I can’t lie. the TV is my not-so-secret-weapon. I put it on for Lolo when I need to get something done in the house, when I have to take a shower or even when I just want a bit of a break. But it is the devil in the box. It annoys me a bit that whenever she wakes up the first thing she asks for is the TV. That feels like bad parenting on my behalf. Even today, she’s stayed at home because she had a high temperature, what did I do? Put the TV on.
Let’s be realistic, I’m not beating myself up about it totally. Some programs are educational, some tell wonderful and imaginative stories. I love a good movie myself and what do I do pretty much every night of my life? Watch something on the box to get some down time after my long day at work. But its crazy if you think about it – how many hours of our lifetime do we spend in front of the box? Something’s always tempting us to do, well, nothing. Probably could have learned several languages by now and read all those books I’m normally too tired to read.
I guess the thing that scares me a little about little people getting addicted to TV is that constant need for entertainment and stimulation, but in a very passive way. Go learn, play, colour, get muddy, run around, get in to stuff, break things – try things out don’t just sit stare. ‘Chewing gum for the eyes Dougal’. I remember genuinely being surprised at a couple in LA at a restaurant with their 2 kids. Both older parents, twins aged around 7 sat at the same table, both on separate i-pads, both with headphones, neither communicating with anyone. So loads of you are now shouting at me saying: well what if they were playing something educational, what if they’d had a rough day and needed a break, what if the twins were playing something together – the list goes on. I think there will however be another bunch of you saying – you know what, you sit together at mealtimes, you eat and talk – this is normal and the kids should learn, All they’re learning now is it’s ok to not communicate. Personally I also think that rather importantly it’s ok for kids to be bored, I think it helps them understand they do not need to be entertained constantly, it teaches them patience and that they are not the centre of attention.
But back to TV. I wish it wasn’t so easy but all in moderation I guess.