The amount of TV that ‘T’ and the content of ‘TV’ that ‘T’ watches at home is carefully monitored. For her first year I was very keen to ensure that her ‘TV’ time was very limited (see here for previous post and my reasons for this).
It’s one of those touchy subjects; when in a local shop recently the shop-keeper said to ‘T’ oh you must like Peppa Pig; here’s a Peppa Pig book’, my daughter looked bemused as she has no idea who ‘Peppa Pig’ is. I personally don’t like the programme that much and I would prefer her to watch more educational and gentle programmes. I find it quite scary and daunting that as I explained to the shop-keeper that ‘T’ doesn’t watch ‘Peppa Pig’, she looked at me in such a shocked way and I immediately felt like I was a completely strange and weird hippy-type mother (which I’m not!). I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with Peppa Pig and I know plenty of parents who let their children watch the programme, it’s just that I choose for ‘T’ to watch other things for my own personal reasons. Our main favourites are Postman Pat, Spot the Dog, Abney and Teal, Maisy Mouse and Come Outside. I like the simple and educational aspect that they all hold as well as the calm and simple storylines and characters.
Since ‘T’ has been very young we have had a bit of a routine where I prepare the evening meal and get the dull, household chores mainly done first thing in the morning from 7am – 8.30 am, where I also drink my coffee, run around doing some housework and get myself ready for the day. In that time, ‘T’ spends 30 mins reading in her bed from 7.00 until 7.30, she then comes down to the kitchen where her breakfast is waiting for her at the table and then she reads a book and eats some fruit watching some educational clips from YouTube whilst I run around getting things sorted for the day. This is what suits us and our routine and it’s one that I would like to keep with however many other children we will have. I find it makes the 5pm dinner-time-preparing time easy and quick so I have less need to turn the TV on then to ‘babysit’ her rather than spend time with her or out and about somewhere.
I often struggle to keep to my beliefs as it seems like there aren’t as many parents out there who use the TV for the same reason as us in our home, I’m sure it’s all about balance and what is right for each family and I want ‘T’ to have a balanced life though I hate the way that limiting TV time makes you out as a ‘strange’ parent. It’s not the easiest choice as I’m sure it would be quite easy to turn on the TV some days and have ‘T’ interested in that instead of reading books or going for walks etc. but I feel that I am doing the right thing for my child. I try and find programmes that I think will help and be good for her life, rather than buying into a commercialised franchise for branded TV programmes, bedding, toys, books, etc – the list is endless.
When I said that she doesn’t watch any TV to some people when she was a baby I seemed to get a lot of surprised reactions or comments such as ‘just wait till she’s older – she’ll watch TV then’ they annoy me a lot! I believe that being a Mum involves looking after, watching, caring, nurturing and educating your child on so many levels and sticking them in front of a TV as a minder is not mothering. Yes, she will watch more TV as she gets older and I’m fine with that, just as she’ll eat more chocolate as she gets older, and one day she’ll be old enough to drink alcohol if she chooses – it goes on; but for today, for now, whilst she is my little-almost 2 year old, she watches what I think is best for her, she relaxes, she gets educated, she can recognise letters of the alphabet, she can (almost) count to 20, she is learning to swim, she is playing in the garden, she has weekly trips to the library, socialising with friends, we make together home-made healthy dinners and is hopefully having the best life I can giver her as a mother. I find it so weird that we live in a world today where it is more unusual to spent half an hour showing your child how to bake or cook, or educate them about nature or paint a picture on a daily basis than it is to stick them in front of the TV.
I have found a fantastic site on YouTube for some really lovely, basic, simple, gentle and very educational videos to educate toddlers and babies (these are what she watches in the morning). The link is here