My Love/Hate Relationship with Youtube Kids
Before I had a kid, when I was the best and smartest parent EVER (ha), I vowed my child would never have screen-time. Surely it was possible to raise a child in this day-and-age without the assistance of a tablet playing obnoxious kids videos.
Let’s be real here, people. I am not and have never professed to be parent of the year, at least once I owned an actual child of my own. I’ve basically done everything I always said I wouldn’t, with the exception of only a few. I should own stock in Chick-fil-A for the number of times we visit each week, and she gets her way more than most 3 year olds probably should. I clean with chemical-filled, but delicious smelling cleaning products, and I’ve only ever bought organic once because they didn’t have any other grapes in the store.
Mommin’ ain’t easy and, no matter what end of the mom spectrum you’re on, I’d imagine that probably 95% of kids have at some point watched YouTube kids. (I should clarify that this is my own math–no actual facts were researched in the making of this blog.)
My sister introduced my daughter to “videos” on her cell phone once, and we began the slippery slope in to the world of watching of kids playing with toys, making slime, and singing redundant kids songs. At first, it was a “Mammy-only” thing. Only my sister had the app on her phone and my daughter knew she didn’t have the option at other times. But somewhere along the way, YouTube Kids made its way onto every device we own, sans my computer, and took over a small corner of our world.
Don’t get me wrong here. Science has proven that excessive amounts of screen time can rot your kid’s brain, but hear me out. With proper monitoring and the handy-dandy timer built into the app, my daughter LEARNS.
She learns?! From SCREEN TIME?!
Yup. She learns all kinds of things I haven’t thought to teach her yet. She learns songs, colors, shapes, numbers, and explained to me tonight why a tomato is not a vegetable, but actually a fruit. Does she get all of her knowledge from an app? Of course not. She learns from my husband and I, and our families. She learns from friends and school. She learns from books and activities. But she also learns from the videos she watches when I need 10 minutes to finish dinner, or in the last 20 minutes of our long car ride. Sometimes I need to survive the last few moments of a shopping trip and videos get us back to the car without a threenager-style fit and YouTube kids saves the day.
I love that she can learn things from it while also being entertained. I love that catchy songs have taught her numbers, letters, and colors because my frazzled mom-brain wouldn’t have thought to put them to a familiar tune for her to catch on to them. YouTube Kids made making a Christmas list last year super easy because she showed me a few of the things she really enjoyed watching other kids play with.
But I hate it, too. I hate some of the catchy songs. I DESPISE slime and the videos that encourage her to learn how to make it and have vowed to remain a slime-free house until I change the decor and get rid of my beige upholstered dining chairs. There are a few videos I require her to change as soon as they come on because I can’t stand the songs or voices in them. But I also hate that society has told me that allowing my kid to watch 20 minutes a day of videos makes me a bad mom, or lazy, or whatever term the sanctimommies of the world have developed for me.
So, mama. You do you. If you’re finishing up your super healthy organic home cooked dinner tonight, go girl! You are killing it! If you’re waiting in the drive-through while reading this blog, don’t forget to ask for extra ketchup and keep up the good work! Your kid will be fed tonight either way!
On the same note, if you have a love/hate relationship with YouTube kids like I do, then embrace it! It is my opinion that with all the things our kids can/are exposed to in the world today, a few minutes of watching another kid play with toys, make slime, or visit a playground isn’t the worst thing that will happen to them or you. Give yourself grace and enjoy those few moments of peace while you can!