>U Mom Knows Best: The Benefits Of Watching TV With Younger Kids

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Benefits Of Watching TV With Younger Kids

Parents need not feel guilty about their kids watching TV

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  As a parent of young children, you want to do the best job of raising your kids. You want your kids to learn so they can be a smart kid when they head off to school. So before your child is even born, you read books about how to successfully raise your child. You feed your kid the best healthy food and buy them the educational toys. You have the best plans to read to them daily and you may even be the parent who says " my child will never watch TV!" So you do your best and attempted to make homemade baby food only to discover how time-consuming it is. You spend hours a day reading books to your children and teaching them their ABC's and then reality hits you.

You discover that raising a child is the hardest job that you have ever had but something inside, (that thing called love), of you, makes you never quit. You realize that it can be tough to keep your child from watching the television so you give in and let your child watch Paw Patrol. Then the mom guilt sets in and you wonder if it is ok to let your toddler or preschooler watch TV. As a mom of five, I say TV watching can be beneficial for younger kids but as with all things it should be done with limits.

 I have raised five kids. My oldest is 29 and my youngest is 11 years old with 3 others in between. I allowed my children to watch the big box called the television and my kids turned out just fine. Two of my oldest kids were valedictorians of their graduating high school class. One of these kids is attending the Merchant Marine Academy and another older child served in the Navy and is currently working as a diesel mechanic. The two younger kids are in the gifted program at their middle school. So they were not hurt by watching tv but I did place limits on their tv viewing and did not use the TV as a babysitter. I used technology to help my child succeed.

Helping Your Child Succeed In School 

 Where kids are concerned, TV can get a bad rap, but with healthy viewing habits and parental supervision, limited “screen time” can be a positive experience for children. Watching tv shows that are geared towards younger kids can actually benefit kids in many ways. TV watching can be a safe activity for kids. When I talk about TV being beneficial to kids, I am talking about kids who are ages 2+.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has some good recommendations on digital media for younger kids and I agree with their below statement.

 Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programming. Again co-viewing is best when possible and for young children, they learn best when they are re-taught in the real world what they just learned through a screen. So, if Ernie just taught the letter D, you can reiterate this later when you are having dinner or spending time with your child.

1. TV can help kids learn 

 My kids grew up watching Sesame Street and this educational show helped them to learn things like their ABCs as the fun songs reinforced the learning that was happening at home. Shows that are geared towards kids can make learning fun and give parents ideas on learning activities to do with their kids once the show is over. Watching their favorite TV character bake cookies can lead to a lesson in math when mom or dad later that day bake cookies together. Sometimes these educational children shows teach kids words or lessons on how to be nice to their friends. I remember when my son was at the zoo looking at the monkeys and he said:" look at their habitat." This child was only 2 at the time but he had learned about animals and their habitats from a kid's TV show. My oldest daughter was reading chapter books in kindergarten and I think that our daily reading along with a children's TV show made reading fun for her.

2, Interactive play

 When kids see their favorite characters from shows like Paw Patrol putting out fires and rescuing cats, they then take those experiences when they are playing with friends. The shows can spark their imagination so they are out in the yard pretending to put out make-believe fires. Think back to your childhood and think about a tv show or a movie that you had fun role-playing with your friends. I loved to imagine that I was Cinderella while my friends were the ugly stepsisters. Preschoolers’ shows are especially effective for generating ideas for learning activities and using characters to motivate kids.

3. Motivate kids to read books

 Reading books to kids is always a good thing to help them learn. A topic on a children's TV show can spark your child to want to learn more about that topic. So you can head to the library and check out books that pertain to that. While at the library, you can even find books that have stories and learning activities from your child's favorite TV show. I remember when grandma gave my kids books that were based on Sesame Street and they not only contained great stories that my kids loved for me to read to them but they had learning activities that taught my kids how to count and match.

4. Encourage exercise

 Exercise is always a good thing, even for kids. I think playing outside is the best way for kids to get exercise but on days that the weather does not cooperate, a kid's TV show may be the thing to help kids burn off some extra energy. It is way more fun to dance and jump with a favorite TV character, especially when mom joins in. When my kids were little and it was too cold to get outside, I would put on some music and we would have a blast dancing in the living room. Back then, there were not many TV shows that encouraged kids to move. Parents today can easily find a children's show that has kids dancing and singing.

