We need to see into the future

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!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

4 Responses to “We need to see into the future”

  1. Dr. Sally says:

    Here are three more thoughts about natural play and how valuable it is for young children.

    * Play is a child’s work, and toys are the tools. Playing with toys results in learning in all developmental areas–cognitive, physical, social-emotional, and language.

    * Toys are great for play, but please be reminded as mentioned in this post that the “parent is the best educational toy.” Not convinced? Go out and look for another toy that is better, more fun, and of a higher quality than grandma, grandpa, Aunt Jane, Uncle Pete, Cousin Carla, or that very special friend of your family Debbie.

    * The most formed toys have the least value, and the least formed ones have the most value. It is the least form that encourages the most play. Popular examples are balls, blocks, building sets, play-doh, pegs and pegboards, beads, dolls of all kinds, and sand & water.

    Keep an eye out these days for simple items like cards, paper, and plastic containers. Packaging these days is amazing! One great box may end up being the best toy of all.

  2. Wow! This is so true. Thank you for wording it so beautifully. As adults, we can be smarter at engagement by swiping ideas from the digital world; inspiration, navigation and information. Great post!

  3. Karen Van Cott says:

    Wonderful! And, so true.

  4. Rosemarie says:

    So true. You know I am concerned about the kids devotion to technology especially the kind that gives them the impression that they are “socializing” with their friends because they are all connected to the same online video game while talking to each other on their cell phones.

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