TV Time - Yea or Nay?

What do you think of videos? I was strictly opposed before, but my child LOVES them! My mom lets her watch Dora or Elmo in the car and she gets so excited and starts singing along and doing the moves. I wonder if maybe she learns more or just as much from the video as from playing with a toy. Obviously, time interacting with me or another human is better than the video, but do you think the video is a bad idea categorically? Thanks.

When I wake up and feel sick - the kind of sick where I know I'll be stuck in bed all day - I feel so grateful for videos. I am grateful that there is such good programming, enough to fill an entire day and more. Seriously, your child may just be the next baby Einstein after all that they learn.

And the studies I know prove that a child watching television is very different than adults - it is so interactive. They have to shout "Para!" or jump up and down or help find those Blue's Clues. And the interaction makes it very different for children than adults.

Having said that, I don't think its really about the quality or even how much joy they find. I really think its more about their behavior and yours. And what I mean is, do your kids watch tv or movies out of habit or out of novelty? Do you use the video as a tool or a crutch?

I remember forever ago, I had moved and found myself without cable - there wasn't a single channel I could find, even using bunny ears. And for one solid week I would walk around and wonder what to do - especially in the evening. I would turn the tv on and off - out of habit - clearly nothing would be on. I would think about shows and count down until my cable returned. And by about day two I realized how addictive it can be - how my behavior had changed - I didn't have a system for living without a tv - and I had turned into a pacing tiger waiting instead of living.

But of course, my kids watch movies and tv. We love Backyardigans, Elmo, Cars. But, I try not to let it become a significant part of the day - and make sure there are days we don't do it at all - because there is a lot of fun to be had - and its nice to know we still can fill our day with play. Our imaginations and play world is just as fun. We aren't in a rut.

If you try having a "no tv day" and it is really painful - it can really get you thinking. Does your child ask for movies over and over when they are bored instead of asking for playdough over and over? Are you finding yourself without things to do or without new ideas? I think a day off is a great measure! If its no problem - then all the better!

Anyhow, keep watching, and thank goodness on regular days, sick days, and especially those "no good, terrible" days that we have such a great tool.


Eva's Mom said...

TV is part of my two-year-old's bedtime routine. It all started with Signing Time videos. This was the one thing she would sit still for when she was smaller.

We watched 15 minutes before bed every night. One night, she saw the cover of "Robots" in our dvd case. On a whim, I let her watch it. Now, 4 of every 5 nights she watches some of "Robots" before saying prayers, brushing her teeth, getting a goodnight story and going to bed.

angie said...

of course i also say - turn on the tv the second harry potter is around so that you can read it in one long day - uninterrupted :)

i like your idea of watching it as part of your routine!

familia Bybaran said...

Thanks Angie. Good advice. We just discovered this great video called Dora Big sister and it's all about how Dora's mom is going to have a baby and how excited everyone is. She's watched it a few times and really gets excited when I tell her I am going to have a baby, but I am not sure she fully gets it yet. But the video has been helpful with that.