Thursday, June 21, 2012


Williamsburg, 2012

So I mentioned the other day that as I get further into my pregnancy, I've sort of backed off on philosophizing about how I will be as a parent. Somewhere along the way it hit me that for at least the infant months, I am mostly going to be focused on keeping baby alive rather than testing the latest and greatest theories of childhood psychology.

That said, one thing I haven't stopped thinking about is screen time. When we move, Will and I decided we won't renew our cable package, but will instead watch handpicked shows online or via Netflix.

Some of this is because I tend to find TV draining. Not that I am above marathon sessions of Million Dollar Listing or that I don't find the show American Ninja Warrior oddly fascinating. That's just it. I have this stuff on "in the background," and then find myself feeling depleted and even stressed by all the noise, the commercials, the silliness of the shows themselves. I feel like it's a time suck, and also a vortex I don't want to fall into when the baby is here.

There have been a few threads on baby boards about TV, smart phones, and babies (here and here) that have made me think about this a bit more. And sure, the baby is probably not all that aware that The Real Housewives of Orange County is on while he's nursing. But then again, it's a habit that sets a precedent.

What I do know from seeing how my nieces and nephews have been raised is that children emulate their parents. My sisters-in-law barely watch TV themselves, and are rarely online or on their phones. As a result, I've never seen their kids entranced by an iPad or heard them clamoring to watch this or that show. I am sure eventually as they get into elementary school this will change, but I find it sort of lovely to see how their childhoods have been a little bit of a bubble from all the media they will eventually grow attached to.

So we're experimenting with cutting down on the amount of television we watch, hoping for the domino effect. For the record, I do get that I am writing about this on a screen, on the internet. Also worth noting, when I told my mother this, she asked if we were planning on raising our child as "a Canadian." Since "Canadians" apparently do suspect things like drinking herbal tea, becoming vegetarians, or banishing television. 

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