How do you choose better tv for kids?
This is usually the day where I talk about what we do instead of watching tv. But, Tomato is starting to approach the age at which she will watch some television. So, I am curious to know how folks choose better tv? A lot of people asks us why we are waiting to have Tomato watch television. We have made a decision that she is not watching it until she is three since the AAP recommends no TV before 2 years of age and on the recommendation of Erik Jensen’s research. Plus, for us, there is so much more to do in the day between creating with Duplos, coloring, exploring spelling with the refrigerator magnetic letters, and taking walks around town. She is aware of most of the popular media characters that other kids know from television. We have just chosen to introduce them through books. Thomas the Tank Engine’s stories are a favorite and she loves the characters from Disney and Sesame Street. We went to Sesame Street Live the other week and it was her first time seeing Elmo move around. She loved it and it is one of the shows that I look forward to sharing with her in the fall.
Recently, Education Week released an infographic about how the types of shows children watch may influence their development.
For me, some of the amounts of television that certain ages watch were a bit surprising. Plus, the volume of commercials that kids see wasn’t even something that I had thought of before. So, how do you select better tv? Do you choose quality programs on systems like Netflix so that commercials are eliminated? Do you watch live, quality programming with your kids and discuss the commercials? Those teaching moments within the programming could be valuable moments. What types of shows do you consider to be better tv? I remember Mister Rogers, Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow being a central part of my formative preschool years. Our library even offers them on DVD and LeVar Burton and friends were a huge part of my passion for free libraries and summer reading programs. I was definitely the kid who made a list of the books discussed on the episode and then went to check them out. In addition to DVD versions limiting commercials, if you are uncertain about the pacing of today’s shows, the older episodes from your library can also be a good alternative.
So, what do your kids watch? How do you find better tv? Do you watch with them and extend the topics into the rest of your day?