As a parent, I have heard all sorts of opinions on children watching television and movies. It seems like every time you turn around some professional study has been done that states watching television can affect your child’s concentration or something else just as horrible.
With my first child, Tanya, I did get worried about all of those studies. I never wanted her to watch TV and I pretty much exhausted myself trying to think up new and exciting things to do just to keep her stimulated. As a first-time parent I was determined to do everything by the book, I wanted people to view me as the perfect parent. Needless to say, it was exhausting. Looking back on it now, I have to laugh at myself.
When my second child was born I still felt strongly that television was evil, that it was going to do what those studies suggest and somehow affect my kid’s concentration. The problem was I had another baby in the house, so entertaining Tanya became a bit difficult. With the addition of her brother, Michael, I no longer could give her the attention that she was used to. Sure, I still spent time with her, but I could not sit with her all the time reading and coloring with her, no longer could I spend hours playing with Barbie Dolls. I knew I needed to figure something out and fast.
Our house has never been big on watching television. I prefer to read whenever I get a chance, but mainly we do outdoor activities. My husband, John and I both love anything that has to do with the outdoors. We would much rather be hiking or camping rather than cooped up in the house watching television. However, with John away at work all day and me taking care of two young kids, I knew certain things would have to change.
While I was not necessarily desperate, I was running out of options, and Tanya was getting bored quickly. One day while we were at the store,
we happened to see all of these Barbie movies
displayed on an end cap, which of course, they were placed there so they would get noticed. Tanya of course spotted them and wanted to look at them, so we headed on over. In looking at the movies, I was shocked at how big the selection of movies was. I never realized Barbie started in so many Barbie movies
, but with all of the different dolls based on different themes, I guess I should not have been surprised.
Something else that caught my attention was the names of the Barbie movies. Many of them were stories that I grew up with. One Barbie movie that really caught my attention was Barbie as Rapunzel. As a child I loved the story of Rapunzel, my mom could not read it to me enough as a little girl. Tanya also shared my love for the story, as I had read it to her countless times before. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me that she was eyeing Barbie as Rapunzel with rapt attention.
Seeing how interested she was in the Barbie movie, I made a split-second decision to purchase the movie. My mind was screaming N-O-O-O! Television and movies were no good for kids. They ruined their concentration. However, I went ahead and bought the Barbie movie and have never once regretted it.
You see when I bought the Barbie movie I had a plan in the back of my mind. I was going to use that movie to help my daughter improve her concentration. Sure, it is easy to put in a movie and leave the room while kids watch it. However, that was not going to work at our house, I knew boundaries would still need to be set otherwise it would be too easy to turn the television into her newest form of entertainment and that was not what our family was about.
Instead, what we did with Barbie movies was turn it into a learning experience, which is what we do with every Barbie movie or cartoon that our kids now watch. After the show is over, we talk about what happened because it helps children improve their memory recall. We also make sure to talk about any big decisions that were made during the course of the Barbie movie and whether or not they were good and bad choices.
Our experiment with Barbie as Rapunzel worked so well that the next Barbie movie we decided to purchase was Barbie of Swan Lake. The best part was the story was pretty much like I remembered it. What our family learned with Barbie movies and television in general is that sure too much of it can be bad for kids, but if you set boundaries, it can be a useful tool. Letting children sit and stare at the television for hours will not help improve concentration in kids, but talking about what happened afterward can.
Talking about what has happened during the course of the Barbie movies improve concentration in kids because it requires them to focus on what had just happened. This is actually no different than what would happen if you asked a child what happened in a book, the only difference is books are far more acceptable than television in our society!