Too Much TV, Not Enough Fresh Air
By Jasmine Wood
As we celebrate the arrival of spring (finally), I cannot help but reflect on this past winter.
It was a hard core winter, the type folks remember from when they were a child. It’s true; I’ve said it myself about this winter: “I haven’t seen a winter like this since I was a kid!”
Rita’s first two winters were very mild, allowing us easy outdoor access for most of the winter. Not this winter though, this year sometimes 2 or 3 days would pass without us getting any real outdoor time in! Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed the effects it has had on my family.
Too much TV, not enough fresh air…
We get irritated more quickly, our attention spans have shortened and we are all sick of indoor activities, we are continually seeking inspiration no longer found in doors! When Rita was first born she did not watch TV, it seemed obvious to us there was no need for a newborn to be placed in front of the tube. The same went for her whole first year. Then the winter of her second year hit.
Like me, Rita has always been an early riser.
In the winter of ‘12/’13, at 1 ½ years old, Rita began rising regularly at 4:30 am! This meant that there were around 3 hours of darkness to power through before the “day” actually began with the rising of the sun. Rita would rise ready and raring to go, Papa and I on the other hand were always in rough shape, and the pattern began!
We started putting a nature documentary on the lap top for Rita to watch until we were more awake.
This became the morning routine until the trend was broken by springtime! Rita and I began to start each day reading books together outside in the early hours of the morning (quite the pleasant way to start a day).
But then, this winter hit! Now, 2 ½ years old Rita really latched onto “toddler television” Dora, Curious George, Care Bears, etc, the kind of television programming geared toward driving parents mad and hooking kids instantly.
Soon she was requesting to watch TV!
At this point, I began to worry a bit, thinking she was watching too much of it. I did not want my daughters indoor activity preference to become watching TV! Over the last couple weeks I have noticed some behavioral patterns that I attribute to Rita’s TV viewing.
What really scares me about these patterns is that I noticed TV was affecting her behavior not only while she was watching it, but long after her viewing sessions ended! Her attention span became shortened and she was “blocking me out” more.
This “blocking out” technique is something she does quite often when she is in front of the TV.
My questions go unanswered; our little chatterbox goes into “zombie mode” after too much TV time (much like a grown up male does when watching TV, my dad always referred to this as selective hearing).
I prefer my little “Nature girl” to a “Tube Zombie” any day! I can only hope that spring time will break our trend towards too much TV time again this season. I love the free-spirited nature of my daughter, and already at only 2 ½ I can see how TV can alter the way she behaves!
I think this is more a lesson in being mindful of cause and effect than to really freak out and kill my TV (and computer).
It is important for us as parents to take note of how our children are spending their time and how their daily activities impact behavior!
I say: “Hit the off button, close the lab top and hit the backyard!” Time outside in the country does everybody good!
Till Next Time! Be Well! See you at the playground!