A really useful engine.

Back in the year BC (before child) I wholeheartedly believed many things about parenthood, there were things I planned to do, and not do and it all appeared fairly straight forward to achieve. One of these things was strictly limiting the amount of television my child would watch. Instead I would ensure we always did many 'fun and educational' activities.  I look back on my poor deluded previous self now and wonder what happened!

Prior to our move to Cyprus,Leo had seen very little children’s tv, in fact just before we moved we staying at a friends house he watched in wonder at CBeebies for the first time and looked at me amazed that such wonders existed, after all I had been enjoying the days of being able to get away watching ‘This Morning’ and 'Loose Women' in relative peace when he was tiny and spent most of the day sleeping.

After a month in Cyprus with no tv, we got satellite, not a dish as big as our house like many have to be able to pick up all the English channels, but a nice little dish to go on the roof – lovely, as that meant a couple of hours of Barney, Thomas and Bob then it would switch to Arabic for the rest of the day and off it went. 

Over the months we slowly acquired a small selection of DVDs, and then my good laid plans all went to pieces. It’s a lot harder to pretend there is nothing to watch when there actually is!

First came “The Wiggles”, he was too young to ask for it but I knew he loved it and it was an easy way of occupying him for parts of the long day on my own with him. It was here I accidentally started the tv habit. It was fun and very entertaining to see him dancing along, he started to dance long before he could walk. They started to drive me mad, but I soon missed them when he learnt to speak and discovered Postman Pat.

For weeks the first and last thing he seemed to say each day was “Pat, Pat peese Mummy” this was annoying but the repeated watching of it did enable him to learn his numbers and the alphabet so it had it’s benefits.

Just around the time I started to hum the theme tune in my sleep he suddenly started, like many young boys before him to see the wonder of Thomas, oh how he loves that little blue engine.  It’s the longest obsession so far, and I feel this one will run and run. It’s no bad thing though, it seems to be firing his imagination and encouraging his love of reading as he has ‘Thomas’ books too. He knows the stories inside out on his books and takes great pleasure in ‘reading’ them to everyone.  If he can't 'read'  or remember the story he makes it up, and they are very good, and generally make sense. 

He has a set of Thomas tracks which he plays with most days, chattering away to himself and re-enacting the books or the programs.  I know he's growing up but the increase in vocabulary seems to have happened overnight and his memory for the plot lines and characters astounds me.

Yesterday he found a calculator and decided it was a phone, since then he has been calling up all the characters from Thomas and having some real in-depth conversations. He has such a memory for all the stories from the program and his books and is recreating them via the 'phone calls'

Sometimes I get the ‘guilt’ and worry there is too much tv in his life, but I think I’ll continue to ignore it like most of us and be pleased that he gets so much from a simple program. 
Leo's best colouring so far!
ShowOff Showcase


  1. I think we are all guilty of saying we will restrict the amount of TV we allow our kids to watch before they are born and then it changes once they reach a certain age!! Up until he was 9 months he only watched In The Night Garden then gradually a few other shows were allowed. We usually now have it on til about 10 am and then in the afternoon he can watch another hour. What makes me laugh is how he will get the remote and putchannel 71 on by himself!!
    Like you say they do learn from it and it does help when you are getting meal prepared!! His drawing is very good xx

  2. No, haven't got any of those -I'm always very envious when people talk about these apps!

  3. Great post and one I can wholeheartedly relate to and identify with, Im always worried they watch too much, but it does do a certain degree towards their education in reasonable doses.  And most of us, can be guilty of pushing the negative thoughts and worries to the back of our mind I think.

  4. Kids learn a lot from the tv, I know my daughter does! I think Thomas is a wonderful example of how children can interact and that colouring is just fabulous!

    CJ xx

  5. Your son needs English TV to reinforce his English as presumably he will be going to school in Greek. Look at it as educational and honouring your family who will thank you when they can communicate with Leo. And he will thank you when his English is excellent.

  6. My son is into Thomas too.

    If you have an iPad/iPhone/iPod touch, try the 'Misty Island Rescue' app (story/video/jigsaw/pair matching game) - my son loves it and it keeps him occupied for a bit

  7. Tv is one of many parenting guilts! I actually think that it needed from many points of you, chill out time for the, sanity time for you and education. Of course it it sometimes used as a virtual baby sitter but I think this is totally normal and as long as it is not all day everyday I think TV has its place. Did you see my post on baby born free? It might make you feel better, as you are not alone! xx

  8. I think the drawing was a one off, he's now gone back to just scribbling all over the pictures in black crayon!


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