, February 14, 2014

Commerical Free Childhood

Two years ago we decided to cancel our cable subscription. My husband was working long hours and going to school at the time. I was home with our then infant. We've had Netflix for years and enjoyed watching shows in seasons all at once. Since my husband was a student - we could not see paying $80+ a month for something like cable that we didn't use daily and could see a way to live without.

Two years later it has had some profound impacts on our daily life, and the way we have chosen to raise Sammy. First being he really doesn't get introduced to things that we don't enjoy also. He's recently been watching Milo and Otis on repeat- but we also regularly watch Thomas the Tank Engine movies and shows and some assorted Disney movies. He's probably never seen an actual commercial. (I have a degree in Advertising hilariously enough) He has stayed young and is happy with lower tech things.

The best thing is the lack of a consumer spirit in Sammy. He seems much more willing to repurpose his items to make due. I think it helps his imagination and creative spirit. Unless we are specifically at Target, he will not ask for a toy or even have any idea that he'd like to have a toy at all. It is really nice. He has a decent amount of toys but nothing amazing. Mostly Hot Wheels Cars and the Little People cars. He has a bunch of Thomas Trains but we buy those as specific rewards or receives them from family members as gifts for holidays. I love that Sammy gets things for a reason and doesn't feel like he should get something all of the time. 

He has no interest in candy or any kind of fast food. He's pretty excited about cheese. And he'll eat a cheeseburger with gusto- but the food is the exciting part not the marketing or the toy inside. He eats when he is hungry. I really enjoy that part of this. He is not on the receiving end of some fast food chain's marketing campaign. He has no idea what McDonalds is - or Chick Fil A. I do sometimes get him meals from there, but he isn't really concerned about packaging so it's just a place to get something to eat if we're really rushed. And dip ketchup. Ketchup is one of his favorite things.

There are often debates about marking toys to boys or girls - and I don't have to get involved in that. There is no marketing done to my child. He takes an interest in something and I then go and buy whatever I feel comfortable with. Usually I introduce him to topics and toys instead of the other way around which I've been pleased with. For example- he decided he liked trains so I bought him a generic train set and over time we included Thomas and Little Engine that Could. We have girl trains and boy trains and pink and blue cars. I want him to have it all- but be mindful that he can determine what kind of person he'd like to be.

Fashion wise- what Mama says goes! Who does not love that. I rely pretty much on pinterest and instagram to get ideas. And what I see in stock places. I feel like I get a better idea of what I really like this way too.

Overall I have been so pleased with having Sammy free from commercial influence. We don't watch TV everyday and usually listen to audiobooks or talk in the car. I feel like he gets enough of technology sprinkled in his life for the time being- I'd really like like him to be small and enjoy what God has given us without distraction. As his mother I know the days are coming when there will be more input from outside sources and I want to lay a strong foundation for what we believe in before it gets here. I am hoping to by the time he sees commercials or product placement at a friend's house he and I will have had time to talk about those things and for him to see what life is like without everyone trying to sell you something- be it an idea or a product.

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