Saturday, 21 April 2012

How Much TV Is A Good Amount Of TV?!

I get asked this as a nursery nurse sometimes. My thoughts on the role of TV for children.

All in moderation...

The topic is huge, with vast opinion. I know some parents who say that TV is a godsend for keeping their little nipper entertained whilst they finish a chore or, steal five minutes peace. I also know parents who are very strict about times the TV can be on.

When I was pregnant I had ideas about the amount I wanted my children to see. But I am guilty of allowing my eldest to watch more than what I would like just so I can sit and feed my youngest. This way I knew he would be glued and would provide my youngest with a bit of peace to feed... Otherwise he would always want to see what his older brother was up to and not concentrate on the task at hand!

When I was studying Childcare and Education; we were not allowed to use TV as examples in our essays; though there are some fabulous ways to use TV. Let me use last week as an example...

We tend to watch the Cbeebies Chanel if the TV is on for the little ones. Mainly because it is geared towards their age and stage of development and the programming is very educational. They have a lot of positive imagery, including a character called Mr Tumble in "Something Special" who focuses on teaching children sign language. (Sign language should be learnt by all children so that it becomes accepted universally... but that is a rant for another time!)

Sorry... I drifted, back to point...

Last week we were planting carrots and peas in the garden. And then we linked that activity to watching Mr Blooms Nursery, in which the characters were looking at how plants grow and what they needed to do so. Following on from that, we also found a book about growing seeds called "Christopher Nibble" by Charlotte Middleton (which I will be reviewing next).
TV is also useful in sharing and discussing new experiences. As an example, we were talking about the dentist and my son became quite worried, so we watched a child going for their dental check up on the TV. It gave us the opportunity to talk through the experience and he seemed to relax about it.

So, adding my two pennies worth to the TV for children debate, I really feel it's how you use the TV as a resource that matters. TV should enhance a child's learning, not dominate it. Children should be out and experiencing the world as well as watching it on a screen.

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