I am always trying to find ways to improve my step parenting, something I came across today was regarding TV.
I barely watched any TV when I was growing up and could always either be found outside building forts or inside playing with Legos/action figures. I never had a “desire” to watch TV and typically would only get to watch it on special occasions. These days it seems the complete opposite for most children. Ranging from IPads, TV, Movies or various interactive electronic games there is just so many options to “easily” distract your kid.
I guess what hit me the most as I was reading was most parents use the TV as an easy tool to allow them to distract the kids while they can get something else done. I fall under that category, being a new parent and not yet fully understanding things I see the TV as a “safe/easy” choice. Where with a flip of a button both parties win (parent and kid).
Yes, this indeed solves a short-term issue, but in the long term, it can impact many developmental areas.
Already our society is “screen” driven, meaning by the time you are an adult, you are looking at some type of screen most likely for the larger part of your day. Instead of utilizing the easy route, I should be encouraging her to go play with blocks, dolls or other toys. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that most kids over the age of two watches on average 1-2 hours of QUALITY television a day. This is about 7-14 hours a week, what do you think the average of TV watching is in the US? 32 hours a week…. The second I read this I was taken aback, it is almost a full-time job! Why is it most parents today are utilizing TV in such a more frequent fashion? Answer: Easy and Convenient. They don’t have to drive anywhere, pay any money for anything or anything of that nature. Instead, just plop them down in front of the TV, press power/play and it brings instant satisfaction.
One thing I am going to try and HOPEFULLY succeed in doing is utilizing audio books instead. This is a viable alternative to TV because it has your toddler supply the imaginary portion to what is being read to them. Also, I need to be better at spending some more time every day just playing with her BEFORE encouraging ‘self’ play.
We will see how this all goes over the next week, hoping for the best!