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  1. #1
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    Sep 2012
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    Watching Educational Learning Videos Everyday, Is this a good habit?

    My toddler, Cielo, watches educational learning videos everyday, especially during her feeding time. She really enjoys watching them, since the cartoon characters like Barney or Winnie the Pooh and Friends, foster a very fun and interesting way of learning the ABC's or counting the numbers. I am having a dilemma with her habit. Since she does not eat well without watching the said videos. Is this a good way of training my kid? Will this habit would not pose any harmful consequences? Many thanks for reading my post. All the best for everyone.

  2. #2
    Hi lovemygirlcielogale,

    The first thing I would do is look at what you want Cielo to do in the future. After all, everything you are training in her now, will have an impact on her future.

    So right now, I would say that you are training her to want TV or some other external stimulation while she is eating her meals (this is different from snacks, I'm talking about regular meals).

    When she is 6 years old, will you want her to eat with the family with a smile on her face? My guess is "yes", yet if you give her an appetite for TV during meal times, she will resent it and possibly throw a fit when you ask her to come to the table for a family meal.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that studies are proving that people who eat in front of the TV eat more food without realizing it, sit for longer times than they would if they ate without the TV on, and end up having more challenges with their weight.

    I have made it a point to have my children eat at the table almost all the time. The expectation I have set is that they are to come to the table for a meal when they are called. They all sit down with a happy face, eagerly awaiting their food.

    I would encourage you to stop allowing Cielo to watch TV while eating. She is used to having the external stimulus, so one way to gradually help her learn to eat without watching TV would be to put some Barney or Winnie the Pooh music on. I wouldn't have the TV playing in the other room, because that would make her want to be there. But putting some children's songs on to play while eating would allow her to hear, but wean her from seeing (lower the stimulus).

    If you don't have children's songs, you could put on some music that is calming or happy (not stressful). Eventually you would want to just put on some soft music that is very soothing. The more relaxed you and your child are, the better you will digest your food and absorb the nutrients the food is providing your body. The more nutrients in the body, the healthier you will be.

    Once you've gotten her to a point where she will eat happily with just soft music on, you can start to wean her off of that, to get her to a point where she doesn't need music or TV in order to eat.

    Some parents make the child's eating area "fun" for them, by providing their own fun plate or cup, but I would caution against this because you want your child to happily respond to your direction and sit at the table and eat with a smile on their face, not because they have a new plate or cup, but because they are happy to be at the table with you.

    This does take dedication on your part, though. It means that meal times become a priority with you, and the two of you sit down together to eat. I would also do this with snacks while you are making this transition, and once she is doing fine eating away from the TV, you could do a snack as a treat once a week, but certainly not every day. TV and eating need to be separate activities. And if there's a time when you're not hungry, but your little one is, then you can always feed her at the table while you do something else in the same room.

    Conversation between the two of you is really important. It will help her develop her vocabulary and her relational skills. Having meal times together fosters conversation.

    Educational TV shows are fine every now and then. In fact, in our family, I would say that 90% of the programs our children watch are educational, and not just Barney and Winnie the Pooh. They also will watch cooking programs or "This Old House" (remodeling old homes) with us, and they've done this from the time they were babies.

    If you're only developing an appetite in Cielo for children's programming (lots of colors, lots of movement/action) they will always want more and more and more stimulation. So limit the TV to an hour a day (if you can) and let her watch a cooking program with you (or let her sit and play with a quiet toy while you're watching the program) so that she learns how to sit quietly even if she's not being entertained.

    One last caution I would mention is to be sure that the programs you watch that truly are not meant for children, are watched when she is in bed or not around. If you are exposing her to bad attitudes or bad words (which, unfortunately are in way too many programs and commercials) you may find that she starts to pick up on those attitudes and words.

    Surround her with experiences and people that you want her to emulate, and be sure you are protecting her from things that you don't want her to emulate. This has worked very well for us and we have received many compliments on our children's behavior over the years (even when they were 2, they would sit in a restaurant quietly while we had a meal).

    Please let me know if you've found this helpful and if you have any further questions.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
    Hi Kate! I'm using another account, since I forgot the password of the first one. Thank you very much for such an informative and detailed response to my concern. I learned a lot from reading your reply to my query. I am really thankful for this kind of forum. It is very nice of you taking your time to help parents like me. All the best for you, and your kids!

  4. #4
    So glad you learned something helpful from my response. Please post back and let me know if it works for you or if you need more ideas.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

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