Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object. ~Author Unknown
A young mom visits family and leaves her one-year-old with her aunt for a few minutes. She returns to find her child holding an iPhone. He has no idea what to do with it. When the mom asks what happened, her aunt replies that her grandchildren, both under two, love playing with her iPhone.
A family goes to dinner with friends, looking forward to spending time connecting with their boys, ages 4 and 7. The boys arrive with iPads and never look up.
No worries. Now we have BabyFirstTV, a dedicated TV network for 6-month-olds.
Let’s ignore the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.
Huh?! People, like real people?!
Ironic that we want our children to emulate Einstein when Einstein himself as a young child talked late and did poorly in school. This is best illustrated by Einstein’s own response to his discovery:
“When I ask myself how it happened that I in particular discovered the Relativity Theory, it seems to lie in the following circumstance. The normal adult never bothers his head of space-time problems. Everything there is to be thought about, in his opinion, has been done in early childhood. I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up. In consequence, I poked deeper into the problem than any ordinary child would.”
Are parents desperately trying to keep up with the stress of a demanding world and compensate by rushing their child’s development?
Dr. Sally Goldberg, author of Baby and Toddler Learning Fun, tells us that reading, singing, and talking to your child provide the best preparation for success in school. This is because the spoken language has an astonishing impact on a young child’s brain development. The number of words an infant hears each day is considered the single most important predicator of later intelligence, school success, and social competence. These words have to come from an active, engaged human being, not radio, TV, DVDs, or computers.
Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship with your child. Even worse, by relying on electronic media you’re sending a subliminal message to your child that the television is an approved teacher. Is that the message you really want to send?
Children get it; they like to be read to because of the closeness they feel with the reader. Even with the advances of high definition TV, it is still better for a toddler to walk with you as you talk about the leaves that crunch under your feet, or see a real spider weaving its web. Parents are the perfect educational toy. There is tremendous joy that comes with having children, but the joy comes from spending time with your children.
Teach them how to pay attention by paying attention to them. Think ahead to the future, and raise a person you would want to meet. You know, one that gives eye contact.
When you become a parent, you don’t get to phone it in.
Have a great week!