Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why TV is good for kids

In case you thought you misread the title of this post, yes, it truly does say that TV is good for kids. Seriously.

Before having children of my own, I used to be one of those people who made statements such as:

"why would anybody let their kids watch an IPAD at dinner? That would be an excellent time to really have a conversation!'


" My kids are definitely never going to watch TV everyday. I'll have lots of stimulating activities planned."

Then... I had kids of my own, and while we do try to limit the amount of TV each day, I do see benefits of television for kids, even young ones.

1) Safety- Sometimes, parents have to do things such as shower, get ready or cook. TV is a sure-fire way to keep kids safe during these times. Turning on an episode of "Paw Patrol" buys me about 25 of time and I know Andrew is sitting calmly. But, can't he just color or play quietly with puzzles? Sure he can, and we use those too, but those often require help or he wants somebody to sit with him.

2) Restaurants- When we visit "Kid-friendly" restaurants (McDonalds, Anthony's Beach Café) we don't bring the IPAD. However, if we plan to dine for longer than half-hour and the restaurant lacks a play area or sandbox, a good show can be a lifesaver. Granted, we rarely visit fancier places with the kids, when we do, its a nice back-up plan to have.

2) Education- While our kids do watch shows, we do monitor (closely) what they watch. So, usually Daniel Tiger, Peppa, Sid the Science Kid or Paw Patrol. Andrew has honestly learned loads from these shows. He's learned about community and jobs from Paw Patrol and Daniel, science vocabulary from Sid and some cook British lingo from Peppa.

Sure, we could teach him these things ourselves, but it sure wouldn't be as entertaining! Plus, he has carried ideas from the show to real life. We conduct some of the same experiments he sees on Sid and have visited fire trucks and recycle trucks and compare them to the ones on Paw Patrol.

Not to mention, TV is part of pop culture. Already Andrew and his buddies comment on shirts kids are wearing (Frozen, Mickey, Paw Patrol, etc) just as my co-workers and I dish about the newest TV series we are into.  I don't want to raise social outcasts, Kidding. Sort of.

3) Behavior-  TV is one of the only ways we can calm down our super-active kid. Today, we attended a 3-hour gymnastics camp and was still wired this evening when we came home. After watching a show, he was relaxed and reading for books and bed. I liken it to how most adults unwind with a favorite series before bed.

Not only is TV calming, but it also provides many lessons on appropriate behavior. Daniel Tiger featured an episode on how having a baby sister can make things different, but fun at the same time. This also included a catchy song and it stuck with him way more than me yelling, "Andrew, let Taylor play too!"

So, yes, I agree that kids shouldn't just sit around watching random TV all day, it does have its place. I know that Pediatricians recommend no TV before two, and I have actually abided to that, but not for lack of trying. Andrew lacked the attention span to watch a show until around that age and Taylor seems to be following in his footsteps.

For now, kids shows are all we have on here, but I look forward to the days when they are a bit older and we can also have "Family Movie night" and watch favorite shows together. I love that families I know bond over Star Wars, Harry Potter, and that these are ways they connect.