How many times do you read headlines on social media: Turn off the TV and gadgets and do more activities with your child OR Why our children are becoming addicted to TV OR TV is the new babysitter?
Before having a child I would have thought exactly the same way, but then I had never seen CBeebies or any of the new kid’s TV shows. I was at work full time and hadn’t been around kids very much and no it wasn’t something I was drawn to watching at the weekends. When Jake came to the age of starting to want to watch TV his first love was (unfortunately) ‘Peppa Pig’… it became the biggest pain in my day, the theme tune along with the fucking bing bong song… anybody else singing this in their sleep then as soon as you wake up?!! However, over this last year I have noticed how much he relates back to this annoying little piggy. He remembers the episodes and the activities they carry out and it’s made me come to realise how many words he has probably learnt from it.
He has since had obsessions with other programmes – some I def do not approve of. ‘Bing’ is a whiney little rabbit who strops and gets upset over things which is not really teaching our kids very much… he most certainly is not teaching them how to speak correctly and I am quite surprised he is allowed on CBeebies with his ‘hurted’, ‘watch-ed’ and other toddler type speech which is never corrected – yep, I have heard children copy this, mine included.
Now ‘In the night garden’ may seem equally as annoying as Peppa, that and a wee bit of a head trip for us parents, but they do tell a story and the names of the characters are easy for children to say plus I am pretty sure the Pontypines helped him to learn to count to ten more easily!
‘Mr. Tumble’ was the worst programme for me when I first saw it. He annoyed me soooo much, the whole show frustrated me and it all seemed so silly. He won me over after watching his stage show one weekend on CBeebies. Then I noticed how much Jake was taking in and he actually started to sign. I have never taken him to a signing class or even learnt it myself, yet here he was sitting in front of the telly as I walked back in the room and he was copying the actions and trying his best to say the words. I have a friend who has taken her son to sing and sign classes since he was teeny – he cannot and will not sign. All the money spent and the time taken going there and all she needed to do was switch on the telly! Jake now goes around signing ‘friends’ to everyone and I love it!
‘The Twirly Woo’s’ is fab! It is engaging and the repeating of the words has again encouraged him to learn to speak. Another one I will happily watch with him.
Andy has not only taught Jake about dinosaurs but also me – I get a little bit too into this programme!! (absolutely nothing to do with Andy…*cough* ahem) I didn’t learn anything like this as a kid or at school and I find it fascinating how much our little ones can learn from such a young age. The same can most def be said for ‘Mr. Bloom’ and ‘Nina and the Neurons’ – teaching kids about gardening and science, there is no way anyone can say that this type of TV is harmful.
Over to mamamamamemememe more milkshake and my fave has to be ‘Ben and Holly’. If you get bored just test yourself on who does the voices in this compared to Peppa. This is slightly longer and has much more going on in it and the humour is fab… not sure if Jake picks up on this yet but he watches me laughing along! I think this one may be more aimed at us parents – they like to keep us guessing with Nanny Plum and The Wise Old Elf… have they? Haven’t they? Will they?!! It’s nice to have at least one programme we can enjoy. ‘Thomas and friends’ is a classic and from a boys’ point of view, it is amazing! Talking trains, toots and fun story lines, what more could a child want? I would still say he is learning from these shows too.
Disney is now becoming a firm favourite and I most definitely have no issues with this… singing, dancing and re-living my childhood whilst I see his face light up as he watches them for the first time, priceless.
I understand there are more out there that may be a little more violent or silly or not educational but that is down to us as parents to monitor and decide what is best for our little ones. I am in no way saying that I sit him down all day every day to watch TV, but we do watch it when we are at home and I think it is especially important for chill out time before bed. I have observed him repeat words, copy actions, say things to me in the day about a programme he had seen and compare it to what we are doing at that time. TV for him stimulates his mind, it doesn’t hinder it and I think we need to give more programmes the benefit of the doubt and also praise them for their educational content.
And come on, let’s face it, TV is a lifesaver for us parents on those days where everything is going wrong, it’s tantrums galore and we are exhausted. I owe a lot of quiet time to ‘Dinotrux’, that and a hot cup of tea!!