Before I begin: You are not an evil parent if you let your kids watch tv. This is simply my take on things.
My daughter bounces out of bed, throws her diaper in the trash, plops herself down on the living room floor and begins flipping through a book. I finally drag my half sleeping self out into the living room to see her little mind already absorbed in the pages.
We are getting ready to head to the pool. I walk out of the bedroom to find my son wearing his shark fin life jacket, his feet dangling off the couch, flipping through his favorite lift-the-flap board book, “Who is Hiding Under the Sea.”
This is how I find my two toddlers at least five other times a day. We read–all the time. There is no noise blaring in the background, no “Wiggles” dancing to make you cringe. It is quiet, peaceful, as I watch their little eyes take in the pictures, as I listen to their little voices babbling their own made up words. They sit and explore the pages–forever–until finally bringing me over to read the stories to them, ending only when my throat grows sore.
There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. ~Jacqueline Kennedy
We have one television to our name. It is in the master bedroom. We turn it on every once in a while for a special movie night. We have an iPad, somewhere. I don’t really remember where we put it. We don’t do educational apps. We don’t do educational shows. We do educational living, using our two hands to explore the world around us, learning how to experience the wonders of life with all five of our senses.
We are probably extreme, but my extreme kids extremely love to read. They are “colonial” perhaps, but just like in the colonial days, they find pure joy in using their own minds to play and imagine.
The world is right there at their fingertips, waiting with the the endless possibilities they choose to take it that day.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,”Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2.”
90% of a child’s brain is developed in the first five years of life (see source here).
Technology is not a bad thing, but too much can take away from some other really, really good things. Talk to your librarians, to your child’s teachers. Research this yourself. I did not come to my conclusion by some crazy whim. The consensus agrees with me: Read more, explore more, allow your children to experience life with their own two hands.
Let them go outside, get really dirty. Fall down, scrape their knee, cry. Build a fort, a snowman, a memory. And then when they are done, let them do it all over again. A child’s life is meant to be full of exploration, of trial and error, of excitement and wonder.
And this is why we choose not to do educational television in our home. It is why we spend the nights old school with books in hand.
This way is messier and it takes more work, but this way is forever worth it.
“You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a mother who read to me.”—Strickland Gillian