Screen Time

With the end of daylight savings time…

Now that the sun is setting an hour earlier and kids are moving indoors more with the cooler weather, the question arises as to how best to use that time in the house. We are reminded of a story in the paper several years ago, about some parents who sued the Disney Company because there was no evidence that watching “Baby Einstein” videos had made their children any smarter.  The letters to the editor in the Times a few days after the story appeared were interesting. We’d like to quote from two of them:

Baby Einstein is delivered via the nonresponsive television screen, providing canned information that includes abstract concepts, useless to the new minds it purports to “teach.” 

The videos don’t address the beautiful evolved, forming brains of babies, who should learn from the real, three-dimensional world.

From the arms and laps of their parents, grandparents and caregivers, from their strollers, as they crawl and toddle, babies should take in the sights, sounds and smells of their natural surroundings.

They should be sung to, spoken to and read to, with warmth and loving eye contact.

They need opportunities to explore and discover stimuli around them in the richness of the beautiful world that delighted and posed ineffable mysteries to Albert Einstein and other great minds through the centuries.

And another: 

Finally the voice of infants is heard-turn off the screens and talk to me.  Babies learn language in the context of playing, reading and talking with real people in real time.

Who knew?

Actually, we all did.

With the report that young children are watching more television than ever before it’s important to keep in mind that young children entering our school are primarily sense explorers. With all the things parents have to juggle in their daily routines sometimes putting the kids in front of the TV is the best option at a given period of time. Just remember, for the child, the less exposure to TV the better for their development. And when it isn’t necessary, turning it off is a good thing… 

PBS Newshour had a good piece on dealing with the increasing amounts of time kids are spending in front of screens of various sorts. Check it out here. 

- Shelly Thompson, Director

P.S. The Parent Association will be discussing Technology and the Montessori Child this week as part of their Montessori Enrichment program for parents. Check the school calendar for meeting details.