Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Mama's little helper - or not?

Deaglan's favourite show right now is Dora.

It's become almost worrisome to Shaune and me. There's an on-demand children's channel included in our cable package that offers tons of episodes of some of the more popular kids' shows for free. We try to use it with caution.

However, once he watches one episode of Dora, he wants more. We try to always set the boundaries before turning on the TV - like we'll say: Okay, you can watch two Doras but then the TV is going off. Do you understand? And he'll nod in agreement to this verbal contract but we can tell what he's really saying is: yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, move out of the way and turn it up.

But then when the two episodes are done and we click the "off " button, we are treated to a full blown temper tantrum - rolling on the floor, crying, kicking, telling the unlucky parent in attendance that he doesn't like them.

I find it difficult to navigate this tricky and controversial topic. I mean I know that lots of parents will tell you that letting your child watch television is just plain bad, it teaches your kids to stop thinking for themselves, can cause this or that etc. And I've read a lot of literature that gives guidance on this.

But the bottom line truth for me is - it's nice to get a break!


  1. I think it is fine for him to watch Dora and two episodes seems very reasonable. I remember, when my girls were little and it was all Barney. I think the important thing is to stick to the two episode limit or whatever limit you set. Where I messed up was giving into the temper tantrums at times, and now I see how important limit setting is and being consistent. I'm doing it now, but it would have been so much easier if I started when they were younger!!! They need the limits and you might say if he throws a temper tantrum, he won't be able to watch tomorrow. Just a thought.
    As for TV, my Pediatrician told me (when the girls were that age) no more than 2 hours a day, and not at once, so I think it's fine. Plus, the kids shows are so educational now and fun. Then, there is the fact that is is good for moms to have a break!!!

  2. I didn't really turn on the tv much until I was super pregnant with Cal. It kept the foo occupied during the later months, and it's a TOTAL lifesaver now. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed either: there are days the tv doesn't get turned off. I am BUSY - nursing a newborn and changing diapers and trying to keep myself sane and the house relatively tidy. I wouldn't beat yourself up about it. We all do what we have to do to get by!! You're an awesome mom, and just the fact that you're thinking about it is a good thing. Turn it on, let him watch, and put your feet up. Because believe me, you won't have nearly as much free time once the second one arrives!!!

  3. Re: your comment on my blog (I tried to find your email address but can't!) I haven't decided yet whether to write about Cal's birth and my experience with this c-section. Short version: if we have a third, I will do everything in my power (which, granted, isn't much!) to NOT have another csection. This recovery has been MUCH harder than the first time. Well, the first couple of weeks were. AND Cal had to spend his first couple of days in the NICU, likely DUE to my csection. If I could do it over again, I'd HOPE to go into labor...if by ten days late or so I hadn't, I'd get induced again. Hellish as that experience was the first time, it was nothing compared to the pain of the recovery this time, and to the pain of not being able to lift my toddler for A MONTH. (feel free to delete this comment!)

  4. Normal two-year-old behavior.

    Now that he's two, even the American Academy of Pediatrics says some TV is alright. (How do they expect us to survive without it at all before age two?!?)

    We do no more than an hour a day. Usually before dinner so he has something to move onto and not dwell on the fact that it's over. Plus, I know he won't be "helping" me in the kitchen possibly burning himself.

    How are you?

  5. Dora? It could be so much worse! I'm pretty liberal about TV and it sometimes seems like mine is ALWAYS on. My kids are all healthy and active and would all rather be outside playing, but there are days when I'm so very grateful for cable and DVDs and On-Demand... Be thankful, Kim, Dora will come in handy when you're busy with a newborn!

  6. Kim I just want to chime in and tell you that Matt and Jen both watched a TON of TV and at first I felt really bad about it because all of the "experts" said it was wrong. But man oh man, I really think some kids need that mental stimulation.
    And now, with Jen and Matt being 9 and 11 and us now knowing just how high Matt's IQ is, well, I'm pretty sure the teacher in his Gifted class would say the TV didn't hurt him a bit ;)
    ...long live Dora! :)
    PS I have a gift for you I'll get to you somehow too :) Hope you're feeling great!

  7. I think Dora is a great show for developing little ones' minds. Jillian's vocabulary seemed to increase daily when she watched Dora. She also learned about problem solving and some mathematical concepts. I do let my kids watch TV often. I haven't seen any real detrimental effect on their activity level or academic performance. There are actually many great shows out there that help supplement their education.

    TV is also a great babysitter when mama needs to cook or shower!

  8. Dora as crack.

    But seriously, I think it's a pretty decent show for kids.


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