Monday, March 12, 2007

TV or no TV?

One tends to raise one’s first born with a lot of idealism. Strangely enough, you make the most mistakes with your first-born. Before sonny was born, I had read up a lot of books, scanned the internet for issues, problems that new parents face and the solutions that “experts” offered. For all that reading, my 21 month old still co-sleeps with us and cant self-feed.

One issue that most groups are very vocal about is TV watching. The American Pediatric Associations recommends no TV before age 2 and thereafter only for 15 mins at a time, not more than 2-3 times daily. We’d met a couple who very proudly told us that their son (who was about 15 months then) had no attraction for the TV. Their secret? In the first 12-15 months or so – they didn’t watch any TV in his presence. So now, when the TV was turned on, he found nothing interesting about it. As a brand new mother – I was most impressed and I vowed that we would watch no TV with sonny around – because we didn’t want a TV addict. For some months it worked fine.

Once my in-laws left us, the technicalities of this working left us floundering. Besides winter was upon us – and who the hell wanted to go out when it was minus 20C. So it began with an odd episode of Friends here and there. And slowly it grew.

Once sonny turned about 1 year old – we started getting Zee TV. I cant tell you how much I was pleased to hear programming in Hindi. So all TV watching guidelines went flying out of the window. Sonny too enjoyed some ads and would come running out to watch them. I found sonny too had likes, dislikes about certain songs, title tracks, etc. But no major love for the TV yet.

Friends and relatives told me of how – just to get a break – they would sometimes turn on a favorite cartoon show for the kids. Of how the kids remained glued to the show, till it was turned off. And I thought – hey that’s not a bad idea – a show here or there – just “so I get a break” cant hurt, can it? So a few evenings, I would turn on PBS and sit and watch Clifford with sonny – explaining things to him in Hindi (since the show was in English). But within a few minutes, he would run off, leaving me watching the TV alone.

I even lamented to a few friends about it. We were pretty sure that once we got to India, sonny would get hooked onto the TV – plethora of Hindi programming, plethora of channels with the latest songs, something was bound to connect with sonny. But what do you know, he still doesn’t give it more than a cursory look and then runs off outside. Except for maybe a song here or there (and Don tops the list) nothing on TV can hold his attention more than a minute.

And as I write this, I am wondering – what the hell is wrong with me? I didn’t want sonny to get the TV habit and I did everything about it for 1 year to make sure TV stayed off his list of fav things. And now here I am wondering – why cant he sit still to watch any cartoon? Any one got any ideas to keep an active 21 month old busy for a while, while mommy checks out her blog-pals?



At 10:27 AM, Blogger Orchid said...

Oh you are fine....that's my biggest folly as a mom..let A watch too much t.v. and he still does :(
try giving him water and some cups to play love water, that would always keep A occupied for hours..transferring water form one cup to another :), ofcourse you gotta be prepared for the mess.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

I have been pretty strict with the tv viewing too,but as you said the winter ruined my plans:)I ended up letting her watch a few times with me but I have noticed that usually the kids at this age are not that interested in TV,she does get attracted more if there is some music or songs but if its just conversations or stuff she just doesn't bother and goes around doing her stuff.She can play with herself now and if I get her some blocks and some utensils from kitchen she is happy and leaves me for some moments alone provided I am in the same room.Perhaps you should get him some interactive toys which can keep him interested till you check on the blogs:)

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous OrangeJammies said...

I'm actually doing a TV-viewing workshop for my preschooler's parents.. wish you could attend! :0)
And hey... enjoy Zee.. I was glued to it too, while in the U.S.! ;0)

At 1:13 AM, Blogger Rohini said...

You should really be happy! Ayaan will happily sit in front of the Tv, given half a chance but since I am not home all day, I don't feel tempted to make him sit in front of the TV. Some of the things that keep him entertained for 10 minutes or more:
- Crayons and paper
- Keys (he goes around trying to open every door in sight)
- A shoebox with many small items in it - keep changing this around - could have even household items like spoons, bottle caps, clothes pegs, etc.
- Helping me with the laundry
- Helping the maid shell peas

At 1:39 AM, Blogger Vidya said...

