Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.

Also: Every three months, I'll accept submissions and choose a few pieces to post for LM readers to enjoy.
Consider these findings from The Media Family: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Their Parents, a survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2006:

More than four in ten children under 2 years old watch TV every day and nearly one in five watch videos or DVDs every day.

Most parents say they are in the same room with their child while they're watching TV either all or most of the time (88% of those whose children this age watch TV in a typical day).

And these quotes from the survey focus groups:

"It makes life easier now, but in the long run, when they're older and starting to run into all these problems, I think I'll wish I wouldn't have let them do it when they were five." Mother of a 4-6 year old in Columbus, Ohio

"I don't think media has anything to do with how I am as a parent. I would never sit her in front of the television so I could go and do something. I learned a long time ago that the dishes can wait until tomorrow. It can all wait. I have seen my 15 year-old grow up in the blink of an eye...I take advantage of all the time I can get." Mother of a 1-3 year-old, Irvine, California

"For our little guy, TV time is all of us on the couch together. We'll talk about what's going on. If it's Blue's Clues, we'll answer back. We only do 20 minutes a night." Mother of a 1-3 year old from Irvine, California

"I watch CSI...[S]he sits down and watches with me. I don't know how harmful it is to her. It's something gory, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She hasn't had any nightmares from it." Mother of a 1-3 year old, Irvine, California

Read the entire report here.

Journal Entry: Do you have house rules about television? List them. Then, write about a favorite television show from your childhood. What made it special?

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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House rules about television: I love film and television, so I have rules both for me and my children! I don't want it taking too much time for other things we like to do. It is so easy to just veg out on the sofa - and sometimes we do. Generally on a Friday night, when the whole family watch a film on DVD together and eat nice food. "Fredagsmys" - the children love it, it is a nice event. We have only one television, in the living room. We have one television where we can watch only DVDs in a cosy attic room, but we rarely use it. I am really strict about what my daughters can watch (age 10 and 6). No news, no violent films, and if it is something else but children's programmes, I usually watch with them. My eldest daughter didn't watch TV until she was 3, which I think is a good idea. My youngest watched earlier though, but I wish she hadn't - she is clearly more into TV than her elder sister. Both are very creative though and generally play a lot and easily come up with stuff. They are rarely bored. They don't play computer games. My eldest have tried a couple of times now during the last year and enjoys it, but she doesn't pay much attention to it. She has no problems catching up on how to write and use a computer, although she has only recently started using one for her school work. I have good friends who don't care at all what their children are watching. Maybe that is OK, I don't know. However, having spent my entire professional life working with words and pictures and studying it on a more theoretical level too, I do believe research that claims that too much TV / screen time is not great for kids, particularly really young ones. What's the point of spending a whole life in front of a screen anyway? Best wishes, Erika, Stockholm
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