I have a confession to make: Little Boy’s been watching more TV. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George have permanently joined Sesame Street (still his favorite) in rotation, with an occasional smattering of Mighty Machines and Reading Rainbow. There are two main drivers of this increased screen time.
The first reason is that Little Boy has been sick a lot. And I mean A Lot. Just this week, for example: he came down with pink eye on Tuesday and is running a fever today. Books and friends warned us that the first year of daycare would be bad, but we didn’t realize just quite how much illness it would involve. I’ve been hoping that it would taper off as cold and flu season ended, but no such luck yet.
Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, the rules get relaxed when people are sick. When Little Boy is uncomfortable and cranky, you can bet that we’re going to try to distract him from that discomfort however we can. We also read, and go for walks, and snuggle, but yeah, TV is a big part of sick time. After all, what do I do when I’m sick? I lay on the couch and entertain myself with screens of the TV or tablet variety.
The second reason for the additional TV is that Little Boy has grown to be highly mobile and curious. He’s also becoming increasingly social and, I think, gets frankly rather bored stuck at home with his mom and dad. This combination means that he can get into lots of mischief. Now, that normally isn’t too big of an issue, since we offer plenty of supervision, but sometimes as a parent you have to get things done that require your attention, and that’s where TV can help.
Do I feel guilty about this? Of course. I’ll always feel guilty about something. But Little Boy has made recent leaps in verbal development, and he loves to read books and stack blocks and chase bubbles. Television isn’t stunting him in some kind of terrible way. In the end, I suspect it’s like most things: use thoughtfully and in moderation.