Monday, August 23, 2010

Toddlers and TV

I read plenty of things during pregnancy and early motherhood about not letting kids watch TV until age two, and I believed it. No parking the bumbo in front of a Baby Einstein DVD or whatnot while I showered or fixed dinner. I was fine with that, and I don't feel like we suffered for lack of that form of infant-entertainment.

I knew I wouldn't be a stickler about not having the tube on in Kate's presence at all, even though the studies say that even having it on as "background noise" or whatnot while you play has an impact on kids' creativity, learning, etc. And indeed, Kate has seen her share of college basketball games, CNN, Today Show, and NBC Nightly News (and way more than her share of Friends reruns!) And while she may have looked at the screen some, it never seemed to attract too much of her attention, or distract her from playing--except when it distracts Matt and I in the middle of reading a book (bad Mommy and Daddy!)

Saturday morning, we were all up before 7am, thanks to you-know-who, and around 7:10, I realized "ooh--Today Show's on!" (I love the Today Show, but only see it on weekends since I'm usually trying to get out the door at that time on weekdays.) I turned on the TV, and it was tuned to FOX (from Friends-hour the night before, of course!) Kate spotted the muppet-monsters of "Wimzie's House" and was immediately transfixed.  
She smiled and stared and bounced along to the antics of these adorable preschool monsters.
I thought about flipping over to the Today Show at the commercial break (which, wonderfully, was filled with PSAs telling kids how important it is to brush their teeth and such, rather than actual commercials--not even for toothpaste!) but she was enjoying it so much, I figured a half hour couldn't hurt. And the monsters teach important lessons, like sharing and being kind!
So, I guess we've entered the magical world of children's television now!

What's your favorite program for kids?
and what's your philosophy on kids and TV?


Amy said...

Everything in moderation is my rule. I think a lot of kids shows are really well done and teach good lessons. Right now Bear loves Olivia the pig and Franklin the turtle. (And Avatar - but that's because his brother watches it. Once you have a mix of ages it gets super complicated.)

Shark Boy LOVED Baby Einstein videos and we would let him watch while we showered or while I cooked dinner. We bought some of the Baby Einstein toys and books and if anything, it encouraged creative play. (He will still watch the Farm one if it's ever on, but I pretend not to notice!)

SpeasHill said...

SESAME STREET! If we are home at 9:00, Becca at least watches some portion of it. The best part, of course, is Elmo's World. B also loves the Disney Sing-a-Long DVD's I found at the flea market, and sometimes she really does sing along. It's pretty cute. I keep a couple of them, a couple of Elmo movies, and -- a new favorite -- *The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh* in our bedroom for her to watch while I shower. If I need to get something done (like, say, organize my coupons for the morning's grocery trip), I often have to turn to the t.v., as B is in a big Mommy phase - if I'm around, I HAVE to be paying attention to only her or it's tantrum city.

Becca probably has too much screen time, but, honestly, when I'm with her 24/7, the screen time gives me a much-needed mental break, even I'm not trying to rush to finish something. Part of the difficulty of being a stay at home mom is constantly living in your toddler's mental world (which sounds, probably not incidentally, like "mental ward!"). Seriously, I can't entertain her all the time, and while she is pretty good at entertaining herself with her toys, they don't seem to beat out the Mommy-clinginess like the t.v. does. True confession? Sometimes Sesame Street keeps me from throwing my kid out the window. (Readers who don't know me, don't worry. I would never actually do such a thing.)

I do try to keep track of how much she watches and try to keep it under an hour, and we stick to videos or PBS, so she doesn't see a lot of commercials. In my mind, the biggest risk is developing a sedentary lifestyle, and she's definitely not in danger there right now, but that's always in the back of my mind, so we'll have to reevaluate as she gets older.

Oh, and Elmo videos on my phone while waiting for doctors or during uncomfortable procedures - free pass!

Anonymous said...

Yo Gabba Gabba -- at 3 and 6, my kids will actually eat unfamiliar foods because of the song "Try It, You'll Like It." It is totally psychedelic, but the kids learn great things from the funky songs, (like washing hands to keep away the tiny icky germs, to not be afraid, and even to like bugs). Earlier Baby Einstein (esp. The Orchestra!) was good for us, along with Sesame Street. For preschool/elementary school kids, check out Sid the Science Kid on PBS. My kids love it and learn a ton of basic science in a fun way!

tearzamariebaggett said...

simply put: its fine.
i remember watching tv as a child and grew up totally adjusted and fairly creative! :) dont rely on it as a "babysitter" all the time, but hey... why not sometimes if they're happy?! gosh, Emery LOVED baby einstein when she was tiny and unable to really entertain herself- the music was wonderful! and she lives for mickey mouse clubhouse at 7:30 am along with her morning bottle. looooooves it.

i say its fine. im like amy... moderation is key.

Katie Bug said...

Like you, I was dead set on no TV before 2 years old. For the most part, I was a pretty big stickler on not having it on at all while she was awake.
When Katelyn was about 14 or 15 months, though, her allergies were acting up terribly and we were both getting sick of being stuck I caved an let her watch a little PBS.
Our rule is generally 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. When I was still staying home, however, she would watch the whole hour of Sesame Street if we happened to catch it.


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