My love-hate relationship with the idiot-box

First things first, let me get something clear – when I say ‘my’ love-hate relationship with the idiot-box, I also mean Little Man’s relationship with the concerned item. He’s too little to blog about it himself; and well, I’m talking about how his relationship with the telly affects me (both positively and negatively) – hence ‘my’…

Disclaimer number two. I say idiot-box/ telly but I’m referring to technology in general. Phones (the smart kind only; even Little Man discards a phone that doesn’t ‘swipe’), tablets, anything else that will be the next big thing in years (months?) to come that visually and auditorily stimulates even a toddler.

And clarification number 3 – ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are probably too strong emotions to put to a television, but in this case I think they’re appropriate because of the significant impact the TV has on both Little Man’s and my life.

Which brings me to the point of this seemingly distorted post. Rewind to when Little Man was a newborn baby. Or further still to when he was still kicking away in my tummy. The days when mums-to-be/ new mums make resolutions about how they want or don’t want their baby/ toddler to turn out. I remember telling myself that I will not let my child see TV until he’s one year old. After that it will be controlled watching, probably half an hour in the morning and another half in the evening.

cartoon

Who was I kidding?! There are days now when he sees more TV in one day than I get to watch in a week! Agree it’s my fault and I don’t blame anyone else, but hello, I’m only human (though I agree with those who say mums are often superwomen!). There’s only so much I (or most mums) can do to entertain a toddler. ALL DAY LONG.

Breakfast is done, we’ve played cars and garage, done a bit of colouring, read a book, had races (Little Man on his Pirate Ship and I on his bus – yes I do fit on it), done five rounds of ‘Ringa ringa roses’, skyped with the grandparents… and it’s only 10.30. AM!  He wants more. I want a break. Now this is when I LOVE the telly… it allows me that much-needed break!
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I also LOVE it when I need to finish making lunch, get things done around the house, make an important phone call or just shower in peace. Another LOVE moment is when I need Little Man to get dressed for nursery as we had to be out the door 10 minutes ago. And I especially LOVE it when I want him to eat his lunch/dinner in a reasonable time-frame. (I know it’s a terrible habit but when push comes to shove, most exhausted mums will shove).

Blame it on today’s techno-savvy generation (still amazes me how a one-year-old can swipe a phone or tablet on but cannot read/ write/ talk as yet) or modern/ lazy parenting but IT WORKS. For me and millions of other mums out there. I’ve seen nine out of ten toddlers eat their meals in front of the telly, veggies et al. Clean plate. I see two kinds of mums at shopping malls – the first lot who are constantly running after or appeasing a whining/ bored toddler while vowing never to come shopping with a toddler again; and the second who have bags of shopping hanging on the buggies while their toddlers are peacefully and contentedly playing on mum’s phone/ I-pad. Bottomline – IT WORKS.

Do I feel guilty? Yes.. Because I know as a mother I can do more to keep my child entertained in other ways. I can play one more game. Read one more book. Take him to the park everyday. But I also know that I will burn out. And be too frazzled to enjoy the park and the games. And will never get anything done around the house. I know I need balance and fortunately or unfortunately, it’s the telly that restores this balance. So there, I’ve said it: that’s why I probably HATE the idiot-box but then the feeling subsides quicker than I expected!

As for Little Man, well, he LOVES it. Much more than I would like him to. He might even be addicted (the other night he sort of awoke at 4 am and I swear he said ‘TV, I want TV!!!). But what gives me some sort of consolation is the fact that he’s learning so much from what he sees on TV too. New words, new concepts, the actions to his favourite songs. Shapes, numbers, colours. He’s not just listening to the television, but interacting with it. Now that’s a good thing, right?

So while I know the idiot-box is not the best thing for a two-year-old, I have come to realise that it’s not the worst either. The battle I face now isn’t so much about whether the telly should be on or off; rather about for how long it should be on and when on, what Little Man is seeing. And absorbing. That ball’s still in my court and IT WORKS. I have now made peace with that long-standing piece of equipment that stands tall in the living room.

