When I was young pup, my favorite show was Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
In fact last year I watched part of an episode and almost cried.
Because Mister Rogers is calming. He is reassuring. He makes you feel “as if everything is going to be allright (Bob Marley)”.
Honestly, I think there is certain percentage of my self esteem directly attributable to his calm demeanor, habitual routine and positive affirmation. For realz.
For me Mister Rogers taught me that the world is a good place and to live in a normal neighborhood was a very good thing. We had lived in a couple of houses in the early years but as of recently my family had (and for the rest of our years) lived in apartments. So the idea of a house with nice neighbors was a piece of stability in my mind. And later all through the years, that’s all I wanted was the house and the family.
I know you can go back and forth about self esteem/pride and what is good and what is harmful. But I will say that Mister Rogers helped my self confidence that I was going to be okay. You are good, so try and be good to others.
My mother and Mister Rogers both made me feel like I could do anything in the world. And I did. But I had a lot of stuff to work out through the years, thank God my mom got me therapy at key parts of my life. For the record, a recent new study suggests short term therapy after traumatic events or major changes can be effective in the long run. I think it worked for me.
I say all this to say, recently I have let my kids watch Mister Rogers and boy, he’s great.
We watch very limited amounts of television when they are with me (exception to the rule is when there is a very busy times in our lives, i.e. nursing a newborn, etc. that I relent and let them watch it for more than 30 minutes at a span). And even then the baby doesn’t really watch it.
You see I don’t like cartoons and normal television. And I am glad to see science backs me up, that I was on to something by limiting my kids television. They get very limited video games (which I don’t think is good either and I knew I was right). I actually don’t even show them the internet yet because I want them to learn how to find information using books.
This video below is fascinating because there appears to be evidence that attention problems maybe linked to media exposure of images moving at a speed faster than actual life moves. And that risk taking and learning is effected by this media exposure in lab studies. Of course I have heard this before, but it is nice to see it all summed up. It’s shocking to see how much television kids watch compared to kids in 1970s.
Reading to children and spending quality time with them can effect their level of learning. A great book if you want to learn about how good is called the Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (this is an affiliate amazon link but you can find it at some libraries for my favorite price, free!). The book has in addition of lists of great books (nothing worse then coming home from the library and realizing all the books they picked have bad grammar and sassy back talking eye rolling kids) but statistics about how good reading is for kids, including being read to by dads or male role models.
And yes it does matter which books you read to them. Research Charlotte Mason and the word twaddle to learn more.
I also believe that learning through play is massively important in the early years. Don’t push heavy Pre-K unless your home is not a haven for learning (i.e. they aren’t going to be read to daily, etc). I have probably over 500 if not a 1,000 books in my house. Most of them are kids books I have picked up a garage or estate sales or have been passed on to me. I have books for all ages, baby, toddler, early primer all the way to college. And I leave them out. Books spill onto couches, baskets, book shelves and tables around here (if you keep them too tidy, no one is going to reach for them).
In an average day I pick up 4 things all day long in my house: books, legos, shoes and random bread crusts.
Do you read daily in your home? Do you limit electronic viewing?
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