We all know that we are not supposed to expose our children to the television for hours at a time. However, I have to admit that I still do this despite being warned about how the TV affects children — especially on days when I have a ginormous load of chores (mostly laundry) and a long list of tasks from clients.
Then yesterday I received an email from one of the website I subscribe to (I can’t remember which one, sorry) about the importance of limiting TV time and focusing on creative and active play instead.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that children under two years of age should not be watching television while those older than two years old should have no more than 1-2 hours of TV time a day (of quality programming). Holy cow. I’ve exposed The Little Man to the television ever since I can remember and The Princess would spend her whole morning watching her favorite Disney Junior shows.
How The TV Affects Children
Studies show that the first two years of a child’s life is a critical time for the brain to develop. Exposing children to the television (or other electronic devices) will stop them from exploring, playing and interacting with other people — which are three of the best ways to encourage learning as well as promote healthy physical and social development.
If parents fail to limit TV time and/or supervise the shows that children watch, kids will be at risk of:
- Aggressive behavior and/or fear of the world around them (This happens if children see violent acts on television)
- Exposure to bad influences (i.e. characters who smoke, drink, etc.)
While I thank shows like Bubble Guppies and Hi5 for teaching The Princess the alphabet, how to count, the colors and so much more, I decided that it’s about time for me to take over The Minis’ home education.
This is why I declared today as ‘No TV Day’ just to see how The Minis will react if I replace TV time with toys and art materials.
Our Creative Play Day
On most days, Daddy A and I would turn on the television as soon as we wake up to watch the news while we prepare breakfast and tidy up the house. After that, it’s non-stop TV the whole day since The Minis would ask me to either switch the channel to Disney Junior or HBO Family.
Today, however, I decided not to turn on the television despite The Minis’ constant whining. Instead, I took out their stuffed animals and pizza-making tools and laid them all on the bed. The Minis quickly forgot about their request to turn on the television and turned their attention to the toys.
It was amazing seeing them do so many creative things to their toys. The Princess played pretend cook while The Little Man made a tower out of the pizza slices. The next thing I know, they were walking (and crawling) around the house pretending to be in a grocery store. They also got a hold of the stickers they received from the Rumble Yard and decorated our fridge.
I took that chance to teach them the different colors, identify shapes and how to count (The Princess can count up to 20 already!).
So far, our TV ban is working great. Aside from being much more relaxed compared to the past days, The Minis also did not find it hard to take a nap. I think it was so difficult to calm them down before because of TV stimulation. But now that the TV is off and the house is much quieter, I just laid them down on the bed, played soft music and they dozed off to dream land in a few minutes.
Although I would still let them watch TV, TV time will now be limited and our days will be more about the real kind of play.
Do you limit your child’s TV time? What other activities would you suggest to keep little ones busy?