If you would allow me to digress from my regularly scheduled post on healthy food, there’s another topic that’s been on my mind…
Before I had my Lily, I always felt that I would not let her watch TV until she was at least 2 years old, and then it would only be select shows (like Sesame Street) and for a very limited amount of time. Back then, I was thinking 30 minutes a day MAX.
But, then I found out just how much work it really is to raise a toddler and how draining it can be, and furthermore, how difficult it can be to find any time to do anything but look after said toddler. Being a work-at-home mom, most of the actual work I do gets done when Lily is napping; if I am not totally pooped by the time she goes to bed at night, I work until I am ready for bed myself. My point being, I had no (and still don’t seem to have any) down time.
We don’t have cable, luckily, but we do have the internet- obviously –and know what YouTube is. So, one day I allowed her to watch a couple of short videos of Sesame Street songs. At first she was intrigued, but not completely absorbed by it, and lost interest rather quickly. She was around 14 months old then, and since I noticed that it did capture her attention for a period of time, albeit a short period of time, I decided to reserve “YouTube time” for desperate situations, like when I was cooking and she wouldn’t get out from under my feet or if I had an important phone call I absolutely had to make and could not risk it being interrupted.
Eventually, 5-10 minutes turned into 20-30 minutes, then up to an hour, now Lily is 18 months old and I sometimes allow her to watch Elmo videos for over an hour! During those hour+ periods, it has been because she was sick and it was the only thing that would actually distract her from the pain or because I needed her to calm down to go to bed and just put the TV on in the background while she played. Often, when that has happened, she does more staring and less playing.
It bothers me, but at the same time I get so much done! It is quite a temptation that I am becoming increasingly less able to resist. Of course, I make sure that she gets plenty of actual TV-free playtime and I take her to the park and for walks regularly, but I still worry that I may be causing her to get into a routine that I will not be able to reverse.
|Image courtesy http://www.fairfaxsyndication.com/|
We all are well-aware that watching too much TV is bad for our health; mentally because it causes our brains to become prone to ADHD-related conditions as well as zombie-like conditions, and physically because it makes us- children especially –fat and lazy. Also, at least 90% of what’s regularly on TV these days is total CRAP! I feel dumber after watching less than 5 minutes of any of the frighteningly popular reality shows that are on just about every channel. I DO NOT want Lily to think that watching them is okay!
I will also, of course, teach her that there’s a difference between educational programming and junk television when the time comes, but until then, I still wonder if it’s still unhealthy no matter what I allow her to watch.
Dear readers, what do you think? Do you let your young children watch TV, and if so, just how much is allotted? How do you handle situations when your child is in daycare or at a friend’s house? What are your thoughts on the subject overall?
Thanks in advance! I really look forward to hearing from you all!