Like most parents, I try to limit Michael's exposure to inappropriate subject matter. We don't watch the news when he's awake. I don't let him watch scary movies. I'm not being over protective, I'm just trying to stick with age appropriate material. For the most part, this has worked.
The hardest part with Michael is that he likes a lot of nonfiction books and shows. You can't be obsessed with dinosaurs without coming across the concepts of extinction, meat eaters, big scary teeth, and dying. I try to limit the scary stuff, but there is only so much I can do. We just got a new dinosaur book recently and it included a big poster of a very scary T-Rex. Michael insisted on hanging it on his wall. So, the kid who is afraid of chompers - whatever they are - and has a sign on his door to keep chompers out also has a terrifying picture of a T-Rex on his wall that he loves. Go figure.
To try and limit Michael's exposure to scary nature stuff, I do try to limit his non-fiction books to close to his age range. I admit, I also skip over a few lines in some of his books as well. He really doesn't need to know that floods kill people yet. However, being cautious isn't always good enough, because you never know what's going to cause a problem.
Last night it took about an hour to get Michael to sleep. We had read for quite a while before bedtime, and Michel was tired and yawning by the time I tucked him in. Unfortunately, right as I was tucking him in the wind picked up and knocked over the sled that was sitting on the front porch. "Mommy, what's that?"
I tried to explain that it was just the wind. No good. I went out and checked to see what it was and reported back that it was the sled. No good. Before long I was kneeling on the floor explaining that there were no thieves trying to break into the house and steal his toys. I explained locks and keys and how we have a busy neighborhood and, blah, blah, blah. I'm not sure I made it any better. Andy finally had to step in a distract Michael from the topic and then repeat the bedtime routine before Michael would go to sleep.
Why is Michael worried about thieves? He didn't learn it from the news. He didn't learn it at school. It wasn't that we weren't being careful. It's all because of one line in one book. Michael has a small book about pyramids. It's very basic. There is no talk of mummies or anything scary like that. It simply states on one page that some tombs had secret doorways to keep thieves out. He picked up on the one line the first time I read the book and ran with it. He asks questions about thieves all the time, and we do our best to answer in a way to avoid scaring him. However he still thinks someone is going to break in and take his toys. Poor kid.
On the other hand, it's probably safe to say that his Thomas the Train tracks and trains are worth more than most of the electronics we have in the house. Which would you pay more for on eBay, an old CRT TV or a huge bin of Thomas trains and track? Maybe we should lock them up?