Before I had kids, I had some pretty specific ideas on how I would handle the television. We didn’t even have cable for quite a while, and I always promised myself that I’d be the mom that only allowed educational TV, and only in small doses.
But now? Now I laugh at that mom.
It was a whole lot easier to stick to my guns before I got pregnant…and really, really exhausted. Horsey rides and running around with Little Man on my shoulders were simply not options anymore. Frankly, staying awake wasn’t even much of an option. But neither was ignoring him, so I turned to the best tool I could find: the TV.
And you know what? I don’t feel as badly about it as I thought I would. Sure, there are days when it’s a little too much, but when I feel like we’re relying on it, I check myself really quickly. But as much as I know that reading books and writing letters and playing word games are better options (and we do those things…a lot) I know that TV can have its place, too.
These days, when most of my day is spent breastfeeding Little Sis, Disney Junior, PBS and kids’ movies have become my new best friends. They solve the problem of how to keep an eye on my son while tethered to the couch while nursing, and I always make sure we watch together so we can talk about the messages we’re being sent. Movies are a special treat, too. We buy probably more than we should, but I know that we can always get a few bucks back at someplace like Music Magpie where you can sell old movies you’ve watched a million times (Um, Nemo?! I can quote every. single. line.)
I’m finding that loosening up a bit about screen time has taught me that television can be a helpful parenting tool, if used carefully. Like today, when a show about sharing helped my little guy wind down after an entire day of helping Daddy do early spring chores on our property. It’s all about balance, after all, and that’s a balance I can live with. (Just gotta watch those childhood movie obsessions. They can get bad. I hear “P. Sherman” in my sleep! Hoo-ha-ha!)
Do you allow TV in your household? Have your views changed on television since you’re become a parent?