Friday Q&A with Sue Atkins – TV Babysitter

Interview with Sue Atkins, The Parenting Expert

Parenting children with eczema does bring unique challenges, such as scratching (till bloody) when being disciplined or guilty when eczema worsens (yet again). MarcieMom has the privilege of asking The Parenting Expert, Sue Atkins, on her advice for dealing with these challenges. Sue is the author of the best-selling book ‘Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children’ and also regularly appears on BBC Breakfast television, The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and has her own regular “Ask Sue” Parenting Q & A phone-in on BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex.

MarcieMom: Thanks Sue for joining us for past four weeks! We are at my final question for you, one that puzzles me much.

We know the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend TV before the age of two. In Singapore, many of my friends let their child watch TV, myself included. I’ve tried my best to limit TV to Barney, Signing Time (which distracted her from scratching when she was a baby!) and 2 to 3 other kids’ DVDs series. I wouldn’t let her watch TV or iPad if I can help it, but it really gives me some breathing time when she’s entertained by TV and forgets about her itchiness.

The strange thing is that my friends who let their toddler watch cable TV such as BabyTV, Disney or Nick Junior, actually swear by these cable programs improving their toddler’s language skills. The even stranger observation is that their children indeed can talk much better than mine! What is your take on this – what age to let baby/toddler watch TV, what kind of programs are preferred and whether cable TV with lots of programs are indeed better than selected DVD series or no TV at all? It’s so confusing!

Sue Atkins: I am not a fan of tooooo much –  TV The “electric babysitter!”

What is a reasonable, balanced amount of time for you?

What programmes and games are suitable for your children?

What boundaries do you set for your kids and are they flexible as they get older?

What’s your gut reaction and instinct to this whole topic?

What do you do if you and your partner disagree?

Are you able to stand firm and say “no” to your kids…. if not why not?

Just spend a few minutes making up your mind, setting your limits that feel right for you and doing your kids a great service by standing by your limits, consistently – no matter what!

MarcieMom: Thanks Sue for the post above; I’ve also read the Daily Mail article mentioned in your post and it’s mentioned that ‘Researchers in France found that watching television impacted on the development of children under three‘, leading to delayed language learning, encouraged passivity, reduced concentration, increased agitation and caused sleep disorders. TV channel in France has been banned from promoting educational benefits on shows aimed at under 3 year old and largely seen as a move against foreign baby channels such as BabyFirstTV and BabyTV.

Thanks again Sue, for joining with me for July’s Friday Q&A; it’s a doctor Q&A and you’re the first non-doctor expert I have, what a privilege for me.

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