Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TV is Bad, Bad, Bad for Your Kids - Not!

I was in the middle of my daytime routine...and a thought hit me! I had to write a blog post - a real blog post - for the first time in a long time!

We've all been slapped on the hand, scolded and felt guilty for allowing our children to watch tv. Parenting experts, magazines and online articles will tell you over and over again that too much television will turn your child into an overweight couch potato with no ambition. But, with all of the choices that we have to present to our children for television viewing, it leaves me to wonder if the "experts" might be slightly wrong.

Morning Routine

I have a morning routine that I have fallen into lately - and it's working pretty darn good for me, as a busy mom of 6. I get up and hustle the four oldest children out the door to the school bus, "Did you brush your hair? Your teeth?" Bla, bla, bla...and then, when the mad rush is over, there are still two (demanding) children to tend to.

Right on time, at 8:00 A.M., Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on Disney Junior. (By the way, I LOVE that channel, for the kids, of course!). During the beginning of the show, I will make my strawberry flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast (a great way to get those much-needed vitamins!) and start brewing my must-have coffee. As the show progresses, I encourage my little ones to count and sing along and dance and interact with the questions that are posed.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

If you haven't seen Mickey Mouse Clubhhouse lately and you have pre-school aged children and toddlers, you really should check it out. There are quite a few similarities to Dora the Explorer: it is a colorful cartoon, they ask questions to get the children thinking and interacting, and they present and solve problems (with the help of their viewing audience).

When the music plays, Dakoda will dance around and laugh, quite often joined by Dylan. When they ask questions, Dylan is quick to guess the answer and is quite proud of how "smart" he is when he gets the right answer (which is 99.9% of the time, little Smarty Pants). Couch potatoes, they are not. And, thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I can get my morning started with my vitamins and coffee without interruption - and I know that my children are getting a little bit of exercise, both physically and mentally.

Dora the Explorer (and Go, Diego, Go!)

I mentioned Dora the Explorer earlier, and will let you know that both Dora and Diego are also favorites in our house. I like these shows because they are also interactive and ask questions to get the children thinking and problem solving. They also teach a little Spanish to the children. I can proudly say that my children know quite a few words in Spanish, thanks to Dora, Diego and Handy Manny.

Handy Manny

Teamwork, cooperation and community are the focus points of Handy Manny. Handy Manny is joined by his animated tools who are always willing to help him solve problems. This show gets my little people thinking and solving problems and there is a little Spanish incorporated, too. You can find Handy Manny on the Disney Channel.

Little Einsteins

The classical music that is raved about for the enhancement of your children's brains can be found here! Along with music, you will find artwork and problem solving. For many years, right after they outgrew the Baby Einstein series, my children moved onto Little Einsteins. Another Disney Channel series, I don't see it on as often as I used to, but I still think it's a great show for pre-school aged children.

A Big No-No Show

Spongebob Squarepants

I hate this show. There is absolutely no educational value in it, and although my children will sit and turn into zombies while Spongebob Squarepants is on, I can't stand it. My children know it, too. I have made my opinion of the show very clear. I do admit that I will allow my children to watch it once and a while, but they can forget about the Spongebob Squarepants marathons in my house!

I could list every kid's show on television and my opinion, but I don't have the time to do it, and I'm sure that you don't have the time to read a blog post that long...but, my point is: there is television programming for children that is educational if you encourage your children to participate, think and dance along with the music.

I'm not advocating all-day entertainment with the television, but for those mothers who need a moment (or two) to get acclimated to the morning or cook lunch or even take a quick shower, these shows can definitely teach your child a thing or two while you are busy. They can also help out on rainy days (or these long winter days) when all of the crafts and activities start to get boring.

I, personally, don't limit television viewing hours for my little ones (the older children, yes), but I do monitor the show choices and direct them to the shows that I think have educational value for them.

What is your opinion? Do you think that television is completely bad for your kids? Do you set time limits on the tv? What are your kid's favorite shows?


  1. I am right there with you... My kids LOVE Mikey Mouse Clubhouse & Little Einsteins... BUT I WILL NOT ALLOW Spongebob. I cannot believe some people watch that. it is horrible...

  2. We try to limit how many hours they watch telly. Lately though coz I've been working outta home I have let our 3 year old watch more than she ordinarily would & I laughed when you listed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at the top of your list, coz I use to buy my some time to get work done. Spongebob and Phineas & Ferb used to be favorites but they both since grown bored of Spongebob and cant remember the last time they ever watched him. So I totally agree with you.

  3. I totally agree with you. And you are spot on with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That brought a smile on my face when I read that, coz I know that's the one show that buys me some time. We try to limit how much time they spend watching telly, but lately I've been working from home & the days when our 3 year old isnt in preschool I've let her watch a little more than she ordinarily would have. They both (older one is 5) used to watch Spongebob and Phineas & Ferb but grew bored of Spongebob and I cant remember the last time I heard his annoying laugh in our household !

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  5. i try to limit them and as much as possible, we watch with them so that i will have knowledge if i will let them continue watching a certain show. not all cartoons are giving good messages=|


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