Like many parents, I swore that my kids wouldn’t watch any television (or play with plastic toys, or eat non-organic fruit) until they were at least (fill in appropriate age here). It didn’t take long to use Baby Einstein videos to keep my six-month-old distracted in his pack-n-play while I ran out to double-park the car every Tuesday and Thursday. (Yes, he was alone in the apartment for five minutes. Send complaints here.) And then I started using them to take a shower, feed him dinner, and lay down on the couch when I was very pregnant with his future Frenemy.
And once the second kid came along, it all flew out the window. I blame getting rid of cable. See, to make up for the lack of Noggin (old school for Nick Jr.), we bought a five-pack of DVDs. Dora, Backyardigans, that sort of thing. It was great! But they had an evil feature that soon overpowered me: Continuous Play. All five shows would play one after the other to create 105 minutes of a blissful, zombie-like toddler. That became a daily coping mechanism, and I’d run around like crazy for those 105 minutes doing all the things I couldn’t with two cherubs pulling at every limb and belly roll and boob.
Yes, I went headfirst down the slippery slope of kiddie television.
Has it hurt my kids and their potential? Possibly. They still get a lot less television than they could, and I limit it to shows that are made just for kids – not for the parents of kids. And at 5 years old, my son has been recently introduced to the Feature. Naturally, his younger sister was introduced as well…so she’s going to be stunted for sure. But then I see this kind of stuff:
We watched Pixar’s Up during the five days of rain we had during our recent vacation.
And my daughter, who has a markedly different drawing style, recently made this after seeing an episode of Team Umizoomi.
I’m not too worried about their creativity being wrapped up in that zombie stance I see sometimes when they’re soaking in an episode of Spiderman from the 60’s. I just make sure that they get opportunities to act it all out or draw it all out later.
Do you remember watching a lot of television as a young child? Did you create pictures as awesome as my kids’ artwork? (Impossible!)