Thoughtful Thursday: to TV or not to TV?

I’ve noticed, as my group of mom friends expands, that many of us don’t like to admit that we switch on the television for our kids. As my own daughter screamed “I watch tv!” as we strolled through the aisles of my very favorite store, my face grew bright red in embarrassment. Why? Because it seems that admitting to use the television as a tool for whatever, a break, learning, etc has become a “mommy sin”. I admit it. My daughter’s entire first year of life, I refused to turn on the television for fear of what other people thought. Really? Who cares.

There is TONS of research out there to say WHY television is bad for kids. And you know? If you truly take the time to actually read it, alot of it revolves around children who spend hours upon hours upon hours in front of the television. I’m talking, like, 30 hours a week, kinda children. And I’m guessing … just guessing … that if you’re reading this, you probably play an active role in your child’s life and don’t let it get that extreme. But I could be wrong. And it’s not my place to judge. Nor is it anyone else’s.

Here are some conclusions and tips I have kinda summarized in my research on this topic. Please … by no means am I wonder mom … just want to share my opinion, as just about everyone does!

1. The TV shows that can be “good” for your kid … meaning educational in format … tend to be scheduled during the wee morning hours that children like to be awake and parents do not. It is my opinion that the scheduler-type person of tv stations was once a mother that had to drink 5 cups of coffee during her 5:30 wake up call and the only way to keep her early bird child from getting into trouble until she could actually wake up was to flip on the tube. And therefore, is now making it “meaningful” for the rest of us.

2. This same tv-scheduler person is still that mom that needed a break in the afternoon in order to maintain her sanity. And is now doing the same for us.

3. We all have our mommy sins. Don’t judge.

On a more serious note …

If TV is a “tool” you use for whatever reason … keep a few things in mind…

4. Sit with your kiddo! Talk about what’s going on in the story/show … make it an interactive experience and take advantage of the opportunity to bring up new vocabulary words your kiddo may not know yet.

5. WHILE you are sitting with them … use commercials to take a “movement” break. Get your kid up off the couch and do 10 jumping jacks and some stretches with them. This takes their little brains out of that comatose mode they tend to get into while zoning out to Sesame Street (they are mesmerizing, aren’t they?)

6. Choose the programs wisely … look for programs that emphasize early reading, writing, math or science … or programs who teach about character, life skills or diversity … steer away from scary characters as kids this age tend to have difficulty distinguishing real from make believe … and stay clear of violence! The last thing we need is more nasty people in this world …

And my last thought …

If there is puke, stuffy noses, coughing or fever … a warm snuggly blanket and good children’s movie is a MUST. Cuddle up with your babe and enjoy the downtime!

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