If you know me well, you know that I have a sort of “extreme” view on kids and television. I can count on one hand the number of times I have turned on a TV show or video for Nora (Okay, I just counted. It’s literally five times). I’m just not a fan of all the technology that kids have access to these days. But I have a special concern when technology is overused on the littlest ones.
Let me put this out there first. I love to watch TV and movies and watch them semi-regularly. I am excited for the day when Nora is old enough to have a little bowl of popcorn and snuggle with us under a blanket and watch a movie. And will I get to a point in life where I need to turn on a show to distract my child so I can get something done? Of course! However, I also see important reasons to limit the amount of TV a young child watches.
It is important for each family to decided how they want to approach TV with their kids. So when my husband and I discussed this topic, we came to a decision to very rarely show our kids TV, especially when they are under the age of three. We know how much growth and learning happens in the first few years of a child’s life. A baby comes into the world literally unable to do most things and knowing nothing! There are so many wonderful, amazing things for a little one to learn and experience in those early formative years. We wanted an importance to be placed on play, interaction, exploration, and outdoors time rather than television. Because of this, Collin and I don’t even turn the TV on around Nora, simply because we want her to focus on playing and so she doesn’t see us distracted from her.
We also know that there are many shows geared towards young babies that brag of “making your baby smart” or “helping brain development” but we know that those shows will never replace real, hands-on experiences in the world. We want our kids to be able to interact with others, enjoy playing outside, use their imaginations, and do those things well. We know that sometimes, too much TV can hinder those objectives.
So, for us, we want to encourage Nora to play with different toys. To build, create, and explore things around the house. We want her to play outside and get her hands dirty in the mud. We want to let her pick flowers (weeds). We want Nora to look at books and be read to over and over. All of these activities are mentally and physically active and stimulate her brain, rather than passively entertaining the way watching TV does. Choosing the above activities more than TV does sometimes mean that she is not “distracted” long enough for me to get my to-do list done. But in the long run, I feel like I am doing what is best for her and our family.
Again, hear me say, our children will watch TV and movies sometimes. I’m sure I will occasionally use Saturday morning cartoons as a way to let me sleep in a little bit longer and a family movie night will be one of our regulars. But in our household, you will not see the TV on for our kids routinely.
How does your family TV?