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Thursday, October 20, 2011

No TV? No way!

So this morning while I was helping my kids get ready for school I heard this on the radio, "No TV for kids under 2". Apparently it can impair language development or something. I didn't get to hear all of it.

I did google it to see what the "new" report said. Basically it says there's no educational value for kids 0-2 and it impairs language and sleep. This is the best I found. If you google it you'll see just how many there are.

Well, now that gives one pause. If only to say, What the Hey?! Stay with me here.

We all know that there's plenty of Educational TV (or so called some might say) out there. Most of us probably grew up on Sesame Street.

I had a single Dad. For awhile an Aunt did live with us but that's another story. For the most part of my younger life, he was a single Dad. He worked the grave yard shift at the rail road. During the day he'd work on cars of family, friends, friends of friends, etc.. When he could no longer work at the rail road working on cars became his full time job. He really had no one to watch me. He worked from home so he could both provide and watch out for me. Can you say, lots of TV? I can. I watched lots of TV and VCR tapes. I can't say if I watched any TV from 0-2. It's likely I may have watched TV in my toddler years.

For sure there's more programs now for kids than when I was a kid. More channels and more ways to watch than ever before.

The thing is. Most parents are not letting their kids watch TV for it's educational purposes. They're letting them watch it so they can get things done. I grew up having to entertain myself. Now while I will play with the kids and get silly with them, I also encourage them to find their own things to do. TV is not always what they choose. I've watched and heard them play countless silly games with each other or friends outside or in their room.

BUT anyway this is about the watching TV educational or not.

I am guilty of letting my kids watch programs on the TV. Heck, while I would get the older 2 ready for bed Meg would be in her play pen in our room watching Sprout. Bridge for the longest was a Noggin (now Nick Jr) fan. Sean, your classic channel surfer. Speaking of Sean, many, many nights I sat up with him during his infancy and the TV was on. He was forever plagued with ear/sinus infections and just never did sleep well at all. Plus, there's the fact that when I'm home the TV is almost always on as background noise if nothing else.

I don't feel guilty that I let my kids watch TV.  I felt we've struck a balance. I also felt like letting them watch it was helping them learn and keeping them out of my way long enough to cook or clean or whatever. (Pretty sure the whatever doesn't need explaining *wink wink*) My kids knew what channels or shows they could watch. They're even pretty good at knowing what I'd deem inappropriate. The utter horror of my son not getting to watch the Simpsons was forever debated between me and him. This is where I'm sure his hatred of the term "Parentocracy" came from.

Now my kids not only watch TV but they also use my iPad a fair amount. Most of the time they are wanting to watch Netflix on it while they wait for their TV/Computer turn.

I'm not wanting to debate TV vs No TV or is it really educational. I just thought it was funny. Especially considering I don't know anyone who's kids hasn't watched TV. It's probably a good bet that the so called experts don't always follow their own advice/guidelines (just saying).

I grew up watching TV. I have fond memories of watching Sesame Street and Saturday Morning Cartoons. Things like Gun Smoke and Wheel of Fortune with my Daddy. Going the the video store every Friday to rent movies. For me and Daddy our time was going to the local dirt track on Saturday to watch the race cars. I turned out alright. So far, I think my kids are fine. We get out and do things together. Maybe not museums or anything. We still manage to get quality non TV time together.

Does make me wonder what those Your Baby Can Read people are gonna do now. I mean, they guarantee if you use their program (videos w/flash cards) that your kid can read as an infant. Think they're sales are gonna go down do to this report?