I have mixed feelings about TV right now. For the most part I don’t like it. However, I see P learning a lot from the shows she is watching. Up until recently I’ve only put on videos…very select ones. After reading an Oliva book I got on the slippery slope of watching Nick Jr., or what use to be Noggin.
I do like that Nick Jr. is geared specifically towards the pre-schooler and has no commercials. Instead all of the content is games and learning activities. I never turn the TV on and just let it run. It’s too easy to let hours go by because I get wrapped up in chores. Instead, I record shows and only watch one or two at a time depending on the length of the show. However, because Nick Jr doesn’t have commercials the dvr records parts of other shows and of course P gets all into those as well.
One show I do love is Ni Hao Ki Lan. It’s kind of like a Chinese version of Dora. Besides learning Chinese, P is actually picking up quite a few words, the show teaches about dealing with emotions. One character was upset no one was listening to him. Another was upset one of his friends broke one of his toys and he didn’t want to forgive him. The show talks through recognizing emotions on other people and then working it out. Believe it or not…it’s actually helping. I see P watch for reactions on people and then talk through it with me or to them.
I also love that P’s ear is listening and picking up on the intonations of Chinese. Of all the languages I’ve tried learning on my travels, Chinese, was by far the hardest for me. I’d like to give her some intro to the language so if she does choose to learn it fully in the future it may come more naturally.
What I have found works best with TV is to bring it “to life”. I decided to bring Ni Hao Ki Lan to life by taking P to Chinatown. She lit up when she saw the lanterns and dragons. Even the architecture became exciting. On one show they talked about moon cakes so we went to a bakery to try some…except they didn’t look like something P would eat so we ate a different kind of “moon cake”.
I watch the shows with P, or listen and comment as I’m walking by with laundry or something. I find it easier to get P to learn or do new things when I incorporate something someone said on a show. On a recent hike P was afraid to run down a hill. I started singing a song they sang on Ni Hao about trying things you’re afraid of a little at a time. She looked at me as if to say “oooh, i get it” and then started going down the hill at her pace.
She helps me with chores when I start to sing a song from another show Wonder Pets…”Whats it going to take? Teeeemwork!” I know TV is helping her see life activities in a new light because it’s other kids or cartoons doing it. If she had an older sibling it’s probably what they would naturally show her. Which makes me wonder why is it that the oldest sibling has the highest IQ? In this circumstance it seems like having an older sibling would be like having another teacher in the world and should therefore bring up IQ. But, I guess it’s not the case and it leaves me thinking and wanting to do more research on the subject.