(We've had similar watching fests at Costco with Cinderella in the TV aisle- but also bad experiences with really violent shows just playing on the way by). Then in the car waiting for Dad after refusing to come away from said laptop aisle and actually running away from me from aisle to aisle, laughing his little head off- literally thrown back and laughing in complete abandon for the limits. I was stifling laughter, but still took the screaming and sad 3 yr old out to the car to wait for Jared.
I know now that those hours of General Conference were pretty entertaining for him because it was all on TV!!! Now and again, now that he's 3, we'll watch something together, like Mister Rogers, when Lukas has earned 10 smiley faces on his job chart (super easy jobs people, like getting dressed in the morning, brushing teeth, putting jammies on his bed, setting the table and putting away toys). I still need to get Sister Boyack's book on age appropriate responsibilities for kids 3-18. Anyways. We've found "Signing Time" and he watches it once or twice a week, and we watch it with him (or glancing as I'm making dinner) so we can learn the signs too (and use them occasionally in conversation at home). I learned this week that I have been signing the alphabet wrong. Doh. And then there's the 5 minute Gumby clips (instead of Mister Rogers on occasion, but I scaled back after Lukas kept repeating Prickles: "Oh, STUFF IT!" Hahahaha.) So then we recently discovered the American "How it's Made" which is like unto the German version of How it's made...called "Sendung mit der Maus: Sachgeschichten", which has been nice for language reinforcement. Anyhoo, the TV battle is usually not an issue, but becomes a small issue when he's with other kids whose parents let them watch full length movies or more violent cartoons. It's usually not an issue, but sometimes it is, because the things on the screen are scarier than his own imagination. Anyhow, one mom said it allows her child to use her imagination. I disagree, having been the writing teacher in 6th grade where some kids could do little more than rewrite me an episode of their favorite show. However, when I was most recently on bedrest for a day because my entire back just hurt, I let the little dude have his fill of the Maus show, Mister ROgers and Signing time all on the same day. Boring day really, but he was fine. It got me to thinking of how easy it is to just flip that thing on and let him watch the computer (or TV) and do whatever. Really. It's easy. I don't think it's good, but man was it easy. Everyone loves an article that agrees with them (so right, right??) and I just found this on Kidshealth.org and pulled out the most interesting parts to me.
Most kids plug into the world of television long before they enter school. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF):
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.
- two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of 2 hours a day
- kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day, primarily TV and videos or DVDs
- kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games
Young kids are particularly frightened by scary and violent images. Simply telling kids that those images aren't real won't console them, because they can't yet distinguish between fantasy and reality. Behavior problems, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping may follow exposure to media violence.
Of course, TV in moderation can be a good thing: Preschoolers can get help learning the alphabet on public television, grade schoolers can learn about wildlife on nature shows, and parents can keep up with current events on the evening news. No doubt about it — TV can be an excellent educator and entertainer.--------------------------------
But despite its advantages, too much television can be detrimental:
(Besides overall tendencies to lean towards being overweight I saw this one that caught my eye that I've seen proven again, and again, and again, yet people ask themselves what is UP with that kiddo?)
- Kids who view violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior but also fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
- TV characters often depict risky behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, and also reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.
(Here was my favorite solution for finding balance that I've seen actually work:)
Offer fun alternatives to television. If your kids want to watch TV but you want to turn off the tube, suggest that you all play a board game, start a game of hide and seek, play outside, read, work on crafts or hobbies, or listen and dance to music. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy the quality time together.