*Warning- this post contains graphic images offensive to some mother’s who hate when kids watch t.v.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘how could you let your child watch television? He’s so young, you’re stunting his brain development! He will be addicted to television, you will have a hard time getting him to play other games. You’re RUINING his social skills’. Or you are like me and are thinking ‘Me too girl, me too’. If you’re a mother who identifies in that first camp of thinking, yes, my kid’s I.Q. will probably be less than 20, he won’t have a single friend and his brain is oozing out of his ears (I thought it was just ear wax this whole time, my bad).
I get it, I really do, t.v. isn’t healthy like reading a book or playing a game, and while I agree that parent’s shouldn’t let their child sit in front of the t.v. all day watching Keeping up With the Kardashians a little bit of television isn’t going to harm him. Hear me out…
#1 I need a break. Let’s be honest this is definitely my top reason… which I put it at no. 1. My son take 1 nap a day (not my choice, the child is stubborn). That means I have 10 hours of baby time a day and with less down time for him means less downtime for me. 10 hours of baby time is exhausting with a one year old who is attached to me like sticky rice on sushi. He follows me everywhere, so getting to have a moment to eat, drink my coffee or just sit is nearly impossible. But with this awesome thing called television I can change that in the matter of seconds. With a quick click of a remote the room changes and a hush falls over the crowd. I get about 3-4 minutes of quiet time to drink my coffee, read my bible or just sit. I GET TO SIT! I am on my feet most of the day playing, chasing and this 3-4 minutes is pure tranquility. I can close my eyes and go to my happy place, enjoy my cold coffee that I made hours ago, until I am brutishly called back with throngs of the cries of boredom or hunger. But for the brief moment it is so worth it.
#2 T.V. is a tool– Do I let the t.v. babysit my child? Absolutely, and I am not ashamed to admit it. When I need to make myself lunch, take a shower, do the dishes, sweep the floor, clean the bedroom or another chore I turn that tube on. For 10 minutes I let Topsy and Tim or Caillou (can anyone tell me why he is bald?) spend a little time with Ezra. He’s entertained briefly while I rush to get things done, definitely not sitting and eating bon bons.
#3 It cures boredom. Because what else am I going to honestly do in my small apartment, after all our games have run their course, a second nap is not on his agenda and the fuss starts to kick in, while it’s 100,000° degrees outside and the rain is pouring like a monsoon? ‘Nuff said.
#4 It is a distraction. I love my son, I love spending time with him, but he is only a year old… the conversation gets pretty stale. When our discussions are all one sided the monotony is enough to drive a mom insane. I need background noise and desperately crave adult conversation, something to make me feel like there is another adult around. Turning on a show gives me peace of mind and helps maintain a little of my sanity, even if the characters are kids with dire circumstances like not being able to find their stuffed toy.
#5 T.V. is OK in moderation. Like everything television is fine in moderation. For Ezra moderation means about the 3-4 minutes at a time that he actually sits and watches the screen. I would never plop him in front of the television for endless hours day in and day out so we do a lot besides watch shows. During the week we go on several walks, read books, listen to music, go to the pool, walk around Target and oogle all the things I can’t buy (bad idea) and spend time with friends. A little bit of t.v. won’t kill him, or melt his brain contrary to what the pediatricians say. And although it might not necessarily be good for him, it isn’t bad either.
#6 Not all t.v. is bad. I understand that Ezra is 1, so how much knowledge is he actually absorbing from these shows? Maybe nothing at all, but I would much prefer to put something with substance on for him than Real Housewives of the O.C. While t.v. may not necessarily make a difference for kids under 2, it’s not necessarily bad either. So, it’s a little like eating celery, doesn’t do any harm, but doesn’t do much good either.
So maybe most of the reasons I let my son watch t.v. is mostly for my benefit, but I’m okay with that. For me the zero tolerance rule is unrealistic and as long as I am not inundating my child with crap then I don’t see a problem with turning on a t.v. show here and there to give myself a little breathing space. I definitely never claim to be a perfect mother but I am unapologetic about this one parenting vice. We each have one, some more than others, and if it is only a television show then I think I’m doing okay. My son is loved, he is cared for and that is what matters most.
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