It sounds so tempting, like such an easy out, but there are 100 reasons (that I won’t mention) why I don’t leave my kid to watch tv. The first and most important reason is all the studies that stress how detrimental television and tablets are for children under 2 years old. It affects brain development, language development and can cause ADHD. Don’t get me wrong, although there are known risks, we live in a world surrounded by technology and as my son nears the age of 2, we are allowing him to watch more television and use the iPad. But it is monitored, limited and never used as a babysitter.
Risks aside, I also don’t think it’s fair on my husband who works long hours at a stressful job so I can stay home with our son. Why should I let technology babysit our son while I play on my phone or sit around while my husband is working his butt off?! How disrespectful is that?! No. My husband and I are a team. He goes out and earns the money and my job is to stay home and manage the house and take care of our son.
Sure, at the end of the day, if I need to get supper ready and I don’t want my son to help, I catch him in a good mood and tell him he’s been such a good boy that he can watch a video while mommy cooks supper. He’s usually pretty excited. We don’t have a television on our main floor so he watches videos on YouTube or Netflix on our computer. I want him to know that watching tv is a treat. Unfortunately, I’ve also given in to him watching videos while I shower and get ready in the morning because it was becoming too difficult to keep him out of trouble. But I like to think it’s still in moderation.
While my husband is out working, I’m working at home. I’m coming up with creative ways to enrich our child, when we do watch a video, I often talk about what’s on the screen so it’s still interactive, we colour, do arts and crafts and I include him in household chores and activities so he not only feels included and a sense of accomplishment, but he’s also learning about work and chores which we will expect him to help with as he gets older.
There is so much to do, my son, like most in the western world, has too many toys and summer is nearly here. On the average day, there is no excuse to prop a child in front of a tv for hours. Teach your child to entertain him or herself, play with them. If you are blessed to be able to stay at home with your child, spend that quality time with them. Get on your hands and knees and drives cars or play dolls. Go for a walk or play outside. Colour a picture. If we prop our children in front of televisions, we will only have ourselves to blame when, in a few years, they whine about being bored because they have never learned to entertain themselves and be independent of technology.
So for the sake of our children, for our working spouses and for the future of humankind, please, please, please, limit the time your children spend with technology. Even the programs and apps specifically for toddlers aren’t good in large doses!!! Instead, spend time with them, because time flies and these precious years will soon be gone.