I was channel-surfing many months back when I stumbled upon Playhouse Disney Channel on our cable, and it’s included in whatever package that D had signed up. I didn’t even know we had this channel since D and I mostly watch the news, Discovery Channel (Home and Health, Travel and Living, Turbo), some movies on HBO and maybe some sitcoms on StarWorld.
And it was just a couple of weeks back, while I was still on my one week school break, when I caught some good cartoons on Playhouse Disney and thought that these would be interesting for TJ. Not that he sits thru’ the entire 30 minutes watching the shows, but TJ seems to be more attentive and sit with me when Little Einsteins and Handy Manny are on.
Little Einsteins Theme
I enjoy Little Einsteins mainly ‘cos of its incorporation of art and classical music, which is unique in the sea of kids shows. Other stuff I like is the use of musical terms (eg adagio, presto, fortissimo etc), sounds of various instruments and the mix of cartoons/animation with real footage.
TJ would squeal, raise his hands and smile broadly when something in the show engages him. Of course there are some interactive portions, e.g. Leo (the speckie boy) gives instructions like tapping on your lap or raise your hands in the air etc, and I would hold TJ’s hands and do it. Sometimes TJ enjoys it but there are also times he doesn’t want me to wave his hands, maybe ‘cos he thinks Mum’s gila.
Handy Manny (this is the only decent clip I found but the theme repeats itself 5 times 😉 )
As for Handy Manny, I like the cartoon very much… dunno how to explain but the animators have done a good job in creating some simple, colourful (but not overly gaudy) characters and set. Oh, these characters are not your typical American twang ones, instead they are kinda mixed with Manny as a bilingual Hispanic handyman. Actually this is a good show for preschoolers since each show has some underlying moral/ethical/character-building kinda lesson woven into the situation that Manny and his tools face each time.
And I have also found out that the free channel on ATV (local TV station) screens BabyFirst TV programs every morning from about 8am to 10.30am.
I only need to type the keywords “TV and young children” on Google and a whole lot of articles on this issue will be found. I have read articles that discourage putting young children in front of the TV as the telly will take away the time for exploration and learning thru’ play. To a certain extent, I do agree with those articles as the TV is an easy and convenient substitute which would seem to engage the children’s minds with all that sounds and everchanging visuals, but it is still a very sedentary activity. I wouldn’t want my children to spend all their time in front of the TV, PC, PSP, NDS etc. Nonetheless, I don’t think it is possible to throw that TV set out of the house, it’s just not quite realistic… some compromise needs to be made.
I reckon the key is moderation, although the concept of moderation differs from one person to another. It’s a matter of perspectives which can’t be determined in terms of hours and minutes.
In TJ’s case, he will not be plonked in front of the TV and watched it on his own. Adult supervision is needed, whether it’s watching it with me, D or our helper, since we can point out something interesting to him or do the actions with him during the “interactive” parts. And it doesn’t always have to be baby/toddlers-related shows, in fact, TJ enjoys watching news with us, especially the weather segment. Actually I don’t have to worry about him watching too much TV right now, he would crawl away from me and find something else to play with when he is bored. Still I reckon as TJ grows up, I would have to make sure he doesn’t watch too much TV and make sure D doesn’t play his PC/Xbox/PSP games in front of his son.