Monday, March 28, 2011

Confession: My Kid Likes TV

All right, folks. You might judge me for this post, and that's okay.  When I had Ellie, I too scoffed at parents who let their kids watch TV.  I swore a television wouldn't raise my daughter.  I promised myself not to get sucked into Nick Jr or the Disney channel or even PBS.

Yet here I am. Another victim to the television.  Another helplIess parent who switched on the TV and found something fun to watch.

My first parenting confession is this: I let Ellie watch TV sometimes.

Although experts recommend that you keep your kids away from the TV until age 2, I have to argue that it's not really feasible.  What kid isn't going to see a TV by then?  We watch TV and I'm fooling myself if I think Ellie's not watching it too.  Hell, my kid loves football, as we discovered this NFL season.  That made me very happy indeed, and it introduced me to the notion that the television might actually hold her attention long enough for me to get a fresh cup of coffee.

Yeah, it sure does.  It also helps distract her when her poor little mouth hurts from teething.  And when we sing along with her favorite show, she's learning how to dance.  Through some intense self rationalization, I've realized that TV isn't really all bad.  It's got some handy benefits.

The thing about TV is that you can't let it raise your kid, sure.  If I was plopping her in front of it for hours and doing my own thing elsewhere, I might feel guilty.  But her favorite show is "Bubble Guppies," this really cute little show with songs and dances in it.  And we both enjoy watching it together.  She's not old enough yet to learn colors or absorb the other content, but we can work on language and practice those toddler dance moves. 

Yes, it gives me time to go to the bathroom.  Sure, it's nice to relax and let someone else take over for a few minutes.  But it's more than that.  It makes her really happy when it comes on, and when she looks over at me all excited and starts clapping because I've cued up an episode, I can't really feel that guilty at all.

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