It’s a worry for all parents that their children spend too much in front of a TV or computer screen. Some people believe that exposing young children to tablets, TV or computers can only be bad. Others avoid it altogether. Whatever the experts think, Sometimes as a parent I can’t help but use screens to help me get through the day.
As the stay-at-home dad of two young children under Four, I am not sure I could parent without a television, tablet or computer. Some days, the only way I am able to make tea, have a shower, drink a hot cup of coffee or tidy up, (which is code for messing around on Facebook) is by using the trusty TV as a babysitter.
However, I ease the guilt by saying to myself that the programmes my daughters are watching are educating as well as entertaining them. Many of the shows that Olivia watches have been really valuable in supporting her development. I’m not just talking about her intellectual development. I’m talking about her whole understanding of the world and everything in it.
But is screen time such a bad thing? I don’t believe it is because I’m pretty sure Dr Ranj has taught her what a stethoscope is and what it’s used for? Is it because she never really left alone with her tablet? I’m always very engaged and up-to-date with everything she’s into. So we always talk about what she’s watching. Example being; she’s recently been into this one specific animated video which sings about the planets in the solar system. After a few conversations about said video, she now wants a moon poster for her bedroom. So clearly by that example, it’s the combination of screen time and us as parents interacting with her so she’s not only watching it but understanding it as well.
Or is screen time perceived as bad because children aren’t always in front of content that they can learn from? Instead, they’re more concerned with getting to the next level on whatever Zombie game they’re playing?
In any case, here are a few of my favourite children’s shows that I don’t mind letting entertain my kids for a while. Because, let’s face it, it’s doing something for her so – why not? In no particular order;
If it is on CBeebies it must be educational, right? This troupe of random animals led by a bear, a cat and a penguin explore the underwater world, rescue amazing sea creatures and protect the ocean.
Thanks to this show, my daughter may just get her masters in marine biology by the time she is four.
Get Well Soon:
The theme tune WILL get stuck in your head FOREVER but this is a good one for teaching kids about health and hospitals. My children are engrossed by Dr Ranj’s giant singing head from the very beginning! Watching this programme might explain how she knows what a stethoscope is and what it’s used for?
Plus, it will save me having to explain what an injection is ahead of my Olivia’s pre-school jabs.
When I tell people that my Three years old can comfortably count to Ten and only a few numbers of being able to count to Twenty. They immediately praised her amazing parenting skills, to which she replied. “It wasn’t me, it was the Number blocks.” I have no guilt about letting those little-coloured blocks entertain my kids for a while.
This is another one of the shows were the theme song WILL get stuck in your head and you WILL be singing it FOREVER.
Caillou is a typical four-year-old and the show is all about his adventures as he learned about the world around him. Part of the show sees Caillou play pretend so I’m pretty sure this little bald headed boy is responsible for Olivia’s growing and vivid imagination. So if this show helps my daughter’s imagination to grow, then who am I to stop that?
In my opinion, watching TV shows and screen time on her tablets has helped Olivia’s development but I also think that independent play is also a very good thing too. Watching her play is one of the most amazing things. Just to sit there and watch her imagination run away with her is truly magical. Offered she will play out what she’s just watched and add her own take on it too.
There is one area that I will agree with the experts on – sleep is very important, so put the screens away before bedtime – including your own!