I am fully aware that both children and adults watch too much TV. Of course they should be being active and interactive with the things and people around them more. And in relation to toddlers, many parents will leave children in front of the TV for hours and hours every day as it keeps them entertained and makes the parents life a little easier. But these are all generalisations.
My little boy is now 15 months and has been watching TV as part of his daily routing for a long time. And I really believe there are benefits of him doing so. And I would recommend all parents to do the same.
Too much of anything is a bad thing. And its the same with TV. But if you watch TV with your children (rather than leaving them in front of the box for hours on end) and you interact with them about the programs you are watching, then it can be a very positive thing.
From probably around 6 months old (if not earlier) me and the little boy sit down and watch In The Night Garden together. Its a personal favourite of mine before even having children and so to have an excuse to watch it regularly is great! He sits on my lap and cuddles in, and we watch it all the way through. I always sing along with the song bits, and sway from side to side with the music towards the end. I join in with what the characters are doing and talk to Dylan as we watch it about whats on the screen. We wave at the characters when they wave, we nod when they nod, and we do the repetitive actions that define the characters.
I love that now he is a little older he will get so excited the second it comes on and come to my to sit on my lap so we can watch it together.
At the weekend we have a nice routing. As I work Mon - Fri, one day of the weekend I will get up early with Dylan and watch TV while the Mrs has a lie in. On the other day I will get a very well deserved lie in too :) On the day I get up with him we always have milk and breakfast first and then we sit down and watch some TV and play some games. We love to watch the same programs such as Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Curious George. Dylan loves to dance to the music and joins in with his words that he can say. As soon as Jake and the Neverland Pirates comes on Dylan will shout 'yo ho!'. And when Curious George comes on he will make his monkey noises.
As he gets bigger he is learning every day with new words and new ways to interact and show off everything he knows. Weather it is recognising animals and making their noises (he knows about 10 animal noises at the moment and recognises about 5 of the animals if he see's then on TV or in a book or in real life). Yesterday I was changing his nappy during In The Night Garden and the music came on at the end when he put his hands up in the air and started rolling side to side, just as we normally do when he is on my lap watching it. It was so heart warming to see him dancing on his own with the right routine for the music.
He definitely enjoys watching TV as you can see he gets so excited when his favourite programs come on. And I honestly believe it has helped him develop some of the skills he has as a 15 month old.
Dylan is probably the most social person I know. He always waves and kisses at people in the streets when they walk past, or when they get on the bus. In a restaurant he will walk off (with mummy or daddy not too far behind) and walk up to another table just to wave at the people there. The first place he learnt to wave was from In The Night Garden.
So I say that if you choose programs that are relevant to your child's age, include it as part of a routine and limit the time spent watching it, and most importantly interact with your child whilst he watches TV, then I say TV is great for your children.
And I hope that as he gets older we can parent him in the same way with all forms of media, such as TV, PCs and the internet, mobile phones and tabs, in that if we take the same approach then they can also be of a great benefit to him and his development.
Please feel free to comment below on your views on my post, your experience with children and TV / media.