5. Downtime or mom time

 I admit that I have used TV for sanity moments or for times that I needed to get something done. I have allowed my children to watch a children's television show when my kids were driving me crazy and I just needed a break. I also have turned on the TV when I need to get something done and the kids would not stop interrupting me. I admit that the educational tv show was able to rescue me at that moment and sure I could have done something else. It is OK once in a while to let your kids watch TV so you can get something done or for a much-needed sanity break. 

Tips for safe TV time

 While TV can be beneficial to kids, too much screen time is not a good thing and may interfere with their behavior and development. We parents are our kid's best teachers and we should not rely on children's TV shows to be a replacement for our attention and teaching. We should at all times know what are kids are watching and follow some guidelines when it comes to kids and TV viewing. So here are some of my tips for safe TV time with children.

Limit the amount of TV time
 Kids ages 2-5 should only be watching 1 hour of TV per day according to the American Academy of Pediatrics*. So that usually means 2(30 minute) shows a day. That way TV viewing does not interfere with things like playing outside, reading books, and playing with toys. This includes watching shows on tablets while grocery shopping or during car trips. Kids can become addicted to screen time and may not learn how to entertain themselves or use their imagination.

  I know it is easier to get the grocery shopping done when your child is watching a movie on a device but this time instead could be one that you involve your child in. When they are young, use this time to talk to them about the different items that you see in the store. Have them be your helpers and give them simple tasks like putting the cans of food in the cart or selecting which apples to buy. You are your child's greatest teacher and a trip to the grocery store can be a great learning time. One of my pet peeves is seeing young kids on their parent's phones while they are in stores. Once I even saw a kid playing games on the phone at the zoo. Stores offer so much for kids to look at, so while they are young, stop giving them the phone and allow them to look at things. Another bonus is you don,t have to worry about your phone get damaged.

 My kids do not watch shows while in the car unless we are on vacation. Even then I set limits to the amount of time they can have on their kid-friendly tablets. For daily car trips, they listen to music and sing along or they look out the window. When my family traveled by train earlier this year, I brought with other activities so my kids were not on electronic devices the whole time. My boys enjoyed playing board games while on the train much more than watching movies. Kids may get cranky in the car but offer them books or talk to them.

Monitor what they watch

 Kids are like sponges and they can pick up things like bad words from TV shows that are not geared for kids. So, allow kids to watch tv shows that are made for kids on channels that are geared to kids like Nick Jr. and PBS. If possible watch the children's TV shows with your kids or be in a room that allows you to see the TV. So let the kids watch TV while you clean the dishes but make an effort to pay attention to the show so you can later re-teach something that was on the show. For example, if the letter of the day was B, later that day you can point out items that start with the letter B to reinforce their learning.

Set rules

 It is always a good rule for the child to ask if he can watch tv so they know that mom or dad choose when it is TV time. When you do approve of TV time, let them know how many shows they will be watching so they will not be upset when the tv is turned off. Have a couple of parent-approved channels or shows so it will be easier to select what shows the child can watch. Kids thrive on routine and repetition so having TV time at the same time every day will help cut back on kids asking if they can watch TV. So if your child knows that they get to watch a kid's show after breakfast, they will not ask to watch TV before naptime.

No TV in bedrooms

 Kids need their sleep and having a TV in their bedroom will interfere with healthy sleep habits. It is also hard to monitor what they are watching if the TV is not in your viewing range. Having a TV in the playroom is ok when it is a safe TV for kids. A kid-friendly TV that offers educational content and kid-friendly apps is a good choice for the playroom.

 Ematic just introduced the first-ever PAW Patrol™ TV and this adorable pup-themed TV is perfect for every fan of the hit Nickelodeon show. The 32” TV has a built-in TV Tuner and HD LED display and comes equipped with a matching “Pup Pad” remote, so kids can access all their favorite channels and shows. Loaded with a multitude of high-end functions, the PAW Patrol™ TV from Ematic is built for kids but parents will enjoy it too! Featuring a high definition display resolution, ultra-fast response time and closed captions, this TV is fun for kids and doesn't compromise on the most innovative features available today. This fun TV is available at Walmart.com at a parent-friendly suggested retail price of $129.99.

Watch the shows with your kids

When you choose to watch educational children's tv shows with your kids, you can take what they learned and turn them into learning opportunities later that day or week. If you noticed that the show was discussing about cleaning up their toys, then later in the day when it is time for your child to clean up her toys, you can reference back to the show. If the characters in the show visited a museum, then your child will be excited later when you take him to a museum.

