Oh, to TV or not to TV

Posted by  | Sunday, May 23, 2010  at 3:47 PM  
Hello everyone! Welcome to a new week! This week's topic is "Favorite TV Shows and DVDs" - and I'm pretty sure we mean for our kids, but I suppose we could add our own favorites as well!

Before I even delve into WHAT we watch on TV/DVD, I suppose I should cover WHEN/IF we watch TV/DVDs. After Samuel was born, we didn't consistently have a TV in our home until we moved to Chicago when he was 17 months old. We did get a little TV from the thrift store when we were in CA to watch football games, but it stayed in the closet during the week. Samuel didn't really see much TV until we got Comcast in Chicago. When he was 19 months old, Joel was born and I discovered the kids shows you could choose on the Comcast OnDemand. We had our TV for the 6 months we lived in that house. When we moved to our new house (Samuel 22 months, Joel 3 months) we had the TV out for a little bit, but then put it away. We have since had it out off and on in the two years we've lived here. All that to say that Samuel wasn't exposed to much TV for the first 2 years of his life. Joel has definitely seen more in his first 2 years than Samuel did. I will say that I am a No TV supporter - especially before the age of 2 and especially in the summer. But I also don't want to be a hypocrite and act like my children have never feasted their innocent eyes on a TV program! :)

Now that Samuel is 3.5 and Joel is 2, they watch maybe 30 minutes of TV 4-5 days a week (that's my best estimate). We watch a combination of TV programs with DVDs from the library. We have our TV out right now b/c the college student that lives with us likes to watch it, but it will go back in the closet once he moves out next month.

TV Shows We Like:

Word World. This is probably the boys favorite. It is cute and fun and the boys are entertained by it. It comes on at 5:00pm here in Chicago, so it can be a handy distraction if I need to do some hands-on dinner prep. It is 2 15-minute segments that are about building words. It's pretty cute and tolerable to me. :)

Dinosaur Train. We catch this one about once every other week. I think it is on about 9:30am and we're not usually home during this time. But I know the boys really like it, so if I notice it's 9:30 and we're not doing much I'll let them watch. It is about dinosaurs that ride a train to visit other dinosaurs from different periods. The boys like it because they are really into learning all the different kinds of dinosaurs.

Handy Manny. Same here - probably once every other week. Maybe less. It isn't too bad of a show. Just a guy fixing things. I couldn't tell you what time it's on, if that gives you any idea of how infrequently we watch it.

Those are the only shows my boys watch with any consistency. They have also seen Dora once (mind-numbing - I HATE that show), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (cute but on before they are awake), Martha Speaks (over their head), Arthur (on during naps), and Curious George (also a very cute show but usually on during naps. Joel has probably seen more of it than Sam b/c it is on at 3 and if he wakes up early from a nap I will let him watch this while I finish what I'm doing).

DVDs we watch:

My boys probably watch DVDs more than they watch TV. We have a portable DVD player that they watch their DVDs on. We own a few DVDs that they used to watch, but now we get all our DVDs from the library.

Leap Frog Letter Factory/Talking Words Factory (1&2)/Let's Go to School. OUR ALL TIME FAVORITE DVDs!! Both of my boys can sing their alphabet song and tell you the name and sound of each letter. Both could do this before the age of 2 and all from watching the Letter Factory video. It's a good length (35 minutes) and pretty cute. Here is Joel showing off for you (I took this video the week before his 2nd birthday - now that he is 2 and 2 months he can do them all without help):
The Talking Words videos (35 minutes, 30 minutes) teach how to sound out words. Here is Samuel at 3 sounding out and spelling words:

The Let's Go to School one is the least exciting of the bunch (in my opinion, but my boys really loved it). But it does manage to pack in the alphabet, counting, animal families, days of the week and more in 35 minutes.

We also get different Non-Fiction DVDs from our library's children's section. I think I wrote a week or two back about getting books from the library on topics Samuel is interested in. I'll also check the DVD section to see if there is anything of interest. We currently have in our house a DVD about the life cycle of the frog, a Spanish video about animals, and a phonics video.

That about sums up our TV/DVD viewing. What's on at your house?


Jenn said...

Leah, this is great! I have a 4.5-year old son, Sam, and an almost 2-year old daughter, Charlotte. Sam was never big into TV until he was about 2.5, and we didn't have cable, so we only watched PBS and some DVDs. Charlotte has seen lots more just by nature of her being younger and watching with Sam. But she's still at that age where she will play and wander around while the TV is on, where as Sam will get sucked in quickly.

We have been in a small apartment for 6 months, so I have been letting them watch TV more, especially when I'm getting dinner ready. I am looking forward to being in our house (with a yard) so they can have more room to play while I do chores. We will be weaning off the TV!

Our favorites are WordWorld and Super Why!, which helped Sam so much when he was learning his ABC's, and now when he's learning to sound out words. Sam also likes Martha Speaks and Sid the Science Kid. Sid does a great job of taking a topic (like the 5 senses) and incorporating it the whole week. Just last night Sam was explaining to his dad how non-standard measurement works.

We also like Curious George, Elmo, Caillou, Bob the Builder and Thomas. Caillou is great for teaching manners. I know it sounds like a lot of TV, but we don't watch all these shows every day. The kids probably do come close to 2 hours a day, spread out. We check out DVDs from the library (they each get a new Caillou and Elmo DVD each week) and those are afternoon treats if they've been good. Or if mommy needs everyone to just sit still and be quiet!

I am totally with you on Dora! I have recently let them watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse a few times because we are planning a Disney trip in the next year, and I realized they have no idea who Mickey is. But I try to stay away from Disney and Nickelodeon or any channel with commercials.

I do think we as parents need to be very careful with the TV. I have been convicted lately of how much the TV is like the enemies' idols the Israelites allowed to remain in the Promised Land, after God instructed them to wipe the place clean. Recently I turned the TV off and Sam threw the biggest tantrum, so we had a talk about why we should love each other more than the TV. I also told him I would carry the thing out to the dumpster if he ever carried on like that ever again! And I will!

I know I am carrying on too much, but just to finish, when Tim and I got married we had a TV in our bedroom and two others in the house. One of the best things we ever did was to get rid of all but one TV. I cringe when I think about the hours, or DAYS of my life that were wasted watching shows that added no value to my life, when I could have spent that time in the Word or serving others. Or cleaning my house for that matter!

Courtney said...

We just really started watching tv here. Zeke is 21 months and has become intersted in the last 3 months. We have a couple baby einsteins, a few little einsteins on the dvr, and the Go Fish Guys dvds. We only watch one thing a day. It is after nap because it helps Zeke transition from being a CRAB to being a sweet little boy again. Zeke's favorite is the Go Fish Guys, and I really don't mind it because it is all music so he is up dancing the whole time. Oh, I forgot, he also watches Sports Center with his dad every morning while he drinks his milk and wakes up. (can you tell I have a kiddo who doesn't wake up nice? haha)
We are pretty firm on tv time. We have only had one tv in our home since we have been married (we even were given a new tv and gave away our old one because we didn't want it in our bedroom). Spence and I do waste quite a bit of time watching tv, but I can't imagine the hours more we would spend watching tv if I was able to just lay in bed with it on.

Steph said...

The only shows my daughter watches (they're actually DVDs) are "signing time" by Racheal Coleman. There is a whole series of them and we check them out at our library. Our daughter is hearing impaired and these have been instrumental in teaching her (and my husband and I) the basics to sign language. She's 2 and already knows most of the ASL alphabet. While she's not talking in words, she knows 30-40 signs all because of signing time:)

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