Most of my columns here at Prime Parent’s Club are devoted to celebrities and reality television. But most of my time is actually spent watching programming intended for preschoolers. Yes, I let my children watch television. They also eat processed food, and sometimes even get candy before bedtime. I’m hoping their brains will turn to mashed potatoes by age ten.
Children’s television is made to appeal to children, of course, and not adults. I understand that, and I don’t expect to be wildly entertained by The Wiggles. Still, as a parent, I have my limits. I’m picky about what my kids watch, partly because I’m concerned about what is influencing them, and partly because no one will be happy if Mommy breaks the TV in a Wubbzy-induced rage. But how do you explain that to a two year old.
You don’t. You lie.
I know what you’re thinking: “You’re advocating lying to children? How horrible!” In my defense, I present the three following pieces of evidence:
The Tooth Fairy
The Easter Bunny
So yes, I lie to my kids. And so do you.
What horrible falsehoods am I telling my children for the sake of my sanity? Well here are a few:
Caillou moved away. I hate Caillou. Hate him with the fire of a thousand suns. That kid whines about his friends, whines when he doesn’t get his way, whines when he does get his way… it’s maddening. That kid needs a time out and some Rogaine.
I’m trying to teach my boys NOT to whine, so Caillou isn’t really helping my cause. Despite never actually seeing a full episode of the show, my oldest son still asks to watch Caillou from time to time. Sorry kid, Caillou moved away. We can’t watch him anymore. Problem solved.
In a similar vein…
Yo Gabba Gabba! is on vacation. I enjoy Yo Gabba Gabba! I like DJ Lance. I like the Gabba friends. I like the celebrity guests. Know what I don’t like? Watching the same show over. and over. and over. and over again. My son’s obsession with the show was bordering on creepy, so we’re currently on a Yo Gabba Gabba! hiatus. DJ Lance Rock, we will see you in 2012.
The television is sleeping. My youngest has a passing interest in the television, but my oldest would watch all the time if we let him, so we don’t. The decision to turn the TV off was met with many tears, tantrums, and screams of “I wanna watch a SHOOOOOW!!!”
That’s not annoying AT ALL.
It’s tempting just to turn the television back on so the sobbing will stop, but that’s really not the best thing for my son. Instead, I told him that just like he needs to rest, the television needs to rest. The television takes a nap and goes to bed just like my son does. This explanation works for him, he doesn’t become a total couch potato, and I don’t lock myself in the bathroom with a tub of cookie dough and a bottle of wine. Everybody wins.
Are you 100% honest with your kids? What lies do you tell to keep the peace in your home?