Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Love-Hate Relationship With Children's Programming

Am I the only parent who simultanously love these guys and want to gouge out my eyes at the sound of their themesong? 
Like my mid-90s computer, I am grateful to the existence of children's programming. How else would I be able to spend my 18 month old's entire nap entertaining you guys with my misadventures, unless my 3 year old was watching mind-numbing programming and asking for frozen bananas at every paragraph?
But also, like my mid-90s computer, I am annoyed to the max by these shows. Very slow, makes high pitched noises, and the plot is severely lacking. See? I'm not even sure right now if I'm talking about the shows or my computer.
Yet, if I'm sitting on the couch, reading, instead of back here hiding on the computer, I notice my attention sliding up from The Valley of the Horses to stare, blank-eyed at what the gang on Yo Gabba Gabba is doing today. The bright colors and catchy tunes hypnotize me as I bend back over my book just to read the same paragraph for the third time. Damn them, no wonder the kids can stare at that screen so slack jawed that I wonder if the bright lights and colors have caused them to have a seizure.
Of course, they both know the alphabet, numbers to 50, shapes and colors so advanced to include trapezoid  and chartruse. (I'm so not exaggerating, thank you Blue's Clues.) They have been introduced to sharing, working together as a team, and eating a variety of healthy foods. All these things, aside from sharing and eating healthy foods, I thought were too advanced for toddlers until they started spitting them out... so unfortunately I cannot take credit. I think until recently I forgot what a trapezoid looked like.
My husband likes to point out that my son knows right from left more readily than I do. Thanks for the support, asshole.
I often feel bad for the amount of TV my kids watch, there seems to be little else to do with them. Crafts are a bit much for the age group, Kendyl has to be watched like a hawk at any playground, structured play is rejected wholeheartedly. I can at least say, a good 75% of the time, I watch with them and sing the songs and show them the concepts that are introduced on the shows.
But the studies don't mention any of that jazz, they don't say 5 hours of TV is alright as long as you are down doing the somersaults, and pointing out the blue bird and reciting the alphabet right along with them.
I go to bed at night thinking I'm doing wrong by these kids, but what else is there to do with two toddlers in an apartment? At least it's all educational at this point. 
We'll worry about  how much my son looks like Flapjack later.

I really do invite comments on this post. How much TV is too much? How much TV do your kids watch, or how much did they watch? (I don't think your teenager's iCarly consumption is relevant, or shit, maybe it is)
Am I a terrible parent? Don't lie, one way or the other. This isn't the place to tell me I suck because your kids watch 10 minutes of CNN a day and then work on their multiplication tables for the rest of the evening because you're so much better of a parent than I am. UNLESS they really do, and then kudos, you ARE a better parent than I am. What do you want? A frickin cookie?
So how dangerous IS children's programming?


At October 12, 2010 at 2:48 PM , Blogger legalmel said...

You aren't a terrible parent... until my kids started school they watched 3-5 hours of tv a day... and it wasn't all educational (though Blues Clues did spend alot of time on our tv). Even now they watch about 1-1.5 hrs a day after school ( and i know for a fact that the crap they watch /Icarley/ isn't in the least educational) I think we do what we do in order to stay sane and have children who are at least reasonably happy and well adjusted

At October 12, 2010 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

If you're a terrible parent then I'm in that boat with you. I don't limit my kids tv unless it's an awesome day outside and they're parked in front of the tv for 2hrs straight of a SpongeBob marathon (I hate that yellow idiot!). We used to have a tv in every bedroom. Then I set up a play room, we now have 1 tv in there and ditched the bedroom tv's for my 7 and 8 year olds. Anyway- the play room tv is ALWAYS on NickJr. I don't mind it. My 3yr old knows Chinese for crying out loud. He knows his colors. He can count to 10. My 7 and 8 year olds could not do that at 3. Plus, I watched a ton of TV when I was growing up, and I turned out fine (more or less) lol.

At October 13, 2010 at 7:33 AM , Blogger JustMom420zaks said...

Idea: Celebrity Deathmatch between Wonderpets and Spongebob. Who would win? Granted The Wonderpets are experts at teamwork, Spongebob may have to have Patrick in his corner.


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