Thank Goodness for Television

My children are my pride and joy. I try to do everything to enable their emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. One of the most repeated compliment I receive from outsiders is how well spoken Ms. A is and what an amazing vocabulary she has. Mr. D also gets praises for his amazing knowledge of animals, dinosaurs, and whatnots. I wish that I could take the credit for these abilities my children seem gifted in, but no I can not. All praise must go to this wonderful box that sits in our family room. One of the most beloved items of our home. The television!

Yes, I allow my children to watch television and a lot of it. When I saw the guidelines for television watching put out by some government agency, I scoffed. They really could not be serious. How would I get anything done around the house, much less take a shower, if I limit them to less than an hour a day. (I really like to take long showers.)

For those moms out there who do not allow their children any television viewing. My hat goes off to you. However, have you seen what’s on television nowadays. There are some really good programs.

In reality, I do limit their viewing time. During the school week Ms. A does not watch any television other than the morning news with me over breakfast. She and I get to discuss the current events and it open topics up that I normal would not think of talking about. She honestly doesn’t have any time with her busy after school schedule and homework responsibilities to watch anything in the evening.

Now the weekend is a different story. I allow her to play approved computer games or her DS for up to an hour each day. She loves to play simulation games on the iPad, but to access that she has to practice on her flash-card app. She is allowed to watch television as long as its certain channels and programs. (Disney, PBS, Discovery, Animal Planet, and things of that sort.). When viewing movies, she can watch anything rated up to PG. If she is home sick from school, I do not allow ANY television watching during the hours she should have been in school. She has not asked to stay home very often. All her television viewing, gaming, and computer stuff is done in the public areas of our home. Much to her chagrin, she will never have a television or computer in her bedroom.

Mr. D is home a lot. This leads to more opportunity for him to watch television. He plays very well by himself and has a super active imagination. I normal always have the television on as background noise while I am doing my household responsibilities. Mr. D usually has something he is playing with, but every once in awhile he’ll look up if there is a catchy tune or and interesting subject matter. We usually have Disney Jr. on in the morning and PBS kids in the afternoon. I find most of the programming on these channels tolerable even for me to watch. It’s amazing at what he recalls from the story lines and then is able to put it in appropriate context when talking to us.

He has started using the iPad also. I found a great app for tracing letters, one for identifying numbers, a dot to dot with numbers and letters, and a simple puzzle app. He is motivated only by the fact that he gets to play with “Talking Tom” (it’s a cat that repeats what you say in a funny voice) after he practices his stuff. The iPad has been a life saver for us when we are waiting places. I was able to download two great series one called “Wild Krats” (two brothers who morph into cartoon guys who rescue creatures) and “Phineus and Ferb” (two cartoon brothers who think up of fun things to do and their crazy big sister who is trying to bust them). It’s so handy to have available when the waiting just gets to be to much or when I need to pay attention to something and not be distracted by him and his behavior.

The weekend schedule with Mr. D is the opposite of Ms. A. He is so busy playing with Hubby, tormenting his big sister and just causing overall four year old craziness, that there is no time for him to watch anything.

I probable still let them watch to much television and use to much electronics than the government recommends. Yet my kids are able to take something useful from these activities.

These skills that were are so proud of may possible derive from all the books we ingest, trips we do, activities we try…..But until they can figure out a way to keep children occupied while mommy tries to take a shower, the television stays on!

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