Before I had kids, I swore I would follow all of the parenting rules from the experts. Specifically, I promised I would never let my kids watch TV. “It’s so bad for them.” The studies say. “It will rot their brains.” The older generation says. “It makes you a bad mother.” The specialists say. But then I had kids, and everything changed. So, yes, I do let my kids watch television, and here’s why:
It is Very Educational
First off, I do think it depends on what you let your kids watch. For us, it’s usually PBS Kids, because their shows are more educational instead of just entertaining, but we make our way to Disney Junior and Nick Jr. every once in a while, especially for Dora.
Kids are born into this world with so much to learn. When you think about it, it can be a little overwhelming as a parent. It is my job to teach my kids integrity, honesty, kindness, and how to brush their teeth and go potty in the toilet. There is so much to teach them, and it can be hard to get things through with just me talking to them. But TV shows communicate these lessons in a fun, entertaining, and memorable way.
For example, we were watching a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode a while back about stopping, listening, and staying safe when Daniel Tiger went on an outing to the beach. All of the Daniel Tiger episodes have catchy little songs to get these lessons across. Fast forward a few weeks later: We took a family outing to the beach. As we were setting up our spot, I explained to my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter that the ocean can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very dangerous, so she needs to really listen to me so she can stay safe. She looked at me with complete understanding and sang, “Stop, listen, and stay safe.” (the little jingle she learned from Daniel Tiger a few weeks prior). And you know what, she did listen especially well while we were there. So while I don’t think TV should be the sole teacher, it sure makes a great supplemental tool.
It Lets Me Work
Like many of you, I am a work-at-home mom. I get to stay home with my kids, which is great, but I also have to bring in a little bit of an income to make ends meet. As much as I don’t like to admit it, sometimes I have to use TV to help me get my work done. I always try to get it all done before they wake up or during naptime, but that is not always possible. And for these moments, I am forever grateful for the genius minds behind Super Why! and Barney and Sesame Street. I can get my work done and my kids get to have their mommy with them all day.
I Get Snuggles
Kids grow up fast, we all know that, and I know that my chances to cuddle my little ones will not always be here. So if watching TV keeps my daughter still long enough to get some cuddles on the couch, then you better believe I am going to take advantage of it.
It’s all about balance. We do plenty of arts and crafts, reading, playing with blocks, using our imaginations, running around, dancing, and having tea parties. But we also watch TV, and I’m okay with that.
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