In regards to television [+ technology gadgets], I have done a lot of reading when it comes to it’s usage in the home. I limit my own usage of these, as I’ve gone many years without tv because of what it does to our brains. While my child gets to watch tv + play on the iPad, I do limit his usage. I thought I’d share some of my reasonings for this + some of my favorite alternatives.
A few of my reasons for limiting television in our home [especially with the kiddo(s)]:
- The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development. [Kids Health article] While, there are educational shows, it is typically not the most stimulating option for Lennon’s development.
- Too much television [+ technology gadgets] can cause ADD + PTSD symptoms in children. They have a hard time transitioning, a hard time paying attention in normal social interactions, + can even have a difficult time feeling comfortable in social settings + school. [Simplicity Parenting- one of my favorite parenting books!]
- Early childhood is a critical period for brain development and formation of behaviour. High levels of TV consumption during this period often leads to future unhealthy habits. Since TV exposure encourages a sedentary lifestyle, Dr. Pagani says, television viewing must be curbed for toddlers to avoid the maintenance of passive mental and physical habits in later childhood: “Common sense would have it that TV exposure replaces time that could be spent engaging in other developmentally enriching activities and tasks which foster cognitive, behavioral, and motor development.” [Science Daily article]
- Television can cause bad behavior at school + unhealthy habits in children. [CNN article]
- I only assume looking at a screen isn’t great for anyone’s eyes, so I think limiting is a smart advantage to their little eyes.
- I have hippies bones, I think I just have a natural disgust with television. My brother + I played outside a lot as a children, and hope for the same for my kids because that is where exercise, imagination, + all that good shiz takes place! I simply don’t feel good about Lennon chillin’ in front of a television for hours a day.
I understand moms have to get things done occasionally; work, laundry, a shower, some cleaning, computer work, reading. But, moms have been getting their shit done without television +iPads for years. It is doable, and it is to the child’s benefit for parents to seek the alternatives to television as often as possible. It is kinda weird how we often have to manipulate our children into making good choices. I have to show major enthusiasm about some things before his curiosity or interest sparks for the “boring” thing [alternative] over the “more desired” option [television + iPad].
Lennon has forever been a busy child. And his busy often involves a desire for physical activity. As he’s grown, I’ve had to brainstorm with my mom on ideas because he gets bored with my antics + needs constant stimulation/change. I have to set up “stations” for him to keep him stimulated [otherwise, I have a cranky baby + toddler]. There are DVDs/Netflix shows I started letting Lennon watch at a pretty young age to encourage [communication] development. We love Sesame Street, he has learned a lot from it. Planet Earth + Baraka [+ any nature + Earth documentary] have been played in our home since Lennon’s birth; love the music playing + getting to see our crazy, beautiful Earth. Even Thomas has been a fave, although I don’t see much of an educational aspect to it. It took him a while to get into it, but Lennon loves television now + would love to post up in front of the television all day. I started working part time when he was 9 months & was full time by the time he was 12 months, yet he only attends school for 15-20 hours a week. Therefore, I am constantly having to think of ways to keep him busy + stimulated in a healthy way + offer physical activity for him when I work. This includes a constant battle with the tv. I have those desperate moments where I let him indulge. These days, he’d like to choose all my worst nightmare [trash] shows, so I’ve had to keep an eye on what he chooses + talk him into choosing a more educational/less trashy show during those indulgences. But ultimately, I fight him as hard + long as I can with every alternative I’ve got up my sleeve.
Some of our favorite alternatives to television watching [while I work]:
- go outside [I take my computer outside with me + do my computer work while he soaks up some vitamin d + digs in the dirt, draws with chalk, plays in the sprinkler.]
- blocks [Legos go a long way in our home. We still use the big ones. They can fill a whole hour with imaginative play. I have to do the occasional jump in + motivate to continue playing with them because Lennon loves interactive play (as do most kiddos).]
- books [Lennon can flip through books for quite a while + chat about what he sees, make up his own dialogue. Sometimes I have to get him interested, sometimes he pursues books on his own. I get him a few new books every once in a while + he will crack out on those for a few weeks, then take a break from them.]
- train sets [I am not sure what little boys love more than trains! Our train sets have been the best gifts we have received. We have some simple tracks + some more sophisticated ones. The more sophisticated ones, adults have to help set up, but then Lennon goes to town with them quickly after they are built.]
- crayons + paint [Sometimes a bit messy, but it can be set up nicely where the mess + clean-up are minimal.]
- stickers + puzzles [A major fave at our house! Often a 30 minute station at least.]
- flashcards [This is an interactive station, but a great 15 minute activity to add into every child's daily activities. Flashcards are one of my favorite ways to encourage brain development! We have done them with Lennon since he was months old, way before he could speak. I definitely believe that they've played a major part in his communication development. We bring them everywhere; restaurants, weddings, any social activity where Lennon will get bored + want something else stimulating. We have all kinds of sets; colors, shapes, house items, Spanish, manners, Sesame characters... You can get them at the dollar store, Amazon...]