You probably read somewhere that the American Academy of Pediatrics officially declared television to be non-beneficial to children under age 2. They said that time in front of a video screen provided nothing in the way of education, and took away time from things that do, like interacting with people and playing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we leave our children (of any age) in front of the babysitter television for hours on end, rather that the imaginative worlds offered in many programs can be stimulating, play-inspiring, and yes, educational. But what do I know, I'm a parent, not a doctor.
My kids got their fair share of Sesame Street, Little Einsteins, and Backyardigans, and they're just fine. Of course, by the time my oldest was 2, he could also sing the entire theme song to Monk and, thanks to House, diagnose that most things are, in fact, not lupus. The point is, the kids knew their way around a remote and it didn't hurt them. In fact, it was quite the contrary.
When the oldest started preschool, he joined a class of kids that had been in the program for a year and a half. He had never been in a classroom setting and it took all of an hour for the teachers to realize that he was further along than his classmates. She praised and thanked me for all of the things we were surely doing at home. I went home and thanked the Wonder Pets. Then we all munched on a celery stick.
I understand what the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying -- TV should not be a substitute for human contact or replace playtime. However, I find it hard to believe that 30 minutes of singing and imagination has no educational or developmental benefits. And I've got the kids to prove it.
Do you let your young children watch television?
Image via Whit Honea