 

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17 Responses

  1. […] phone? An all-too-familiar scene for parents of toddlers. (Read my related post on the subject at https://talesfrommamaville.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/my-love-hate-relationship-with-the-idiot-box/). Then learn the magic mantra: Battery Over. More often than not, Little Man will not willingly […]

  2. I LOVED THIS! It is all so true, and I know for me there are many times where my little one watches a bit more TV then I would like, but some days I have so much I have to do. I feel awful, but she in no way is neglected, we do a lot of things together, as you do with your little guy. I am so glad I am not alone! Also, it really is crazy what these little humans can do with technology. Loved this!

    • Thanks so much. And so glad you could relate… guess all we mums experience the same things in different ways and situations.
      Don’t feel too bad, as long as you are spending quality time with your li’l one (which you are:)), technology gives them – and US – that little breather we need to go on. And they do pick up so much from there as well:)

      • I really can! I have talked to other moms, and they all need the much need break in the day, even to run to the bathroom! I am trying to feel less guilty for allowing her to watch TV, especially when I know I spend good quality time with her. I have to say “Peppa Pig” has been my saving grace recently 🙂

    • God Bless Peppa and Thomas and Postman Pat and the lot. What would we do without them😁

  3. I think the TV definitely has a time and place and so long as you are not looking to use it as a mindless babysitter for hours on end I definitely think it has its strengths. As with every thing in life…everything in moderation! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

  4. […] are trials, tribulations and everything in between. Confessions, moral dilemmas, strong emotions, letting go of some things and holding on ever-so-tight to others, that are a […]

  5. Amy @ Mum's The Law

    Our little one is just at the age where he’s taking more notice of the TV. He’s at nursery all day, so his evening wind down is the only time he currently gets to watch it, but he loves it and I don’t think I mind that too much. If it helps him keep his concentration one thing for longer periods, I’m all for it. I’ll wean him off it a bit later maybe… 🙂 #BestAndWorst

  6. I love this most, and I, in complete agreement. Sure we all want to be super mum and entertain and amuse our child by ourselves all day every day, but sometimes you just need that episode of Bing Bunny or that watch of Frozen for your own sanity. Like you it amazes me how a child that small can know what a phone is and how to work it. Sometimes I even find her tapping the tv when iplayer is open trying to play the episode she wants. It’s amazing. Again agree with the fact that as long as we control the times and the content much like a well balanced diet, it can be a beneficial thing, after all our children are growing up in age of technology. #bestandworst

    • Thank you for that much-needed reassurance! And my son also taps the TV trying to click the episode he wants! Adorably innocent, aren’t they?!:) Indeed, our kids are growing up in a super-digital age. Thanks for reading…

  7. carolcliffe

    We all have tools to use, and as long as we vary them (which you obviously do) I don’t see what’s wrong with it. You’re lucky, my eldest hardly paid any attention to the TV until he was past two years old! But to appease your guilt (not that you shaould have any, but we all do!) you could always try some educational DVDs – mine loved the ‘sing and sign’ baby sign DVD,and later the Muzzy foreign language ones (but we stuck with English for about a year first).

  8. carolcliffe

    We all have tools to use, and as long as we vary them (which you obviously do) I don’t see what’s wrong with it. You’re lucky, my eldest hardly paid any attention to the TV until he was past two years old! But to appease your guilt (not that you should have any, but we all do!) you could always try some educational DVDs – mine loved the ‘sing and sign’ baby sign DVD,and later the Muzzy foreign language ones. #BestandWorst

    • Yes, putting in educational stuff through a medium he enjoys is a good idea. Though might I add that he’s picked up so much (and still is) even from the usual cartoons. Language, new words, concepts.
      The other day he told me : Mummy, when there’s a fire, break the glass with a hammer (we were in the car). When I asked him who taught him that, he said Fireman Sam!!!

  9. We are all too hard on ourselves, we need something that can let us have a cuppa for a few minutes and catch up on jobs if this means the TV is on for an hour so be it, I certainly don’t beat myself up about it. Great post and thanks for linking up, hope you will stop by again #bestandworst

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