Before Gus was born, when I was an amazing parent, I had the rule many parents had that I did not want him to watch tv before 2. That clearly died. I watched the entire Gilmore Girls series during maternity leave, mainly with him on my lap/boob. We have football games on on Saturdays, hockey on during the Stanley Cup, and sometimes if something big is going on I try to sneak in the news. Things have always been this way – not a lot of tv on, not a lot of stuff for him, and not a lot of active tv watching.
As he has grown we’ve started to experiment more with tv. He has a show he loves, Big Block Sing Song, that consists of 2-3 minute music videos. He watches 3 or 4 at a time, maybe twice a week. (Mainly on the weekends when we don’t want to get up yet.) He LOVES to watch videos of himself but those are also usually under a minute long. He’ll get excited about sports being on but will only sit for a minute or so and then moves on. Same with cartoons. He’s intrigued but after a couple of minutes he is done. (One morning he got up super early and watched an entire half hour cartoon with Lesley but that happened once.)
I’m sure his lack of interest is related to lack of exposure. He doesn’t have tv at daycare. They only time they ever have tv on there is if kids wake up early and other kids are still sleeping. I think he’s fallen into that category twice. At home we don’t have it on much while he is awake. We get home from work around 5:30-5:45, make dinner, have dinner, and are in the bath around 7:15. There just isn’t time for tv. On the weekends we go do things – we as a whole aren’t home much.
I don’t really have concerns about Gus watching tv but I have noticed that it is now kind of strange that he doesn’t. I’m not sure when he will notice. His friends wear clothing with tv characters on them. His best buddy had an elmo birthday cake (He does know who elmo is because school has an elmo potty book and we got the same one for home but that’s about the extent of it. That book is the only thing he owns that has a tv/movie character.) I know that he doesn’t care/notice and I am sure at some point he will like tv and not be the odd man out but it’s kind of this weird thing: Am I doing my child some sort of disservice by not exposing him to these totally normal childhood things?
I don’t think tv is the devil. Heck, at this point it would be great to have him sit quietly by himself somewhere for a while. But it’s just not something my kid is into. Everyone I have talked to, everything I have seen, said kids get into tv by essentially being “trained”. They watch a few minutes, then a few minutes more, and then eventually they will sit and watch a show. I don’t know that I want to (or have a reason to) do that. I 100% understand that people do have reasons to. Single parents. Stay at home moms. Those situations are so different than mine and are situations where it is very much needed.
I’m not sure when he will ever be into it. I’m not sure if I am doing him a disservice. I don’t really think I am but at this point he is the only child we know who doesn’t watch tv (or I should say watches an extremely limited amount of tv). I wonder what will happen when he discovers this difference. Will he want to watch the things his friends watch? Will he not care at all?
At this point it is what it is. I might be the only parent in the world who has never seen Frozen. I don’t get a lot of the kid’s pop culture references in the mom world. No one will see pictures of Gus’ first trip to the movies anytime soon. We’ll continue to wade through this parenting thing wondering if we are doing our child a major disservice.