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Kids and Television Nov 06

Let’s take a few moments and be honest. How many of you let your children watch TV every day? *raises hand* How many of you feel a little bit guilty about this? *raises hand again* Is there anyone who feels REALLY guilty? *looks around*

Why? Why do we judge ourselves so harshly for allowing our kid(s) to watch TV? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (5 episodes per day on Disney) teaches colors, patterns, counting, and basic math, among other topics. Wonder Pets (NickJr) teaches teamwork. The Fresh Beat Band and Jack’s Big Music Show (also NickJr) expose kids to music, rhythm, and even some dancing. Imagination Movers (Disney) help teach kids problem solving skills and teamwork.

These are all essential life skills being taught in a “language” that small kids understand and are happy to see.
Usually, the argument against TV is the lack of physical movement while watching. This might be a concern with older kids, but is a toddler EVER still? My almost 2 year old dances to every theme song and end credit music. She spends the rest of the show scaling the furniture while watching the shows out of the corner of her eye. She chases the cats until she can squash them with love.

Another concern is that parents are using the TV as a babysitter. This can be a concern, because you really can’t trust a toddler to stay where you put them, no matter how well behaved they are. There is nothing that replaces the attention of a parent or caregiver. You’re just inviting trouble if you trust the TV to take care of your child for long periods of time.

There are several times per day when my daughter is left “alone” with the TV. Usually, it is because I have to go to the bathroom or I’m gathering laundry. Occasionally I have taken the world’s fastest shower while she drinks her milk and helps Mickey solve his daily dilemmas. But it is NEVER her sole companion for longer than 10 minutes. Even on the days when I take a shower while she’s awake, I shower, throw a robe on, check on her, THEN go get dressed.
She rarely notices, and is happy to curl up in my lap upon my return and name all the Clubhouse friends while they do the hot dog dance. Then we talk about how many friends there were in the episode, what colors they wore, the problems they solved…

EVERYTHING a toddler sees and does is a learning experience, and why should we keep our kids isolated by teaching them only what we know? Why not expand our knowledge as parents and educators with the help of professionals to enrich our kids? I learn or am reminded of something every day while watching the silly shows on Playhouse Disney and NickJr, and it makes me want to teach these things to my daughter, and share the experiences she sees on TV with her in real life.
With this kind of use, how is TV bad for kids?

Category: hot topic
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