I grew up watching tons of TV every single day. Later on, I realized that this was not the healthiest way to spend a childhood, so I rigorously monitored our children’s TV use.
Tigger didn’t watch any television until she was 2 (per the AAP recommendations). Somewhere between my third and fourth pregnancy, though, I discovered something wonderful: TV is seriously awesome for kids!
So these days, I don’t hesitate to use TV as a babysitter. In fact, it actually seems to be making me a better mom! Here’s how.
Image c/o: djedzura / deposit photos
Why I Use TV as a Babysitter
There are several reasons why I don’t mind using TV as a babysitter, but I’ll just stick to three:
- TV is a super educational supplement. Depending on the topic, sometimes the TV actually does a better job of teaching something than I do. The kids and I watched a six-minute video about ancient Egypt about a week ago and they remembered more from that than they did from a week-long lesson I did about it a while back. Sigh.
- The kids discover new interests. Kids have a way of wanting to discuss the exact same thing every single day for eternity, so it can be tough to get them to break out and try something new. Enter TV! When the kids and I watch a good kids’ program, they always learn about something they didn’t know before and that usually leads to a brand new unit study topic they’d never have found before.
- I need a break. For real, sometimes I just turn on the TV and go into emergency shut-down mode. The kids get to watch a show or two and I get some much needed quiet time.
How I Choose Good Television Programs
The key to making this work, though, is choosing excellent children’s television programs. Generally, I watch a few episodes of a new program with the kids to get a feel for it. As I watch, I consider three things:
- Is it kid-friendly?
- Is it educational?
- Does it make the kids want to learn?
If the answer to all three is yes, then it’s a keeper.
One of my kids’ all-time favorite shows is Wild Kratts. They are seriously fanatics of that show. They get so excited as they learn about animals, plus they love Chris and Martin’s hijinks, so it’s a win-win. These are the kinds of kids’ shows that make excellent babysitters.
So, yes, I use TV as a babysitter and (with supervision) it’s doing an awesome job with my kids! How about you? Do you use TV to “babysit” your children? What are your favorite kids’ shows? Share your tips in the comments!
For more parenting tips, check out my Parenting with Joy Pinterest Board!
And if your homeschooling motivation is somewhat…lacking these days, reinvigorate your mojo with this wonderful homeschooling ebook!