Before I had kids, I was sure that they would never watch television, that they would be nourished by home grown organic fruit and vegetables, and that only bad mothers shout. How wrong I was! In fact, you can probably guess where my kids are right now, and there's nothing remotely organic about the stuff I used for bribing them into leaving me alone just now. Television has caused a bit of a quandary for parents, hasn't it? On the one hand, we want our children to be well-rounded, to enjoy outdoor pursuits, use their imaginations and to learn to play with one another. On the other hand, how on earth are we supposed to get the household chores done without utilising the flat screen babysitter? And juggling school holidays and working from home can sometimes mean grabbing 15 minutes here and there to answer emails (or write blogs), which can sometimes be hard without the ol' telly! Why is there is so much guilt associated with allowing our kids to do something they enjoy, while we tick off things on the 'To Do' list? Well, for starters, there are those who judge us. And we'll never impress them, so why bother trying? Then there are our personal expectations of what 'good parents' do and don't do. We can sometimes be our own harshest critics. There is also the concern that our kids might be led astray, over exposed or become addicted. We worry that television might be a distraction from other more important things, is responsible for 'dumbing down', and cannot compare with real, human interaction. But I ask again, how else are we to do the things we need to do, without a little help here and there? The reality of running a household and working a job seldom allows for the indulgence of ideals, and instead, pragmatism must prevail. Television cannot replace the attentions of a loving parent, but it can be a temporary distraction while we do all the other things loving parents do.
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