My two year old is usually a really good kid, ESPECIALLY for being two. But take away our home environment, especially all his toys, add loved ones he doesn’t get to see regularly, mix in some *new* toys that he is expected to share with twin babies, sprinkle it with holiday excitement, and you’ve got a recipe for meltdowns, regression, and basically a tiny jerk. (Am I a bad mom for saying that?)
It’s always magical to see children learning from a young age to appreciate and celebrate their heritage as well as the diverse heritage of others. I’m one of those people who loves the word diverse, y mas en español, diverso, porque todo suena mejor en español. I can’t help but mention here that I recently had a conversation with a man who shuddered as I described my high school alma mater as diverse. He claimed that “diverse” is a word that democrats have stolen and made dirty… don’t get me started on that. So I just want to say it again: (Dear Sir) I LOVE THE WORD “DIVERSE”!
“I don’t want to be generous,” he said as we stood in a Target aisle full of toys.
“I know, love. Being generous is hard…”
“It’s TOO hard mommy,” he interjected.
“… but it will make other people SO happy.”
“It will make other people so happy?” he said with puzzled big brown eyes, head tilted to the side.
As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.
For starters, if you want to know my stance on TV viewing for little ones, check out My Thoughts on TV. Plus, it’s got some good resources and ideas regarding guidelines for TV and technology.
I don’t have time for watching much TV otherwise, so one day, wanting a break from Mickey and pals (seriously, the hot dog song does not need to be in my head anymore, like ever), I opened up Netflix and up popped “Trending Now” and a cute, colorful image for the movie Trolls by Dreamworks. I recalled how the Pre-K and Kindergarten scholars I had most recently worked with had raved about it, vaguely remembered watching Justin Timberlake’s performance of the hit song at some award show, and was intrigued by the all-star cast.
Thus began our Trolls obsession… You know how kids want to watch the same movie over and over again until they know every line? Well, I wanted to watch it just as much. Hell, I want to watch it now. I seriously don’t know who loves this movie more. (Ok, maybe I do.) Here’s why.
I understand parents who strictly abide by the AAP screen time recommendations and also those who don’t. (See American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use.)
As a toddler parent, I fall in the middle, so TV is not the devil, as long as it’s watched in moderation, involves parent interaction, and is educational in some way. In my books, this falls within the AAP guidelines. Generally, we watch a maximum of one show per day or part of a movie. Truth: sometimes, we watch a whole movie, and I don’t even feel bad! Because, it involves some fun parent/child interactions, discussions, or pretend play afterwards. And really, what parent really has the time or energy to feel bad about a little TV?
As an educator, I support the use of measured screen time to enhance a lesson, like showing a short clip to introduce or demonstrate a concept, like: