Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tube Babes?

Since our daughter was born, television has not been a part of her life. We've had no Baby Einstein, no Dora the Explorer, no Disney, and no Sesame Street. This wasn't so much an active choice in the beginning as it was an instinct that TV probably wasn't a good thing for her. It just didn't feel right to me.

Vivi turned 2 in April and with her leap into toddlerhood, I've started to reassess some of our parenting choices. Many times adults have talked to my daughter about Elmo or pointed out Dora to her and I've had to explain that she doesn't know who they are. Are we turning her into some sort of social outcast by not letting her watch TV? Perhaps, but I'm okay with that right now. I've read two wonderful books: Buy, Buy Baby by Susan Gregory Thomas and Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige that have helped me feel better about our choice. They discuss the myriad reasons to turn off the tube for young children-- everything from how children are targeted by corporations to turn them into "cradle to grave consumers" to the increased aggression and decreased creativity in children who watch excessive amounts of TV.

Our goal in parenting our daughter has always been to raise a kind, compassionate child whose presence in the world makes it a better place. It doesn't matter how smart she is or her physical abilities so long as she is able to deal with the ups and downs in life. With this in mind, I think my hunch about TV has served Vivi well. I really prefer our tea parties and couch-cushion forts to tantrums about toys she has seen on TV. When she's older, we will probably revisit this issue again. Toddler playgroup dynamics are a lot different from middle school-dynamics, after all.



2 comments:

  1. Well, I let Nathan watch "Smokey and the Bandit" when he was three, and you see what a mess he is... For the most part, I think these decisions (including playing sports, video games, etc) should be based on the parent's lifestyle choices, since in moderation, most things are probably OK.

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  2. He's a joy! Plus, I don't think there were ever any commercial tie-ins to Smokey and the Bandit!
    :-)

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