Want to read the whole series?
You can find all the 31 Days of Becoming an Intentional Parent posts listed here.
This topic is a biggie for us. Our Emma is almost 8 years old, and we have worked hard to maintain her innocence. We want her to stay a little girl for as long as possible. Doing this takes being intentional like nothing else.
I’m always astounded by the worldly, grown-up knowledge that some kids have. I’ve heard them quote song lyrics that are beyond their years and play video games that are rated for kids much older than they are. I’ve also heard their parents talk about their bad dreams and bad attitudes. I don’t wonder about the connection.
Every family will have a different idea of what is appropriate for kids at different ages. It’s not my intention to force my family’s standards on you, just to share some things that we’ve had success with.
It’s hard to dress a little girl like a little girl these days, especially when she’s taller than average. The tops are cut to hug nonexistent curves, the sandals all have heels, the jeans are cut skinny. Everything looks way too grown-up. Emma wants to wear clothes that are cute and comfy. We’ve had to work hard to find little girl clothes for her. It’s meant shopping at multiple stores, buying what’s appropriate at each one, and sometimes even ordering online. But it’s worth it.
We’re blessed with a musical little lady. We started her out with VeggieTales and worship songs for kids. She’s always wanted to listen to our grown-up music too, so we’ve been careful to model wholesome choices for her. We encourage her to sing in the kids’ choir at church and to be part of the Christmas musical. We listen to her VBS CDs in the van, even when we’re tired of listening to them. We believe SO strongly that what goes in is what comes out, so we want to pour positive, God-honoring music into her.
Her TV & Movies
This is another garbage in – garbage out area, so we guard this carefully. We don’t have cable. Haven’t for years. That means that the TV that Emma watches at home is either DVD-based or an online episode of a show she knows we approve of. My parents do have cable, and they’re great about DVR-ing shows they know we let Emma watch. That way Emma can watch different shows at their house. Emma also doesn’t watch TV alone. Someone is always with her, available to discuss a conflict between characters, a choice someone made, or a product from a commercial.
Her Computer Time
Emma knows that she’s allowed on a specific handful of websites. If she sees another one advertised, she lets us know she’s interested, we check it out, and we decide if it’s appropriate or not. So far that’s worked for us. But we want to guard her against any typing errors too. I don’t want her to swap letters and accidentally end up on something inappropriate. For that reason, we use the BSecure filtering program on our computers. It allows us to set which categories of sites are available and which are blocked. It’s not perfect. No product like that is. But it cuts down on the probability that she’ll stumble onto something. She’s also supervised when she’s using the computer. Fortunately our two computers sit side-by-side in the office, so one of us uses one computer while she uses the other.
This kiddo loves to read. In fact, she calls herself a bookworm. 🙂 Does this mama’s heart good. Because she was an early reader, she’s able to read books that are meant for kids older than she is. Most people would see this as a great thing. We do. But we also see the down-side that the books meant for kids older than her are sometimes about topics that are too mature for her. Because of this, we read everything she reads. For us they’re quick reads, but more than once we’ve found some topics that we don’t want her exposed to yet. We love it when we find a series like The Cul-de-Sac Kids books that share our faith and are wholesome reads!
We know that these aren’t foolproof ways of protecting Emma, but we are trying to be intentional about keeping her a kid as long as possible. The day is coming (too soon for us!) when she’ll want to look more grown-up and listen to more grown-up music. By laying a foundation now, we’re hopeful that she’ll learn to make good choices about what she wears and what she allows into her life.
How are you intentional about protecting your kids’ innocence?
You can stay up-to-date on this topic and join in the discussion in several ways:
Here on the blog (This link goes to the Intentional Parenting category. Feel free to bookmark it.)
You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for 31 Days of Intentional Parenting or get 31 Days of Intentional Parenting updates in your inbox each afternoon.