In Defense of TV

  by Erik Wolgemuth

TV. We love to hate it.

Most kids in front of TV will never declare they’ve had enough. They’ll simply push through that growing TV-induced headache and consume show after show after show after show. At best, we believe it turns the brains of kids to mush as they succumb to its alluring glow.

Given all this, it’s easy to see why TV gets a bad rap. But lately, surprising me most of all, I’ve found myself marveling at TV’s unique ability to spur creativity in my kids. I’ll preface further reflections by saying that I’m certainly not advocating binge-watching for kids. Moderation and boundaries are absolutely important and that limitation is, in part, what actually makes TV engaging for kids. Further, they do need your wisdom to navigate what’s appropriate (cue, Legitimate Gripe Against TV: Significant Amounts of Highly Inappropriate Content).

All those caveats in place, shows like Wild Kratts and The Great British Bake Off have produced moments of wonderful (hilarious) creativity that began moments after the episode concluded. I’ve had my homemade bread critiqued (accurately) for it’s unsuitably “close texture” by a seven year-old in character as Mary Berry and learned some fascinating animal facts while exploring a nearby State Park with the Kratt brothers.

Minute to Win It has sparked some highly competitive family games and Space Jam had us playing hoops wearing Jumpman gym shorts in December. Family singing (and choreographed dancing) reached new levels of frequency after Newsies, and trips to the library and time in nature books were in high demand after Blue Planet II.

This has all forced me to re-evaluate my general opinion that TV is either a waste of time or simply a provider of moments for adults to catch their breath (which, is also not necessarily a bad thing). Yes, we don’t want our kids’ creative abilities to be based solely on TV, but what if we approached TV thinking about the new adventures it could lead us into? In this day and age, a wholesale dismissal of all things TV is simplistic and likely not that realistic. And so, as dadcraftsmen, let’s put it to use for our aim in raising our kids. To grow their wonder at the world they live in. To encourage creative time together. To spur a desire to learn and discover. And to secretly hope that one day we’ll change our last name to Robinson, get stranded on a deserted island, and architect the greatest tree house for us all to live in.

Looking for some recommendations on screentime with your kids? We’ve got 3 BBC Shows for you to watch and some guidance for how to dadcraft movies.

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Photo by Pawel Kadysz on Unsplash