Friday, March 11, 2011
I'm turning into one of those people
Disclaimer: This is not a post for bashing on parents who let their kids watch TV. There are just a lot of things it's easy to be opinionated about before you have children. :)
Before Olivia was born I taught preschool. During that time, I formed some very strong opinions about just how much little kids don't need to watch television. It was obvious which kids in my class watched TV and which kids spent their time just playing. And the later just did better and seemed happier. A lot of that had to do with the fact that their attention spans weren't as short as their TV-watching counterparts. It wasn't just a matter of numbers in a study. It was obvious to me. So I swore then and there that my kids were not going to watch TV all the time. And I felt pretty strongly about not having my kids watch any TV for at least the first several years.
Ahem. Well... uhh... heh heh.
I'll say this: I still think that all of that is true, the importance of kids not watching TV and all that. But I can also see the value--as a parent--in having a few minutes (or twenty) to get something done when you know your kid will just sit in one place for a little while.
So how did kids television weasel its way into our house? It started innocently, as I'm sure it always does. We were at the public library one day picking out movies and books. I spotted a video about dogs and picked it out thinking that Olivia would like to see the dogs. Well, she did like the dogs, but it was a documentary kind of movie, not really made for 18 month olds. So the next time we were at the library we picked some videos out that seemed a little more age-appropriate for Olivia. And it didn't occur to me to stop and think about if that was something we even wanted in our house.
It seems like overnight we went from never having the TV on while Olivia was awake to letting her watch "baby" (I don't know why she calls TV shows that) almost every day, and multiple times most days. I still have mixed feelings about it.
But I do want to step in here and say that I do feel some kind of comfort in at least just having it be PBS shows on DVD, so there is some indication of simplicity, quality, and content. And no commercials to worry about. And at the end of an episode it comes back to the main menu instead of moving on to another show. And, to be totally honest, I'm not worried about Olivia watching Busy Town, Berentsain Bears, and Caillou.
What I do worry about is how easy it is for me to just turn on a show and have Olivia occupied for as long as its on. And that's a big part of why I was so reluctant to get into all this in the first place. But of course I can't blame anyone but myself for bringing videos into the house.
Anyway, I hope this hasn't come off as a post about how you must be a terrible parent if you let your kids watch TV. Because, if it is that kind of post, then I'm in there with the rest of you. I guess mostly this is a post about my own inability to decide how I feel about it.
Any input out there?
Any explanation as to why Caillou is bald?
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because, unfortunately, this cold seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better. Today may be a very "baby"-filled day. :)