Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Screen Time

This is a longer video, about 15 minutes, but it's a fascinating look at the effects of screen time in young children.

If you've spent any amount of time with me, you might know that we don't watch TV with Cole.  It's not on when he's awake, ever.  It's just not something we do. 

Even before we had Cole and I started researching the effects of TV on children, I always had some thoughts as a teacher about how television affects children's ability to learn.  Seeing more and more kids diagnosed with ADD and ADHD had something to do with it.  I also noticed how much harder teachers were having to work to keep even "normal" kids' attention - we as teachers simply cannot compare to how exciting and entertaining electronic media is.

So Cole has never watched any amount of TV.  And you know what?  I don't notice it a bit.  I never have any desire to turn on a show or a movie for him.  I don't feel as though he's missing out on anything by not watching a Disney movie.  He's bright, creative, and learns quickly.  He builds with blocks, reads books, plays outside.  His attention span for independent play is phenomenal, but if I do need a break to do some chores, I ask him to read some books independently and then when I'm finished, I'll read them to him. 

Is TV watching the worst thing in the world?  Of course not.  I know plenty of kids who watch it and are perfectly fine.  But there are so many other things I'd rather Cole do that are healthier and better for his developing brain. 

Has it always been easy?  Nope nope nope.  There have been times I've wanted nothing more than to plop him down so I can finish my book or do some sewing...or take a nap. But the amazing thing about sticking to my guns for three years is that now I'm seeing the results of our non-TV "experiment":  I have never met a three year old who can read (ten words so far); who knows all letters, capital and lowercase, and all sounds; who can count to twenty; who can read independently for an hour and half or more; who is persistent and focused when playing for hours on end; and who is extraordinarily well behaved.  All those hours that other kids watch TV?  My kid is reading and playing and running. 

I have absolutely no judgment for how others parent their children...but this is working for us, so I feel compelled to share some of our reasons why we do things the way we do.

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