Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanda VS. TV

My kid loves TV. In particular, Alex loves one show and ONE show only. The Fresh Beat Band. At first we thought it was cute, this apparent obsession. She'd get so excited when it came on and clap her hands and stomp her feet and "dance". Well then we made the mistake of downloading a bunch of episodes so she can watch it whenever. BIG MISTAKE! That's all she wanted. Morning, noon, night. If we didn't break the cycle, she would be in a Fresh Beat coma 24/7. She could care less for any other show-including Dora, whom she used to be vaguely interested in.

It's partially our fault. We were trying to get her to "like" TV a few months ago (I believe I blogged about it). Sounds weird, right? Well, I don't call it weird, I call it survival. As in, surviving a 24+ hour flight to Brisbane in two weeks, with the help of a Tablet and Alex's favorite shows. That 24 hours, yeah, that does not include layovers. Ok, maybe not so much survival as being desperate.

So our solution to the dilemma has been to limit Alex's TV time. I refuse to have a couch potato toddler on my hands. She gets to watch two 20 minute episodes in the morning while we are both waking up (we ladies are NOT morning people) and an episode at night before bed. It works out. She gets her fix and mama gets some down-time. The TV is completely off the rest of the day. Yes, even I go without. And Alex is good with the routine now.

Which brings me to another related topic: I think TV gets a bad rap. Sure, I get that some kids sit their butts in front of it day after day and never learn to entertain themselves or learn how to use their imaginations. I get it. Unhealthy. Definitely. I know some parents who use the TV as a babysitter. They don't want to deal with their kids. And it's for these reasons that I think TV gets a bad name...because we see the outcome: obese/overweight kids with no social skills or interest in the surrounding world. Kids who can't entertain themselves or worse, expect to be entertained at all times.

But what about moderation??? I'm a middle of the road kinda girl. I'm not one for extremes so, for me, most things are ok in moderation (sweets, TV, video games *in the future*, etc etc). I figure as long as the kid has a balanced day, who cares about a little TV? Alex, for example, is on the go from morning till night. We run errands together, have play dates, go to the pool, go to the beach, etc. Who cares if she has a little TV in the morning when the rest of her day is jammed packed?  Moderation.

And perhaps this is a good way of teaching our kids about moderation? "Yes, you can watch TV, little Johnny, but you'll have to turn it off after one show". Why isn't that ok? Isn't that a good skill for kids to learn-how to limit themselves, how to use self-control? And to learn a lesson like that at a younger age should be invaluable. Completely cutting out TV won't last forever. Sooner or later a kid will be around TV. Why not teach them some self-control? Such a lesson could be applied to so many different areas.

Anyway, I'm off my soap box now. I guess this blog post was partly in response to the AAP's guideline to not let kids under two watch any TV. Just seems kind of extreme to me. I am definitely *not* trying to criticize anyone who says no to TV. Although I don't get it (admittedly, I don't get either extreme-cutting it out completely or letting the kids have limitless access), I know that parents do what is best for *their* children. Just trying to stick up for the poor ol' Television...

 Pool'ing it again

 A pic from the 4th of July...check out Alex's patriotic shirt and her new alligator chair ;)

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