I find myself more and more starting to sound like the 'old folks' that everybody laughs at. "You know, when I was growing up, I......' is a phrase I find myself using more and more these days. But in the case of electronics and my kids (read: Trey), my points are usually valid. So....without further ado.....ahem.....When I was growing up! Seriously, when I was coming up, my father was stationed in Germany for a lot of my young, forming days where kids begin to fall in love with watching TV in this new millennium. This meant that we had one channel....yep...one channel with american TV and the only show that I remember watching and looking forward to coming on was 'The Cosby Show', and that was only 30 minutes. I remember having to beg my parents to go back outside...even in the cold and dark....just being outside was cool. Fast forward to 2017, you have TV, cable, Internet, Apple TV's, Rokus, Amazon Fire Sticks, Kindles, iPads.....among MANY more things for kids to watch TV. Now I know what you're thinking: 'This is going to turn out to be a rant against kids watching TV' Well, actually.....you're kind of right and wrong. You see, Ayren and I said what all first time parents say 'I'm not going to let...our little one....watch TV or a computer until they are 2 or possibly older' Wow, thinking back....I don't know how we (especially Ayren) could have survived if we stuck to that. Its no big secret that kids take every minute of your time if you let them. 99.9999% of the time, we as parents welcome playtime with Trey and Eli, but there are the times where you just want to take a nap or be lazy and guess what keeps the kids attention? Using one of Trey's favorite phrases....'Yep, you got it!'....TV/the internet.
Now, Ayren and I aren't blameless in this, too often I brainlessly just pull out my phone and check out what's new on my big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Doing that, after clicking on a few stories, or tweets, or pictures.....you can easily waste 30-45 minutes without even looking up. Believe me, kids pick up on your habits and they take them on. Not so long ago, I wasn't feeling well, and Ayren was out and I had the two kids.....I really just wanted to lay down. Eliet is no problem during those times, if you just sit on the couch and cover her and you with a blanket.....her breathing gets slower and her eyes get heavy and she's out as long as you are. But Mr. Energy (Trey) is another story, he will play and play unless you let him 'do his thing'. That involves either the Amazon Kindle and its thousands of kids shows and games or letting him loose on the Roku we have on one of our TV's. Trey can easily watch a whole season of Thomas the Train...or the generic version of it, I forget the name, Feneas and Ferb (which I kinda like too......in a post coming up...I am going to highlight the kid shows that Trey and I love to watch) and a host of other kid shows that don't really make sense to me. Me and Eliet got a very good nap in and when I went to check on Trey....his eyes and ears were glued to the TV. He didn't sleep or doze at all. I was actually impressed. But I also felt bad because I just let him watch over six hours of TV total on that day! Hey, when I'm on daddy duty...the kids get away with stuff Ayren would never let them do....like watching that much TV.
The byproduct of letting Trey use a lot of electronics and watch a lot of TV is that he is very attached to them. Now Trey is a little bit of an oddball case because while he loves watching TV....he LOVES going outside and riding his bike or going to the playground. That's why we don't beat ourselves up too much on letting Trey watch TV, but we really have to curb his love of TV or electronics now. Also, there are some very good programs for kids out there. Trey LOVES the old school clips of Eliza Cuthbert and Jay Baruchel host 'Popular Mechanics for Kids' or as Trey calls it 'PMK!!' I remember when I was younger watching a show that starred a grumpy old guy who hated kids...can you guess the name of the show? Yep, Mr. Wizard! Man, that guy was always clowning kids who didn't know the whole element chart or how they could make some homemade dry ice. Man, 80's TV is unmatched!
Anyway, as Trey gets older, he is starting to understand more and more, and smarter, so Ayren and I will have to start putting blocks on shows. But even if we don't, I'm not too worried. I do want to get better (read: less lazy) at making sure Trey just doesn't waste away a whole Saturday in front of a TV. Something tells me that Trey himself will start to get tired of watching non-stop TV......maybe.
Remember to take care of yourselves,
- John Cannady