Embrace technology

 When a kid heads to school, chances are they will be learning how to use a computer. Computers are the future so giving them time on electronic devices like a computer or TV can help them be prepared for school. I know that my boys had computer classes starting in first grade and now in middle school, most of their homework is on the computer. So a kid-friendly tv and remote can teach your children the basics of technology. Pressing buttons on kid-friendly remote can teach them about technology and recognition of symbols. They are also learning cause and effect. You don't have to worry about your kids breaking your fancy remote control or messing up your TV programs.

*Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programming. Again co-viewing is best when possible and for young children, they learn best when they are re-taught in the real world what they just learned through a screen. So, if Ernie just taught the letter D, you can reiterate this later when you are having dinner or spending time with your child.


AiringMyLaundry said...

I'm with you. I never cared when my kids watched TV. Of course it was in moderation, but they always learned something with their TV shows.

Brianne said...

I love this post. When our kids were younger, we'd watch shows with educational value. As a matter of fact, every once in a while I get the Little Einsteins theme song stuck in my head!

Jaredamy said...

My son loves Paw Patrol! He watches it everyday before school!

Why Girls Are Weird said...

The hubby and I just got Disney+. It's totally for us, but I can't wait to introduce my nephew to it! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

Chad said...

I love watching tv with my kids for most of the reasons you mentioned and I personally like animations.

Marie at Complete Literature said...

Great points, I agree with most of them and raised my kids very similarly. And I loved watching things with them nearly every day.

Emily said...

I found that if I liked a show and was learning something, my kids tended to like it too.

Lisa Joy Thompson said...

Before I had kids, I swore my kids would never watch TV. Then I adopted 2 non-English speaking tweens. We were told that the best way for them to learn English quickly was to watch Disney channel. We watched hours of Disney channel that first year they were home and it made a huge difference. They were fluid in English in less than 6 months. Now they speak it without a trace of an accent. I agree that TV gets a bad rap. We just need to learn to watch it responsibly with our kids.

Gust si Aroma said...

A lot of tips and advice that help a lot! I also think that watching TV with our kids has a lot of benefits for us and our children!

Hochzeitsfotograf Mallorca said...

Paw Patrol is best - a nd this article brought some great inspiration, thanks!

Nyxie said...

Kids have a lot more opportunity to learn something from TV these days than I ever did. The option for them to use interactive TV shows etc is always wonderful.

Joanna said...

I agree that watching tv is educative, but with limiting the watch hours for children. Interactive tv shows are very useful.

Daniela said...

I have a 7-month-old daughter and I could not agree more - plus there are just times, as a mom, that you need to sit and unwind for a few minutes. I find that she really only wants to watch for about 10 or 15 minutes shortly before she is ready to take a nap and it is fun to talk through what is happening with her!

krystal said...

my son loved paw patrol. we even saw it live

brianmayroam said...

I didn't have a TV in my room until I was a teenager. Reading is often better!

Wrapped Up N U said...

You made a lot of great points. Heck I still love watching those shows and my kids are almost grown!

Anne Marie said...

We don't have TV or cable, but our children do enjoy a movie on our bluray once a week. It's so much fun to watch something together as a family, pop some popcorn and talk about what we liked best later on. Shows can also be useful as teaching tools; we will sometimes watch a YouTube documentary to reinforce a history or science lesson in our homeschooling.

Ckrusch said...

I used to watch so many shows with my son. Some shows teach them, so much and since I was there, he didn't feel like I used the TV as a babysitter! Love your post!

Cristina Pop said...

Watching tv will hurt children only if they don't have a moderation on it. They can indeed learn lots of things from kids shows.

Lyanna Soria said...

We always need to keep an eye out on what our children watch and keep it moderate. My kids love Paw Patrol and they learned quite a lot from that show as well.

Marjie Mare said...

I always watched TV with my older daughter and knew all her shows. My younger daughter is not a TV girl. I believe we should get involved in everything they do.

Jenjen Balatico said...

I totally agree with everything. I am amazed how influence my nephew

Heidi@OneCreativeMommy.com said...

They have some really cute shows for kids these days. I agree that TV time should be monitored and limited--no matter how tempting it is to let kids watch educational TV add day long.

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