Cartoons in the morning?

I read this Huffington post article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/how-screen-time-affects-kids_n_5765568.html)  that really got me thinking about cartoons and our children.  So much so that I knew I needed to write a blogpost about it.  The burning issue?  Screen time.

Yes, yes, I know that I’ve covered screen time in the past: screen limits, setting boundaries, but this article made me re-think some of my own television habits.  You see, I’ll let you in a dirty little secret: before we head off to school, I let my boys watch 15-20 min of cartoons in the morning while I’m getting dressed.

Like you, I thought this was a key move in multi-tasking.  The kids get a cute little break with Mickey and his friends, Peppa Pig or even that square guy, Sponge Bob.

But attention parents, as quoted in the article:

Parents who are waking up in the morning and letting their children watch TV first thing before school are really missing the boat here.  Bottom line: All of that screen time is taking away from family time, which is crucial for healthy child development.

I spoke with a Child Psychologist yesterday, who added that cartoons in the morning are a no-no for children, but for a different reason.  Cartoons put them in a colorful fantasy world where they just sit vacantly in front of the TV and are entertained. Fast forward 30 minutes and they are expected to sit in a classroom and participate and think and learn.  Apparently the switch can be too radical and as such, cartoons before school are not ideal.

I decided to put myself to the test: after all how can I keep giving you awesome digital parenting tips, if I don’t follow them myself.  So this morning, my little guys did not get their dose of cartoons, but rather they listened to a CD of nursery school songs while I sat with them a bit at the table and asked them their opinion on a birthday gift for one of their school friends.  Scintillating conversation, I know, but I am very interested to see how this theory tests out.  If nothing else, my mascara may have been a bit lopsided today, but my boys were quite happy.

Stay tuned to find out how my new morning ritual makes my kids brighter or better yet, share with me your morning rituals so that I can shamelessly copy them.

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