There is that time in the early evening when, as a parent, you just want thirty minutes. Thirty minutes to get dinner together, thirty minutes to answer some emails, or thirty minutes of peace and quiet. However, the second you turn on the television for your children, you are overcome with “mom guilt”. We live in a screen filled world, but yet we feel insecure about letting our children watch TV. As a pediatrician, I have always preached moderation and balance. It is important that if we are going to give our children an iPad or let them watch a television program that we know exactly what they are watching and how often. This is why I am ok with my preschooler watching TV.
Alison and I had the incredible honor of meeting Angela Santomero, the creator of Daniel Tiger, Blue’s Clues, and Super Why (to name just a few of her incredible creations), to discuss Angela’s new book coming out in April, Preschool Clues. In the short period of time that we had with Angela, we learned so much about the different techniques and research that go into creating these educationally based preschool TV programs. Angela is passionate about changing the discourse surrounding screen time to one that loses the shame and guilt and instead recognizes what a powerful tool high-quality programs for children can be both for the young viewers and their caregivers.
Angela made a brilliant analogy between TV programs and snacks. An after-school snack can be filled with nutrition and fuel, or sugar and preservatives. Educating yourself on what your child is watching is just as important as reading the ingredients of the foods we are feeding our family. Preschool Clues is a must-have guide for parents, families, friends, and educators, helping them to make smart, informed choices about children’s media and to understand how high-quality preschool programming powerfully resonates with, entertains, and teaches young viewers important social, emotional, and cognitive skills.
A few truths about kids and media:
- Media can be an incredibly positive and powerful educational tool for preschoolers.
- A preschooler’s favorite shows are in reality some of their best friends and most influential teachers.
- Kid’s media can be a bonding experience that brings families together – to laugh, bond and learn.
- And most important, we can all lose the guilt.
The preschool years are some of the most critical for brain development. While preschoolers are different from one another in how they grow and develop and individual learning styles, there are a number of aspects of child development that are universally the same. Angela has defined a set of development-based universal truths that are common to every preschooler. Through these commonalities, she has developed a universal language to engage, inspire and connect with children during this critical growth phase.
Universal truths of preschoolers:
- All preschoolers play to figure out their world.
- All preschoolers need time to pause.
- All preschoolers like to repeat.
- All preschoolers imitate their parents as the “stars” of their show.
- All preschoolers, universally, want to help – they are innately empathetic, and we can strengthen their empathy muscles through everyday activities.
There are definite benefits for preschoolers watching TV in moderation. Meeting Angela was such an incredible and enlightening experience! It was so motivating to see a mom reaching out to parents and empowering them with knowledge! It gave us a sense of ease knowing that such an incredible woman and mom is creating the characters that have become a part of my preschooler’s TV family! Please consider Angela’s Preschool Clues to find the right TV shows for your children, and enjoy a guilt free thirty minutes of me time!