Sunday, January 6, 2013

TV is a Better Teacher Than I AKA F the AAP

It's a sad day in this household. Today, my little girl taught herself the word turtle after watching a mere five minutes of Nick Junior's The Wonder Pets. What the fuck?

The American Association of Pediatrics claims that it is best for children under age two to be exposed to ZERO hours/minutes/seconds of television per day.

In my attempt to do something (anything) right as a mom, I have drastically limited the amount of television my little girl watches on a daily basis (typically she watches no television when she's alone with mom). Baby girl watches the approximate equivalent of one thirty minute episode of a children's show per week (when she's at home). Okay, sometimes she watches VP debates too...

Yes, I know she watches more when at the gym daycare or with family (our parents and siblings are her primary babysitters for the twenty hours or so we need it each week), but I also know that's limited to when said family members have been utterly tired out by chasing her around/ keeping her out of trouble, so when all is said and done she probably gets an hour per week on average.

Granted, the AAP also goes on to say it's not so much the screen time as the lack of parental/ person-to-person interaction that goes on when you're not hanging out with your kid. When my girl does watch TV, she does so interactively. She dances to the kiddie songs, I ask her if she's "got moves". We recap what's happening in the episode: "Did Ming-Ming find his mommy on Mother's Day?" And, we watch shows limited to what I (or my husband) deem developmentally and educationally appropriate: Wonder Pets teaches teamwork (just listen to the awesome theme song if you don't believe me) and caring for others.


Sesame Street teaches... well, just about everything else. We're extremely luck in knowing that she primarily watches Sesame Street if and when she's with anyone else (she can also say "Elmo"... though, I don't know if there's so much merit in that nowadays given Kevin Clash's past missteps coming to light) and even then, whomever she happens to be watches alongside her.

However, this is not to say you're doing something wrong if your kid watches more TV than mine. This is what happens to work for us. Our little girl is active, she's not what I think of when I think of the stereotypical girl-child, and we wouldn't have it any other way, but that also means she's a mischievous little imp who runs (literally runs) rampant around the house, looking for someone to chase her, or play hide-and-seek.

My point is-- if you're like me and put a ton of stock into scientific research and recommendations made by professional organizations, you're in good company, and there's no reason to stress yourself out about every little thing your kid does that operates outside of that recommendation. My parents allowed me to watch as much TV as I desired from as early as I can remember. Literally, some of my earliest memories involve my mom and I watching M*A*S*H* late at night after my dad went to sleep-- how's that for TV and no set bedtime?

If I don't fuck up in this arena, then I'm destined to elsewhere, at least this seems fairly innocuous. In keeping with my New Year's Resolutions: the secret is moderation (and not freaking out).

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