TV & Kids: Radio show & book recommendation

I just finished listening to a Charlottesville Podcasting Network audio of Coy Barefoot interviewing Lisa Guernsey, author of Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age 5… really interesting. My husband is at home this morning with our daughter, and he thought from something I said that I was intimating that he not let her watch any TV today… I was not… but it brought up the issue of where we are in regards to how much and how often we’ll let her view media.

The interesting point I heard in this interview was that we often focus on limiting exposure time-wise, but Guernsey suggests we should, as parents, think more about:

– Content – make sure there is a straightforward storyline and some participation; young children can’t follow flashbacks and dream sequences, and too much complication can overwhelm their ability to filter and process language

– Context – is TV viewing a big part of the day? incidental? Apparently, the most harmful TV (and radio, even) exposure is when it’s left on as background noise – it affects how children play – and again, especially when very young, they don’t have the ability to filter media easily – their hearing isn’t even fully developed – putting the TV in focus and providing some commentary is better – letting the radio blast not helpful – so much for my thought that the BBC on in the car would somehow seep into J’s brain and make her witty!

– Child – the individual – always consider the needs to your particular kid.

I had to laugh because apparently the one show my husband really hates, Dora, does well in terms of its straight-up storytelling – very explicit point A to point B narrative – drives him nuts, but apparently that’s the right kind of show for a toddler.

Sigh. I’m glad I’m not the parent who put her kid in front of four hours daily of Baby Einstein – but I do worry that the fact I can get my child to eat more when she’s entranced with Blue’s Clues reveals major flaws in my personal character…


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