Worshiping by the Glow of the TV

I’ve always had mixed feelings about letting Eli watch TV. On the one hand, his parents watch TV, and there are a lot of good shows for kids these days, starting with Sesame Street and going from there. On the other hand, he needs to be able to entertain himself without turning to the TV at every opportunity. We’ve tried to strike a balance by letting him watch a set number of shows. For the most part he can choose when he watches them and which ones he watches, but once he’s watched his set number, he’s done.

I’d feel better if he didn’t then remind me about the TV he watches. We’ll be playing together and he’ll say, “Oh, no, dad, we’re being chased by a Nile crocodile!” Would that be the same Nile crocodile you saw on Little Einsteins? He incorporates what he’s seen into his imaginative play, using it as a springboard for his own adventures. That’s cool and all, but should he make TV such a big part of his life?

And speaking of TV, did you see the season finale of Battlestar Galactica? I’ve seen a lot of people discussing how much it annoyed them, and I’m partially on their side. Unfortunately, there aren’t any more episodes until 2008, so I guess we’ll all have to theorize about the dangling plot threads in the finale and read and write fanfic in the meantime.

6 thoughts on “Worshiping by the Glow of the TV

  1. Since he is right this minute watching Caillou and it’s about a 4 year old coping with his feelings and his baby sister, I’m thinking the tv watching is a great idea!

  2. I think it’s great that you guys decided to set a limit as to how much tv he gets to watch, and that you’ve managed to stick with it. I think it’s okay that he is incorporating what he sees on tv into his imaginative play. Afterall, aren’t kids shows supposed to get their creative juices flowing. It seems to me that he is learning new things and remembering them by incorporating them into play. He’s a sharp kid, I woudld try not to worry too much.

    You guys are doing great 🙂

  3. Echoing Ashley, here, I think if he’s incorporating what he sees on TV into imagninative play, then that’s exactly the right way to be using it.

  4. We’ve been thinking this a lot, and we aren’t sure, either. At the moment, we haven’t allowed any TV watching. My parents used to turn on the TV when he was there, and for a while he was fascinated with the moving images, but since he never seemed to watch, they’ve stopped. We want to take advantage of the educational shows, but we also don’t want to get into the “I want to watch TV!” or the just plunking down in front of the screen and ignoring everything else, so *shrug*

    It’s still something we need to figure out out.

  5. I think overall, tv can be a really good tool. Eli started watching pretty early because I needed something that would hold his attention while I showered. So at the very beginning it was about 15 minutes and it was usually Sesame Street.

    I think that’s one of the reasons he knows all the letters and numbers. He understands basic math and reading skills and I think SS did that more than anything that I sat with him to do. Yes, we’ve read a lot around here. Big surprise, but the repetition he needed for those skills came from tv.

    Now all he watches are problem solving shows and that’s what he’s incorporating into his play.

    While I do want him to get enough exercise and there are specific studies that show the relationship to how much tv a kid watches a day to levels of obesity, I think when we also go outside for several hours at a time and he runs and plays, that it’ll all turn out ok in the end.

    And as Stephen obliquely pointed out, it’s not as if we don’t have our own obsession with tv.

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