To TV, or not to TV: that is the question. Forgive my awful modern attempt at Shakespeare, but in this day and age similar questions are at the forefront of every parents mind. However, To iPad, or not to iPad didn’t quite have the same ring to it. One of the many great modern day debates of parents – how much time is too much time when it comes to your kids using technology in a world where tech is quite literally everywhere you look?
Let’s firstly look at the key development stages of a baby/toddler in very unscientific terms:
- Ball of squidge that can’t move without your help, cries, feeds and sleeps (occasionally),
- All of the above, plus sitting up and improving motor skills i.e smashing food into their own face,
- Learns to walk, becomes interested in everything they should and shouldn’t be, and doesn’t want to sit still for anything other than food, and even then that can be a struggle.
Stage 3 is where we are at right now. Everything is appealing; the shiny chrome plug sockets are treasure, the silver bin lid must be touched, and the words ‘no’ or ‘don’t do that’ have the opposite effect and bring out a cheeky grin only for Ivy to continue doing what she’s not supposed to be doing.
Before I became a dad there were lots of unknowns, but one thing I was sure of was Ivy would grow up in a house where her parents don’t pay more attention to a phone or the TV than we do to her. Seems like an easy and obvious decision, but these days we are so absorbed by technology that it’s easily done, and I didn’t want her to think having your head buried in an iPhone/iPad/laptop is the norm.
Where is she?!
When you get to the magical age of a mobile child, you have to master the art of distraction “oooo, what’s this”, “do you want to hold this?!” or the classic “woah, look over here”. They work sometimes, not always, but it’s a good start. The difference these days as opposed to 8 months ago, is when we want to make some lunch, eat our dinner, basically do anything with two hands we can’t just pop Ivy down. Nowadays it’s eyes in the back of the head, and head on a swivel living.
I blame Peppa
Like the many millions of poor parents out there, we fell victim to Peppa Pig in our house well over 4 months ago, first it was the invasion of the plush toys, then the talking books and eventually we “had” to cave in and pop it on the TV. Referring back to my point earlier, this really did go against what I wanted. It’s hypocritical because I’m absorbed by social media and tech everyday – hence why I don’t want Ivy to be, but we also don’t live in the Victorian age so her interest in the bright pictures on the telly were bound to happen. I thought to myself why fight the inevitable, especially when you can buy yourself 10 wonderful minutes of peace when ‘hurricane strop’ is brewing.
To TV or not to TV?
TV in our house is not the answer to everything and we don’t rely on it for entertainment; colouring in, a trip to the park or the latest favourite playing shopping, will always take precedence. But we’ve learnt that the occasional Teletubbies, In the Night Garden (how creepy is that programme?) and Paw Patrol can give us the 5 minutes we need to get the mundane jobs in the house done, or an opportunity to actually enjoy a meal. We don’t really get more than 5 minutes, as Ivy’s attention span won’t allow it. So no harm done, the one thing that can’t be undone though is the theme tunes, phrases and songs being ingrained in my brain… does “baby shark… do, do, do, do” ring a bell?!
So as a new parent, my thoughts of our daughter turning into a squared eyed TV addict were nothing more than new parent worries and actually for 5 minutes peace, Peppa, Iggle Piggle and the other creepy characters from In the Night Garden can occupy our living room. But I am determined not to let Ivy become an iPad zombie!