This post was written by Sarah Fernandez. Photo Credit: Heleen Sitter/Getty Images
When my son was born, I was determined to keep him away from the television for as long as possible. I made it until he was almost two years old before we introduced Curious George and Sesame Street, and he officially became a television watcher. And while there have been times when he watched way too much of it, at five years old now we have found a nice balance of about an hour a day. But my daughter who is two and a half will not watch television, and I never thought I'd say this, but it drives me nuts!
The thing about television is that it has its benefits. As most parents who have television watchers know, it can be easy to let your child watch lots of television because they become all consumed in it and you know that they are going to sit safely in that chair with their eyes aimed at the wall while you finish up that last bit of work, make a phone call, or get dinner made. I'm not saying that you want to leave them there for hours, but to throw on a show for half an hour once a day can be quite helpful.
While many people would like to say that television is a brain drain, I actually have found that if you choose the right shows, it can be very educational. For the past year we've only gotten PBS kids shows and my son has always been very into Curious George which has underlying themes of science and math. When we did get other channels, he loved the Imagination Movers on Disney which also always had a solid lesson in science or the way things work in each episode. Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Club always have a heavy focus on letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. I am absolutely certain that in addition to his pre-school and my husband and I working with him that my son has learned a lot of good things from watching television and that it has cemented some important basics.
But my daughter will not sit still. It's not as though she can even play on the floor in front of the television or sit and have a snack in front of the television for five minutes. She is a crayons on the walls, jump on the bed, run circles around the house type. Yes, she will sit and color and loves to do puzzles, but you literally can't take your eyes off her and be confident that there won't be a mess to pick up. The rule in my house is if it's quiet, she's probably doing something wrong. Even when she snuggles into bed and acts as though she is going to watch something it is no more than a few seconds before she is wigging around. And while she can leap a couch in a single bound, she was a very late talker and I think the reiteration of lessons she's learning in pre-school and with us would be helpful to her in getting her caught up with her speech and in naming objects and colors.
I know that most parents would never say it but without wavering I can say that I cannot wait until my child will sit down and watch television!
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