I’ll play the devil’s advocate and defend what other parents seem to loathe: allowing my kids to spend some time in front of the TV screen!
I have a two year-old daughter and I don’t mind if she sits and spends some time in front of the TV because I do believe that it offers a few benefits that all moms can take advantage of.
Now, before we get carried away, I’d like to clarify a couple of points. To start with, I am only referring to the television screen, as I do believe that it offers its own set of advantages that differs from other types of screens available on the market. Separately, I’d like to specify that I’m referring to a limited amount of time spent in front of the screen, which does not, in any way mean or translate to spending the whole day glued to the TV.
Having said that, here are my four reasons why I don’t mind for my toddler to spend some time in front of the television.
- How much screen time is too much for your kids?
- Why I don’t care who my kids look like
- Why I hate for my daughter to call me by my first name
- What is a perfect mom? I still don’t get it
- The truth behind being an expatriate mom
We’ve done it and we’ve survived
I was born in the 80s, a time when televisions were part of our daily lives. We’ve all watched our favorite cartoons, whether alone, with our siblings or with our friends, and the best part is that we’ve made it to adulthood without being damaged or harmed in any major way.
Looking at how we’ve all turned out, I can tell that we’ve survived TV time and this did not stop us from enjoying our childhood, keeping up with the rigors of homework, spending time outside or playing with our friends. All of this was possible because television was only a small part of our lives, and not the one and only distraction that was available.
The world has since evolved and seen the creation of those ubiquitous screens that we can hold in our hands and control as we please. When tablets and smartphones came out, we (adults) were all wowed with the power that we had in such small devices, and we discovered how conveniently they could keep those little monkeys distracted for some time.
All this sounded great until we realized how disconnected kids could be when they watch a show on the small screens. To start with, the screen is a couple of inches away from their faces which, let’s face it, is really bad for their eyes. And then, kids watch these shows individually which means that their concentration on the little device is taking their attention and time away from the family-fun moments. With television, you don’t “own” the show, but rather you share it with others, and that for me is a big difference.
Television is educational
Now that’s a benefit that all screens have, but I’d like to discuss being in favor of the television as well. Kids learn a lot from the shows that they watch, and in this day and age, the number of children’s programs is truly endless. We live in a multi-linguistic house, and so on the top of learning how life works, I enjoy the fact that I can take advantage of the television to expose my daughter to different languages. It’s a great way to support our daily discussions, and an entertaining way for her to learn new words.
Break for mom
Television can come in very handy when moms are tired of having an audience 24/7, or when they simply need to sit on the couch to relax for 15 minutes. I like to turn it on when I’m busy doing something where it’s important for me to be alone, and when I need my daughter to be distracted for longer than two minutes (like taking a shower, sending a couple of emails, etc.).
I also like to benefit from TV by watching the shows that my daughter enjoys. As I said in point #2, television is an attraction that can be shared by several family members at once and I like (and believe it’s important) to take the time to watch it with my daughter for two main reasons. The first, is to show her that I care about her interests (the same way I care about playing with her Legos or taking her to the park), and I get to share her emotions whenever something exciting happens on the screen. While watching Happy Feet the other day, she was over the moon when the little penguins were born and I was there to share in this excitement with her. The second reason is because it gives me the chance to see what she’s been exposed to. This way, when she uses new words, or wants to experience something new, I know where her ideas are coming from and I can nurture them.
So in the end, television is not such a bad thing. It all depends on how moms decide to benefit from it and how long a child spends in front of it. As I made it to adulthood intact, I am confident my daughter will have an equally successful path. So why prevent her from enjoying it?