Friday, October 19, 2007

RAMBLING: To TV or Not to TV?!?!

Every mom knows this battle well. It probably ranks, in terms of debate, with vaccinating, breastfeeding and well you get the picture. Should little ones watch TV and what are the ramifications of letting them.

We've all seen the reports ...

Early childhood TV watching causes ADD.
Children who watch Baby Einstein videos test lower then those who didn't.
And the latest,
Too much TV watching leads to autism.

To me, these are all scare tactics -- ways to get parents in their guts and make them freak out. Too much TV is a bad thing, I hope EVERYONE is aware of this. But 10-30 minutes of TV every now and then so you, as Mom, can unload the dishwasher or make dinner or just UNWIND is not a bad thing. If it helps both you and the child recharge and take a time-out of sorts, there is NOTHING wrong with it.

If you can't tell by now, I'm a FIRM believer in everything in moderation. There is a GREAT article in the October 2007 issue of Parenting Magazine that addresses this very question. I can't find the article online, I'll try to scan it later. But the woman tackles this the way I've always believed. The trick is monitoring usage, screening the entertainment and being involved. Make sure the images don't move too rapidly or depict scenes your little one can't handle. Look for shows that are targeted at your little one's age range. And limit their intake to little bits here and there. Also participate with them while they watch. Ask questions about the show with them, engage them.

I don't know about you, but my almost 2-year-old will not sit still for a TV program but if it happens to catch her eye she'll watch for a little bit. The larger issue here, in my opinion, is the parent. An involved, loving, caring parent does not have to worry about the small doses of TV their child is "ingesting." It's the parents who use the TV as a babysitter all day that should worry and sadly they likely aren't worried one bit.

Sesame Street Taught Me Everything,

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