Television and Lockdown

One of Baby Boy’s first words, uttered just before he turned one, was “book”. An impressive and studious first word I think you’ll agree. That word now appears to have been forgotten in favour of words, or consistent sounds, for cat, dog, drink, dummy and biscuit (cringe) as well as the expected Mama and Dada.

I can tell without looking if he is playing with his sister’s dinosaurs or cars by his noises. Baby Boy does an excellent dino roar. We discovered at the weekend he also makes a super “quack” sound, prompted by us saying “Sarah & Duck” was on CBeebies.

3 children sitting on the floor staring towards a TV screen that isnt in the photograph
Some days a "bit" of TV is essential

TV seems to be pretty influential on my children’s language and development right now. While I favour keeping the advert free CBeebies on, the channel is often switched to Nick Jr or Disney Junior. Thanks to extensive screen time my middle child has started coming out with jingles during conversations and play. Phrases like “throw a disk, catch a ball”, “by kids for kids”,  “cleaner machine, cleaner clothes” and “send postcards right from your phone” are heard regularly. Every time she comes out with a new one I feel a moment of shame that the electronic babysitter is more successfully home schooling that me; I’m struggling to even get Little to remember her weekly Jolly Phonics songs. Of course I go on social media to distract myself only to be confronted by yet another amazing craft creation or small world invitation to play and that mum guilt gets worse.

I’m actually pretty great at coming up with activities for my children, I’ve not felt the need to join Facebook groups or subscriptions for ideas as I have plenty of my own. And of course any time we do something creative I take photographs with the intention of turning it into a future blog post (and I guess continuing that mum guilt cycle by encouraging it in others, but my excuse is the posts get good traffic). 

A mum on a MacBook sitting on the floor trying to work and surrounded by toys and a baby
It's hard work with 3 children around all day

But lockdown with three children is not inspiring me to get creative. Any play set up ends up in the baby’s mouth and spread all over the room, crafts end up an ongoing battle of trying to provide guidance to the older ones while keeping the smallest from destroying it. There is also the additional challenge that no grandparents visiting means I have to find space for the creations to be displayed in my overcrowded house, again not really tempting.

The early days of lockdown went well but my children now refuse to engage for long even on the days I have the energy to try. On other days I can only find motivation to stuff my face with food. Either way the daylight hours are pretty much non stop so the television is a chance for me to have a break. And if that break lasts for the whole afternoon sometimes? At least I might get a hot cup of tea.

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