#18: Eliminate or strictly limit TV watching and replace with activity oriented things which involve the child rather than his/her being a passive observer. When the child does watch TV, watch it with him/her and discuss what is being seen.
In theory, I wholeheartedly agree with this one. In practice, I would like to extend a big THANK-YOU to Treehouse, Disney Junior, and BabyTV. Without you, my house would be the next stop for Kim and Aggie, I would stink so badly that fruit-flies would continuously circle, supper would never get made, and I’m not sure when I’d get to poop.
K1 and K2 sometimes hang out watching a bit of nicely distracting TV while I try to accomplish a bit of housework or personal hygiene. This helps to ensure that the house is still standing when I step out of the shower. (And, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people would never have more than one child without TV ;) , but that’s just between you and me.)
Now, I’m sure that it’s possible to hold to the theoretical ideal for #18, but I know myself, and I’m much more relaxed when I’m not trying to be the perfect mommy. I know people who strive for that. They’re crazy. Or they’re driving other people crazy. Seriously.
Besides, they don’t watch that much, even when it’s on. Most of the time the living room and dining room are made into a climbing gym and the TV is just background noise. More often than not, they’re asking, demanding, that I fetch down the puzzles and the marble games, or they disappear into a bedroom to play with something (which usually goes something like this: K1 builds a train track and K2 destroys it, which results in beaucoup de tears).
The only time that they watch more TV than I’d like is when they aren’t feeling well. This mostly applies to K1. If he hangs out on the couch with you all day, just watching movies etc., you know that he’s not feeling well, especially if he falls asleep while doing so (this is the kid that never naps during the day).
In general, the kids do play/engage in a ton of activities where they’re involved and not just spectators. We have games, crafty items, building blocks, a kitchen/dining/living-room/hallway that you can do laps around, parks, gymnastics, swimming lessons, a piano, and a fenced-in backyard. They’re very active kids.
As for the “when the child does watch TV, watch it with him/her and discuss what is being seen” part of #18, well, that defeats the whole purpose of using TV as a distraction so I can go poop, now doesn’t it?
Okay, seriously though, I always answer their questions/comments on what they watch, and there are some programs that they don’t get to watch (Angelina Ballerina is a whiny, spoiled little brat). Their favourite shows tend to teach them something, or make them laugh.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get the kids ready for an outing. BabyTV is on. Not that anyone is watching…