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TV Time

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts

Whether it’s the mothers who tried to sue Baby Einstein for not actually making their babies smarter or the example of those rare television free households, the issue of screen time can be another source of the ubiquitous mummy-guilt.

Personally I believe that watching television in small doses does no harm and could, to some extent, be beneficial from an educational and social standpoint. Parking a child of any age in front of the TV for eight hours a day is bad but sitting together on the sofa watching In The Night Garden might be tortuous for the parent but is an enjoyable joint activity for the child. A screen shouldn’t be a babysitter but is a useful distraction when someone is ill or you need to get the dinner on.

I’m actually a product of one of those rare TV-less houses and I can’t say that it did me any good, I don’t have a significantly better concentration span than my peers and sadly am no more educated or intelligent than them so from my point of view that theory is a bust. I did however find it socially isolating when I reached my teenage years and missed out on a lot of the schoolyard chat about what people watched the previous night

It’s true there are studies that say that too much television watching is detrimental for a child and I don’t disagree with this but how much is too much and which came first; a difficult child who is put in front of the TV by parents at the end of their tether or a child who is difficult because of the screen time must be hard to tell apart when you’re conducting this research.

I’m going to say that in a household where television is used as a regular long term babysitter there may also be other issues going on which could also affect a child’s behaviour and concentration and it would be hard to separate out those factors and identify the precise impact of the TV watching in isolation.

I treat television for The Boy in the same way as I treat television for me, a whole day watching nothing but TV (as I know from my student days) can leave me feeling restless and groggy however I look forward to coming in after a long day and relaxing in front of some trashy program and I also enjoy watching with my husband so I figure it’s much the same for The Boy just different content in smaller doses.

He enjoys In The Night Garden and Numberjacks (which may even be educational – double bonus points!). We both love the humour of Shaun the Sheep. I can’t stand Teletubbies and am mortified that my newly speaking son will go around the house saying LalaPoLalaPo under his breath. Fortunately this alternates with all his friend’s names so I don’t think he’s scarred for life.

I have heard that friends are rediscovering and enjoying episodes from their childhood with their little ones, Button Moon, Clangers and Bagpuss are available in iTunes, talk of The Magic Roundabout always brings a smile to my friends faces (although perhaps not for the right reasons) and I’m sure the Moomins and Morph can be found somewhere on YouTube.

What are your go to favourites for your toddlers, and what children’s TV from your youth would you like to share with your children? What international television favourites are The Boy and I missing out on?

Button Moon
The Magic Roundabout
Shaun the Sheep
In the Night Garden

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