I’m not going to let my children watch TV! Nope. Never. Not until he is five.
Oh, how naive I was pre-kid. Pure thoughts commissioned on new age parenting tactics. My child will be I-Phone free, no tablets to comfort them at the grocery store or long car rides. He will have to depend on his imagination (gasp, what’s that?!). Read books then play with the latest kid app. Learn baby sign language. Be innovative and free of technology…you get the idea.
Let me repeat this; I was naive to say never. And, presumptuous on ideal parenting I conjured in my head.
Then it happened. My little guy made the connection when that large, flat box turns on with the help of three remotes, magic happens in the form of singing puppet monsters, the letter of the day, and brightly colored animation.
My seventeen-month-old discovered Sesame Street. And he liked it.
The bond was made on a sick day home from daycare. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease was the culprit (viral flu – worse than it sounds). The couch and cuddles with momma were his remedies. A few books too. But, even books go so far. Ben got fussy and bored. I admit, I was too. There are only so many times you can read Brown Bear, Brown Bear in an hour.
I broke down and turned on Sesame Street.
We cut cable months ago, and depended on Amazon and streaming online for TV. Having the TV on during kid awake hours were rare, thirty minutes for the news, a show on for background noise, or when a babysitter was present. Special times only. My kid paid no attention to the black box of magic sounds and color when turned on.
So Sesame Street it was on that sick day. How harmful can Big Bird and Elmo be? Innocent if anything. As an 80’s kid with limited children programing options, I grew up watching Sesame Street. I could still remember the puppets and actors: Telly, Snuffy, Bob, Maria….
Sesame Street is harmful TV fun.
Last time I will say this; I was naive about the power TV had over a child.
My child too.
Those big eyed monster puppets with their funny moves and catchy songs, caught my son’s attention. He was hooked, mesmerized by Cookie Monster. When that magic box was silent, that was a big no-no. My toddler had to watch them. In the morning, before lunch, after nap, during snack time and every other hour of the day.
I created a TV toddler monster. With TV withdrawal tantrums too.
And, I fed into the beast. Fifteen minutes here and there. A quick episode before bedtime. Soon, I found myself turning on Sesame Street while I cooked dinner. My reasoning; it was safer than having a toddler glued to my leg, begging to stir the boiling hot water full of pasta.
TV made it a tad easier to get a job done. Wait – I’ll be honest. TV made it SUPER easy to get a job done.
Are we bad parents for letting our kid watch TV?
My husband and I wrestle with that question every time our fingers touch the power button and a toothy smile presses on my toddler’s face, his eye sparkle with recognition of his furry puppet friends. How could I deny my love bug so much joy TV brings him?
Because kids under two should not watch TV, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The experts say no, my pre-baby mind thought so – but I’ve gone against both.
Can I say that my child will no longer watch TV until he’s two, even better, three? I don’t know what will happen, I have a hard time thinking about my plans for next week, let alone what I’m going to cook for dinner tonight.
But what I can do, is try my best. No TV. TV sometimes. Maybe when Momma says. Or when Momma says that’s enough. Or, unplug the magic box and tell my kid it’s broken.
To some, maybe that makes me a bad parent. I don’t think so.
As my husband said, “If we are dealing heroine out of our kitchen in front of our child, then we are bad parents.”
I’m on the good path.