Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's ok to let your kids watch tv. I recommend it!

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmrj6ilyMI5G2hnraXRWpEQ

I know many new moms who say "my child will never watch tv" and I'm sure they really mean it.  They feel that tv is bad, it poisons the child's mind, creates laziness, etc.  For some, this is very true.  However, as the parent, we are in complete control of what our children are exposed to, at least until they are teenagers.  With some limitations and the right choices, tv can be extremely beneficial to young, growing minds.

I have twins, so tv was a wonderful distraction for them when I needed some time to fold laundry, prepare meals, go to the bathroom, etc.  I only allowed them to watch very specific shows that were designed to benefit my growing babies.  They watched mostly Nick Jr., Disney Jr., and now Sprout.  I chose educational shows such as Sesame Street, Team Umizumi, Bubble Guppies, Dora, Max & Ruby and Special Agent Oso, to name a few.  If you watch these shows with your children, you'll see that they teach letters, numbers, colors, shapes, science, geography, language and life lessons.  By 3 years old, my boys knew all of their letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and even told me about the planets in the solar system.  At times, I learned things from them that I didn't even know about.  I can say with absolute certainty that these things were learned from tv.  Of course, I teach them things as I go, but I can credit a lot of it to them watching tv.

I strictly limit the content of what they watch.  I don't allow "grown-up" shows, which includes violence, sexual content, foul language, heavy drama, etc.  There is no need for them to see these things so young and it won't benefit them in any way.  My husband and I don't watch our own tv shows until the kids are in bed and they know they aren't allowed to watch grown-up shows or movies.  My only exception to this is when I'm watching my science or medical shows on TLC, NatGeo, Science or Discovery Health.  I let them watch people brought into the ER with gunshots, stab wounds, car accident trauma, and anything else that is cause for emergency.  This allows me to teach them about anatomy, healthy, medicine and danger in general.  This also includes death.  Because of my profession as a Funeral Director, I am very open with my children about death.  I've been questioned about exposing my kids to these things, but I see it as education, as do my kids.  It doesn't help anyone to shelter them from reality.

I've had to loosen up some of my restrictions as they get older.  Now they are into super heroes, so I allow them to watch the new superhero movies that have come out, like Spiderman, Thor, Avengers, Hulk, etc.  These are still kid friendly movies, but they do have some violence.  I just don't let them watch "gore" in movies.  I don't mind them seeing blood, especially since they watch my medical shows, but I don't want it to be extreme violent gore.  They don't need to see someone's head being blown up with brains splattered everywhere.  This is also so they don't think violence is fun or entertaining.

I make sure to remind my kids regularly of the difference between tv and reality.  They know that a lot of what they see on tv is fake or pretend.  They know that the characters are played by actors pretending to be that character for the movie.  They know the difference between my real medical shows and pretend movies.  Too many kids today don't know the difference and I think that is the cause for a lot of violent acts and crimes committed by kids and young adults.  They see people on tv kill others and think its ok and even fun.  My children know the difference!

The same is true for video games.  They ONLY play kid games like Disney Infinity, Lego Marvel, Plants vs. Zombies and a few other similar games.  My husband is not allowed to play his adult games until they are in bed.  I absolutely do NOT allow them to see violence in video games.  I do not want them to learn that killing is fun.  It is NEVER ok to view shooting, beating, hurting someone as fun!

My twins are 5 now (the baby is 2) and to this day, they have never seen anything inappropriate on tv.  There was one exception... when they stayed at my sister's for the night, she let them watch Sharknado.  I didn't know till the next day and I was NOT happy, but I can't change what happened.  However, I made sure they were very clear on the facts.  Sharks cannot be sucked up into a tornado and fly around and it is NOT ok to go around killing things with a chainsaw!  The movie was pretend and it was funny to them.  Other than that, their exposure has been strictly limited.  I can say that they have benefited from this practice overall.  It doesn't take that much effort as a parent to control their exposure.  If more people did what I do, I think our youth would be a little more well rounded and less aggressive.  TV can be a wonderful tool for learning if used correctly.  It doesn't take much, but it needs to happen.