That's true. We are TV-less, since my son, even as a 10-month-old kid, would bang on the TV(we were scared it would break) or switch it off.So now we have no TV.for the past 2 years.
Even when we go to my parents house, to catch up a movie, my son plays with his tri-cycle or meddles here and there. Then once his playing is done, he switches of the TV with a grinning 'enuff for today,OK?'. I am like, 'why don't U watch for sometime' ....
But my 10-month-old daughter likes to watch TV..(thankfully, one is a bit peaceful)...and I am not actively preventing her. I am sure she will lose interst soon,neway

At 5:17 AM, Blogger The Mad Momma said...

oooh.. thats what happened to me too. we banned the tv and now he doesnt care even when we do switch it on.

the key thing always works... the brat runs around trying them on every lock in the house. also i have cleaned off my dressing table and left a cane backet with plastic combs and clips and this gives him the feeling that its forbidden so he enjoys it obviously... the cups and water things work well with thim too... i tried crayons and pens and paper but he goes off the paper on to the floor or carpet and i need to keep an eye to ensure he doesnt get to the walls so i dont do it anymore... all the best!!!

At 2:54 AM, Blogger iz said...

I'm going to save ll these comments for when i have a kid. It's almost like having you all on speed dial giving me advice!

At 3:08 AM, Blogger itchingtowrite said...

hey my kids love the tv . they even cry when I change channels. they like songs, ads and it is v easy to shove food into their mouths when they are looking at the ads. btw, u r artnavy's friend right? i am her ex-colleague. I had attended the pond's workshop in 2001 in mumbai. do u remember???

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Usha said...

I couldn't participate very meaningfully in this because I belong to an earlier gen of mothers and ya, my son only watched sports programs from the time he was 2 and still does - (that is his job now!He is a sports journalist.)
But I have seen my neices and they ignored TV as kids when their mothers watched serials but later when they started going to school and heard other kids talk about cartoon shows, got hooked to it.Now they control the remote in the house! Now t

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Moppet's Mom said...

I had the same grand ideas about no TV watching for Moppet - but it hasn't really worked out. I do watch some TV during the day, although the bulk of my TV watching remains after she goes to bed. I don't know if it will change as she grows up, but at 11 months, Moppet isn't all that interested in the TV (she's usually far more interested in the remote! :-) An occasional ad, or interesting music will catch her attention for about half a minute and then she's off doing her own thing again.

At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Twisted DNA said...

I am glad to hear that your son doens't want to watch TV. I strongly believe that getting the information from the real world through touch, sound and interaction is far better than getting the information pushed at by the TV.

We have a 2 year old. There is a strict ban on TV at home. TV will not be on while the kid is awake. Fortunately, we have a nanny and don't send the kid to day care. And our nanny is very cooperative.

But the interesting thing is, if our kid sees a TV on at a store or something, he watches it with wide-eyed amazement! So if we start TV for him, which we don't want to do any time soon, I am sure he will be hooked on in no time.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Something to Say said...

orchid: will try anything :)

fuzzy: o he does have interactive toys. I've forgotten to get his crayons tho - will try giving him crayons so he stays busy.

OJ: TV viewing workshop - sounds like fun - wish i cud attend - am not in Mumbai at the moment :( missing home :(

rohini: have forgotten to get his crayons - will buy some soon. and the shoe box sounds like a good idea. will try that too thanks!

vidya: welcome here! So your son is monitoring your TV viewing now ;) LOL how times have changed ;)

MM: Thanks! will have to try all these tricks soon :)

iz: :)

At 4:01 PM, Blogger That Armchair Philosopher said...

All I almost suggested has already been said.

But, I remember being perfectly happy with putty-clay, blocks, action figures and dinkie cars =)

There's something about that clay though - I should get some google goo soon.


At 11:09 PM, Blogger Me too said...

There was a time when I wished my daughter would sit infront of the idiot box and let me enjoy some 'me time'!! Now look at the situation!!

At 3:49 AM, Blogger karmickids said...

Oh lord, nothing works when you want them to sit still even the most violent cartoon show...the only solution I have found is to get to MTV...he loves the songs and sings along. Can you believe it???


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