Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Idiot Box and Baby Einsteins dont rhyme!

Have you visited a house without a T.V ? Recently ? Nope . Every single home that I have visited,consider it naturally essential part of the home.
The first TV came to our house the year I was born. A black and white Dyonara.Huge big box. Then came a small tiny Binatone,also black and white. Finally,we got our first BPL color TV in 2000. Quite late,so it was a mini festival of sorts. Cable TV came in around 1995 I think. We didnt get an official connection for a while. My brother used to throw a wire across from our antenna to the neighbour's cable connection to catch signal :P We spent more time in the sun trying to perfect the signal than actually seeing some programs.
Our TV Time was limited. Maybe not out of restriction but due to lesser choice. We watched some selected programs for an hour or so throughout the day. 24/7 Channels like Cartoon Network weren't yet introduced.
Our main entertainment for the day used to be playing in the sand in the construction site right outside our house or exploring the shady alleys behind the house or simply playing catch or ball.
Time passed and now we have everything 24/7 for everyone. Anytime you want , you get cartoons. It might have been my dream to have such a channel as a child. But as a mother, its a nightmare. The advantage that my mother had is lost for me. She didnt need to restrict TV Timings for me and be the villian. I have to be.
I come across articles like the following:

No TV for Toddlers

Ban Under 3 watching television

and know that TV is a big green eyed monster I have to save my kid from.

Are we all bad parents ? You maybe feeding the babies brocolis and carrots for lunch (No mean feat!)
but they wont be helping if the baby watches the tube? Is moderation the key? Or is throwing out the idiot
box the solution? Or switching it on only when the child is sleeping,the sign of the ideal parent? Some still have TV in kid's nursery playing the so called educational content all the time the child is awake. The background noise seems to help, they say.

There is a train of thought that says Forbidden Fruit tastes the sweetest. So if we forbid TV completely, the child will be curious and tempted and find ways to watch it any how. Kids are rebels by design. They will find annoying ways to see some telly.

Leaving the toddlers to see as much TV as they want seem to be easy. Most people do it. Cheapest babysitter in the world and takes no leaves and has no tantrums. Taking care of the baby becomes a cakewalk and baby TV does teach a little bit too! Yeye! But then have a look again at the articles mentioned above. Its just not worth it , aint it?

Moderation. The middle ground. I adopted this path. I pick my battles in a war. I could throw the TV out but I would loose a war there. Its a tedious process. I keep tabs, I yell , I restrict. I am the villian who keeps away the wonderful Teletubbies.

After a thorough research ( boring!) of going through all that the channels offer, I chose only one channel to be suitable for the toddler which is CBeeBies by BBC. Sadly, other channels offer stuff like Doraemon and likes, which I hate. So that is banned for my toddler. But come show a picture of Doraemon to her, she will
yell delightfully 'Doaamon'. Playdates. Sigh!

The first program she was introduced is Teletubbies. I recorded one episode of the program and for 6 months , the toddler saw the same everyday for 15 minutes without loosing a bit of enthusiasm. Repetition
means understanding. She wasnt a zombie in front of the TV. She reacted. She knew what to expect . And later on also understood what Lala said.

Now she sees a new episode daily for 30 mins. Sometimes, she also sees bits of some classic animations from Disney and Pixar . But she aint interested yet. She wanders off to her toys after some time.

As far as mine and hubby's TV viewing is concerned , it is a complete NO, while she is around. She sleeps early. So evening is our TV time. It works fine for us.

There is yet that peer pressure to come in. When her friends watch something and discuss, she might feel left out. But that obstacle I' ll deal with when the time comes. Currently I am fine with my Idiot Box arrangement. And I am proud I dont own a single toddler educational CD :D We have books for that. Tonnes of them.


  1. Can't agree more..!!

    Many of the mothers do use TV as a medium to numb a child's focus and thereby feed them..!!

    Also, few of the cartoons are so out of taste and horribly made.

    Thank god I was from a different generation.

  2. I do the same as you! Thanks to having Netflix, I can choose what my kids watch, rather than whatever is on TV. And, we watch movies etc after they sleep!


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