Yes, I have a confession as a stay-at-home mom and researcher of education: some of the happiest moments of my day are watching The Wonder Pets.
My most productive thoughts as a writer and thinker often arise when an odd trio of a duckling, turtle and guinea pig is saving baby animals from actually not-so-dangerous situations. My son is not a passive viewer of television — he only wants to sit on my lap and sing the songs with me — but while I’m thinking about conceptual frameworks in educational theory, he’s happily laughing at the weird little duck Ming Ming tell us once again, “This is serious!”
My son also has discriminating tastes in television programs. So far he just shows a passing interest in Yo Gabba Gabba and only likes Sesame Street for the Elmo songs.
But I often feel guilty about our mutual daily love of the Wonder Pets. From my baby and parenting books, I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics states that television provides no educational benefit for infants and toddlers. In fact, experts advise that kids this young limit screen time of any sort as much as possible because screen time takes away from learning social skills and play. Excessive television watching in kids is blamed for everything from the obesity epidemic to hyperactivity to sleep disorders.
But when your toddler is teething and having a tantrum for the 20th time in an hour, it’s hard to have rational discussion with yourself about your potential parenting overreliance on media when you know your iPhone will distract him for three minutes.
A new study states that almost half of kids are getting more than two hours of screen time per day. It would be easy for me to be judgmental — my kid doesn’t watch THAT much TV! However, I only have one kid and I don’t yet have to worry about dressing myself for work while also making breakfast for my family and getting other kids out the door for school.
How do you know when your young kid is getting too much screen time?