Even before I started taking care of you, I was given the house rules. Number one was “No tv.” Lots has been written about this subject with the major belief that a child does not learn from a television and actually ends up with language and motor delays if too much time is spent simply sitting and watching a screen.
So, when you were teeny tiny, we filled the quiet space with music. You and I listened to Pandora’s Kid Radio every day. Do you know that they play the same songs over and over and over again? My favorite was “You Are My Sunshine.” Your favorite was “Rockin’ Robin”. I think you liked that one because Grandma would dance all around acting silly with that song. It wasn’t long though and you were bouncing a little too.
Who Needs TV When You Have Music? Since you started crawling, the music has moved to little push button toys. You and I would go for walks and find ourselves at Walgreens, often. What can I say? I’m a sucker for teachable toys. That means that you have more than one of those little push button musical toys. Now, from those, I think your favorite song is “If You’re Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands”. You used to clap your hands and stomp your feet along with the song. Now, you just bounce up and down to the song while you play with other toys. The best of these toys was one that’s like a baby CD player. It has 4 different discs so I don’t have to listen to the same songs over and over again. That’s a bonus.
Then There Are All Those Books And Building Language! The other thing we do together, several times during the days, is read books. Some days the number tops 25. Well, they’re short books you know. I love this time together, though, because you sit on my lap. You sit there engrossed with the pictures, pointing to the things you want me to name. You even started making some of the animal sounds. Animal Alarm is one example of your cute attempts. Early on, I could read “Are You My Mother?” everyday and you would sit and smile at specific pages every time. Then you fell in love with a Thomas the Tank Engine I Can Read books because it had push button sounds along the side. Now, at a year, your favorite day after day book is an Elmo’s Favorite Places book that has little doors that you can open. Each page is based on a different theme: farm, sea, bedroom, and the alphabet. It’s fun to see if you can find specific things on each page, time after time. It’s easy to see that your receptive language is growing and growing but so far the only “word” you say is dada. You do, however, also know the signs for “more”, “all done”, and “drink” and you shake your head “yes” and “no” with meaning.
And Motor Skills! Such simple things entertain you. Crawling lead you to the steps leading to the upstairs bedrooms. Ok, mom and dad could have put up a gate to keep you safe or we could all work at teaching you how to do steps. I’m not so busy. Let’s do it! Up and down the steps with me right behind. In the beginning I felt like I could see your brain working as you tried to figure out whether to slide down from step to step on your butt or to turn around and slide down on your belly. Now, you make a game out of doing a little of both. You come down those steps faster than me and even though you might be able to do it all by yourself, I stay very close.
When you’re not by the steps, you are playing with the same toys day after day. I keep them new and interesting by pre-sorting them into baskets: all musical toys in one, balls in another, containers with lids in another, and things that can be used to build (or knock down) towers in the last one. You love dumping everything out, tossing it around, and examining each thing like it’s new all over again. What I have seen so far is that you do different things with the items week after week. I spend my time picking things up behind you and keeping it continuously interesting to pull things out again.
Add Eating and Napping and We’ve Filled An Indoor Day Without Screen Time
Although you love pushing buttons and have turned the tv on by pushing those little things on the remote, you do not watch television. We do, however, watch one or two 3 minute videos on Youtube called “Barefoot Books“. They are cute short stories with a small amount of animation and the words scrolling along the bottom of the screen. At 11 months, I added an app called Parker and Pixel. This is, again, a book but it allows the child to interact with the story so that the sequence of events changes every time you watch it and it teaching a child how to touch the screen.
One year has passed and the No TV rule stands strong. Well, except for football games on Sundays with dad. (insert smiley face)