A brave mom asked about stopping her teen son from watching kids shows in a group my mom and I are part of. I thought “this is perfect for a blog.” So, here is my experience with my particular flavour of kiddy show viewing – Baby Einstein, The Wiggles, Hi-5, Baby Genius, Blue’s Clues, and “the oh so dreaded by Mom” Boohbah.
I am wanting to share how these videos are both supportive and limiting to me, in hopes of educating in what may possibly be happening with others. I can only speak for me as my own best expert, and would love to hear from my peers about their personal experience too. Maybe I should add lesson questions to this blog for those brave CPs that want to tackle the challenge of discussing this touchy subject. (If enough people want it, I’ll do it.)
If you see me at Conferences or gatherings, out to dine at a restaurant or waiting for an appointment you won’t find my trusty iPad in my hand. I made a conscious choice to not have access to YouTube in most outside of home locations. There are good reasons for this that I won’t go into depth about, but let’s just say that no access is less impacting than unreliable access.
Here at home (or any home away from home) I like having access to YouTube. Power and internet outages are both an opportunity to practice restraint and delayed gratification, as well as maddening to watch my body flip out over something absolutely I understand.
Let’s look at what my lovely surfing is for me.
Joy is a calm body where I am using my energy on productive pursuits – writing this blog, attending an online class, learning from listening to an audiobook or documentary, or even enjoying a blockbuster or cheesy movie. Not having lovely surfing time means my body overloads a lot faster so I can’t be as productive. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but for me it really isn’t.
You see, what you see is my whole self engaged with the video moreso than anything else. The exact opposite is true! The video and flipping between them is so in the background for me. It allows my auditory and visual systems to chill the bleep out, so I can focus and not expend so much energy on maintaining regulation. Being productive is my focus, and I’ll use whatvever works. If my body is more regulated, I won’t use it as much. I go through phases.
Another crazy bonus, my body found a site where I’m learning all kinds of languages from listening to and watching my beloved Baby Einstein favourites in every language imaginable. I’m covertly preparing for world travel. Love, Joy, and Peace won’t get to be created in the world without some good Baby Einstein watching. I bet that was Julie Aigner-Clark’s covert plan all along. But I digress.
Now, for the limitations I deal with.
Joy is being able to live free from lovely kiddy nonsense. Probably why outside of the house I’ve purposefully banned myself from any reliance on YouTube. I am building some tolerance in probably the more challenging circumstances with an intention of it lovingly spreading to home. The problem being that the work of self- regulating outside the home leaves me so drained, that I need it at home to either recover or in anticipation of an outing. Maybe not my smartest plan, but the studly ambassador in me wants to be iPad free in public.
Other downsides are that sometimes my body has to finish, or find, something before I can stop using the videos. I have worked on this a lot and it is much easier to “let go” than it used to be. Mom is good at interrupting me and getting my body to do the thing needed in the moment – letter board talking with an intentional beginning “go” prompt or putting the iPad to sleep to move to a non-iPad activity.
I think another point to highlight is that your expectations and assumptions as neurotypical parents should always be questioned. Our wants and needs are usually different than you would expect or assume. When you have access to communicating with us ensure you check in and:
– don’t lay your wants on us;
– calmly get from us, the experts on us, what the payoffs and costs are
to an activity;
– create a plan with us for how to manage something we both want
– and be prepared to work the plan calmly and check in to alter where
Yes, I know you are the parent and think you know what is best, and you need to be informed and have our buy in to have the endeavour be successful and relatively easy on us both. My point is to keep checking in with yourself about your intention and who you are really trying to provide comfort for. Your discomfort is not our problem.
Lovingly and shooting straight,
Image credit: Photo 32686261 © Aquamila – Dreamstime.com