Before I had children I was certain that when I did have them they would not be watching television. My children would be book lovers who would have no need for television. I would not need it as a mother. I would not want it in our family life.
Well, now I am a Mummy of three and we all watch television, though we do not have proper TV. Everything that we watch is through You Tube or IPlayer. Meaning that we can watch what we like and most importantly when we like.
I have to say that inspite of initial misgivings I have not found television to be bad for my little ones. In fact I would go so far as to say the opposite, it has been good for them. It has helped with their language, speaking and signing, their imaginative play and it gives them points of reference when we are out and about.
We do not watch much television and Esther and William were entranced during the Olympics by the snippets of sailing and diving that they saw on TV. I don’t think they realised that real things can be on the television. They have only ever known four things. In The Night Garden, Raa Raa, Mr Tumble and Catch The Bear.
Here is what we watch and why we like it.
In The Night Garden
We watch In The Night Garden every day. It is the last thing we do in the evening before Esther and William go to bed. They love it. They love all the characters and talk about them all the time. Whenever we are outside and Esther and William have opportunity to run they pretend that they are chasing the og-pog!
Our new house has a large garden and Esther and William firmly believe that it is The Night Garden.
We have a bush they can get into and they play that it is The Tomiliboo House and they search it for toothbrushes and act out cleaning their teeth.
At the back of the garden we keep our sailing boat and Esther and William are convinced that the boat is Iggle Piggle’s. They collect stones for Macca Pacca in our garden and further afield, including Minehead beach whilst we were on holiday.
When playing with their drums they like to drum nice and slow like the Tomiliboos. They love the stories and the musical cues in the programme and when we listen to the CD in the car they can tell you what character is coming next.
This programme has been a firm favourite for over a year now but it is only in the last few months they have been able to recite, react and interact with it. As their understanding has grown so too has their enjoyment. I love watching them watch it, especially William who gets so excited and really giggles especially at Upsy Daisy’s bed and Iggle Piggle’s tiddle!
Raa Raa The Noisy Lion
This is a new discovery for us but Esther and William love it and I have to admit that so do I. My husband created the children’s stop motion animation software Zu3D and so we have a real soft spot for animated children’s programmes and particularly ones that are so well written. The first episode we ever saw, and have now watched many many times, was about Raa Raa‘s making a noise game. It has a rhyme in it, Time to make a noise, I can make a noise, I can make a noise with … and then you add an item to make a noise with. Esther and William now play this game in the garden and at night intheir cots when they should be asleep. Every where we go we hear ‘Dum Dum Dat’ as Esther and William play at being Raa Raa. This very cute set of jungle friends have become friends of ours. Each 10 minute episode provides experience of friendship and language play in the form of rhythm and rhyme. It has really helped Esther and William to play with their own language and to make lots of noise. Raa Raa also uses a lot of repeptition making it easy for toddlers like mine to grasp the language used and take it as their own. It really is very clever tv for tots! This is a great time filler when we are waiting for tea or when we need some cuddle time or time out from energetic play. Raa Raa always has a positive message about being kind to others and often Esther and William need reminding of that. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to find out more! He also has his very own website with some great activity ideas.
Something Special / Mr Tumble
Who doesn’t love Mr Tumble? When Esther and William were just a few months old we started Sing and Sign which they loved. We also had the DVD which we watched every day when we first got up to reinforce the signs. Very soon after this we discovered Something Special. Esther and William love Mr Tumble and all the Tumble family. They have learned so much from watching these series on repeat. They can sign so many words and through signing has come talking. Because Esther and Willam could sign from a very early age they have always been able to communicate their wants and needs with us. Nowadays we try to teach Esther and William to sign using BSL as their cousin is partially deaf and so this helps us all be able to communicate with him. There are some links between Makaton and BSL so the benefits far out weigh the confusion. We continue to enjoy Mr Tumble and often Esther and William will say or sign something that neither Daddy or I have taught them, on these occasions we look at one another, smile and say, ‘Mr Tumble!‘
GiggleBiz (Catch The Bear)
We also love Justin Fetcher in GiggleBiz, affectionately known in our house as Catch The Bear because their favourie segment is with the character Rapids Johnson. They also love Major Boogie, every time this section comes on both Esther and William get up to dance. GiggleBiz is very funny. It reminds me of Trigger Happy TV which I used to love. I think it is important to teach children about funny and jokes and comedy and this is a good way to do it.
These programmes make up our viewing pleasure. Do you let your toddler watch TV? What do you watch together and why?