31 Days: TV is OK

I remember the first time Amelia watched a television show. It was Sesame Street. And she sat for the whole thing. You guys, I showered and got dressed and did my hair! It was amazing. She was pretty young still so I only let this happen every few days. Then we discovered Dora the Explorer. Oh Dora. I have a love-hate relationship with Dora. I liked that these shows were 25 minutes long as opposed to the 45 minute Sesame Street. So Amelia was able to watch one Dora a day.

As she has gotten older, we have experienced a whole array of events that have ended in Amelia getting screen time. TV and handheld devices alike. And guess what? I'm guilt free. If you let your kids watch TV, that's awesome. If you don't, that's great. If your kiddo can work your iDevice better than you, that's hilarious. And ok

For a long time, I felt like I was doing something wrong by letting Amelia watch TV. Eventually when she started playing games on my phone, I felt guilty about that, too. The thing is that every home is different. Each mom has her own limits based on what works for her family. We have actually come to enjoy the screen time Amelia gets for a number of reasons.

snuggles with daddy // christmas 2012

When I was pregnant with Elsie, I was really sick for the first 16 weeks. There were days that I couldn't get out of bed. So Amelia and I would snuggle in together, watching Dora on my phone. Later that year, Amelia came down with several colds and Hand Foot and Mouth. We were housebound for a solid week during that time with a toddler that was tired and sick. So Micky Mouse Clubhouse cheered us up! More recently, there are some days that I just need a break. Sometimes when life happens and days get crazy, we just sit together and enjoy a silly show. 

Another reason we're ok with Amelia watching TV or playing on our phones is because she learns! She can count to ten and say five different colors in Spanish. Her vocabulary is hilarious as she experiments with words that characters such as Doc McStuffins will use in their show. The imagination on this kid is amazing. She will tell us the most elaborate stories, based off some of her favorite shows. Along with learning from her shows I have several educational apps that she has enjoyed. I will list those at the bottom of this post, in case you're curious. We always make a point to talk about the shows with Amelia. We find this helps keep it from being a mindless brainwash. Same with the games. I really do try to sit with her while she plays.

a laundry basket bed.
the only way to watch a movie. // 18 month old Amelia

One of the newer shows we've started watching is Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. If you haven't seen this, it's adorable. The show is a tribute to the late Mr. Rogers. They talk about basic social skills like sharing and dealing with emotions, like anger or disappointment. The songs are so fun and easy to learn! I find shows like this to be great little tools for applying what Amelia is learning on any given day. 

People claim that you're doing your child a disservice by allowing television and electronics into their daily life. Like anything in life, it's all about balance. We are intentional about how much Amelia engages in screen time each day. Of course, there is too much on some days. But that's life. I'm not going to beat myself up about it and you shouldn't either! I will do what works best for us. Period. 

Amelia's Favorite Apps: 
a screenshot of Amela's tracing
handiwork in the Letter Quiz app
Bob Books #1 ~ Amelia hears her letters and learnsabout letter order in words. She can sound some words out here and there. She will also spell out any word for you these days.
LunchBox ~ This is mainly for fun. But it has basic colors and counting. There's also little puzzles to put together. 
AlphaTots ~ Amelia loves the silly mini-games that help her learn about each letter of the alphabet. One of the games for instance is "stacking" rings largest to smallest. 
Gappy's First Words ~ Well, I accidentally bought this app not realizing it was rated for ages 4+. But Amelia loves it. The game is filled with three letter words that you have to spell in different levels. Your child will hear letters and their sounds as well as sounding out words after they have spelled them correctly. It also has a cute feature where they get a piece to a house with every level they complete. Then they can decorate Gappy's house (Gappy is bunny)! 
Letter Quiz & Number Quiz ~ These two apps are for learning letters and numbers. There are four mini-games within these apps. Amelia primarily uses them for the tracing function. 
Endless Alphabet ~ We just recently got this app and it is so stinkin' funny! It has really big words that the kids have to spell out, matching the mis-arranged letters to the word. They hear the letter sounds, too. Once the word is spelled, they see a silly animation and hear a definition of the word. 

What is your child's favorite TV show? Do you have any guilt associated with letting your child have screen time? Where do you think this comes from? Do you let your kiddos play with your phone or tablets?

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