Posted in Parenting

TV sucks as a babysitter

This is how my daughter watches rhymes:

“Mama, phone please” 

She opens a number of apps, including the one with rhymes.

“Mama, rhymes please”

I shut down the twenty odd apps, leaving the rhymes one on and hand the phone back to her.

“Mama, which one you want?”

Apparently, I have to choose the rhyme that she will watch. She will only allow me to look at the phone, while she holds it, facing her. If I dare click on a rhyme myself, we have to go back and start all over again. I point to one at random. She watches the rhyme.

“Mama, yavd beku (which one do you want)?”

This goes on, till she is done. Sometimes, I just stare back at her with a blank expression. Then she makes a selection for me. Just when I think I’ve solved the problem, an ad pops up and she needs my help to switch her back to the main app.

“Mama, close. Rhymes open, mama”

When she was younger, I could just turn on the rhymes if I needed to concentrate on something for a few minutes. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Putting her in front of the phone or iPad requires far more involvement from me. Why do people say they use TV as a babysitter? It’s more work when I try to do that.

I’ve tried putting her in front of the television in the hope that she might need less intervention from me than the phone or iPad. Nope. She is interested in watching the telly if I will sit next to her and narrate the cartoon for her, especially if it’s the first time she is watching it. There are things she likes to point at and name gleefully. Then there are things she doesn’t know.

“This?” I tell her what it is and she repeats after me.

“That?” and I tell her what it is, with her repeating after me.

So much for the TV being a baby-sitter! Frustrating as it is, it’s hard to get mad at her while she sits there singing and swaying with the rhymes.

As I sit here, watching her do exactly that, ‘cute as a button’ comes to mind.



I used to wonder whether I could ever be a parent. Then I became one. I was handed a delicate little bundle that I was terrified of bringing home. I didn't know how to be a parent and I was sure 'winging it' was not the right way to do it. Little did I know at the time that there is no right way. The baby knew what she wanted and all I had to do was figure it out along the way. As she grows up, she helps me learn what I need to know... I just need to pay attention to her.

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