Skip to main content

If you've watched enough Sprout TV, you've seen these ads. I hope they bother you too.


We watch a fair amount of Sprout TV in our house (in fact, probably a little too much), specifically the Good Night Show. It seems that every time an episode of a show like The Chica Show or Sarah and Duck end, you can expect the next two minutes of airtime to be devoted to an ABCmouse advertisement.

While the advertisement shows you the stories of parents who are convinced their budding scholars are better prepared for school, the underlying message is that your child will be left behind if you don't subscribe right away.

This disturbs me.

For starters, children already stare at screens long enough each day, and it will only get worse as they grow into adults and adjust to a digitally driven world. The eye strain caused by all screens is great, and researchers are just beginning to learn about the long-term effects of excessive screen time. I can't help but wonder what programs like this, which encourage even more screen-time, will do to the physical health of children.  

Perhaps a larger concern for me is what we are telling our kids when we stick them in front of a screen under the auspices of eventually getting better grades. And the product is clearly marketed to the parents of toddlers and up, putting pressure on us early to make sure our erudite children have a jump on the intellectual competition with this one, magical, easy-to-use solution.

But we all know, there is no one, magical, easy-to-use solution for anything in parenting, right? Maybe not.

The Baby Einstein videos proved to have little tangible effect, even though parents who liked the videos themselves thought they did tremendous things for their children. Putting youngsters into highly-structured activities too early has proven deleterious as well.

What does work takes time, and sometimes a lot of effort. Reading to your infant and with your toddler works. Free playtime works. Encouraging imaginative play works. Age-appropriate exercise works. Good nutrition works. Modeling a healthy lifestyle works.  

Maybe ABCmouse and programs like it have a place in that mix, just not for my daughter.

Popular posts from this blog

Our family became whole because another family fell apart

A co-worker shared a powerful story from Huffington Post with me today. It was one adoptive mother's account of the days from meeting their birth mother to walking away from the hospital with their soon-to-be-adopted daughter in tow. I almost cried reading it because I can relate to the story in many ways, especially the feelings of uncertainty that are ever present until you see the amended birth certificate in the mail. 
"Bearing witness to her sorrow, I realize BabyMama is also experiencing three days of labor. As we text and grieve, we experience the contractions of the heart and body and mind together." -Kathleen Dennehy 
Our situation was different. The family in the story had to wait for three days in the hospital while the birth mother had to make the impossible decision to surrender her child for adoption. The Kid's foster mom had taken her home from the hospital and cared for her until her birth parent's legal rights to custody were terminated. We met h…

To a generous young trick-or-treater for his kindness

Our neighborhood is unbelievable on Halloween night. Starting about 6 p.m., our street is packed with trick-or-treaters. If you don't start stockpiling candy early, you could go broke trying to keep up with the crowd.

The Kid doesn't really like the trick-or-treating part, she loves to hand out the candy. She ventured out twice, once with me and once with Grandma, but returned because she loved being the helper kid who was making everyone enjoy their holiday.

One young man hesitated at our door after she stuffed a few treats into his bag. If I had to guess, he was about 10 or 11 years old himself. He started fumbling in his bag, pulled out a treat and said, "This is for her since she hasn't been out trick-or-treating for herself."

I think he was a little embarrassed by our effusive praise of his generosity. He didn't have to do that for our little Wonder Woman. She was having a great time and has a boatload of candy from her two tours of our block. But he wa…

My fourth Father's Day

This Father's Day is a happy one while being a great day for personal reflection. The Kid could hardly contain her excitement waiting for me to wake up so she could give me her gifts. Church, lunch at the Original Buddy's Pizza and kayaking on Lake Muskoday made today happy.

I also can't help reflect on the past. Four years ago today, we were at Lincoln Hall of Justice, Family Division in front of Judge Christopher Dingell to finalize The Kid's adoption.

It was a strange day. Our adoption could have been over a few weeks before if we had opted to have Wayne County Courts mail us her new birth certificate, but we decided we wanted to hear it from the judge himself. What we assumed would be a joyous occasion wasn't, the Judge was annoyed we wasted his time and told his clerk as soon as he decreed our adoption final that he never wanted to do another hearing like that again.

Still, it was a joyous day. Adoption Day unintentionally fell on my grandmother's birthda…

Ebates

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back