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That seems an oxymoron, putting Mr. Rogers (as in children’s television) and re-mix (as in recombination of music tracks to create something new) together. Mr. Rogers wasn’t a singer, a rapper, or even part of a band. Granted, my kids’ favorite bedtime music was a tape of some of the songs from his show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was simply many, many a child’s (and adult’s) favorite television neighbor.

I love re-mixes. I love the creativity that is so stunningly demonstrated when one is well done. And this one by PBS Digital is now way at the top of my list. It’s only 3 minutes long and it will make you smile *all* day long. So take a listen to Gardens of the Mind, the Mr. Rogers Re-Mix, and remember all the good Fred Rogers stood for and all he’s left us to carry on with for the sake of children.



Anyone remember that old John Prine song? “Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, move to the country…”? Ah no? Guess I’m showing my age. ūüôā

For over 4o years, we’ve been debating the benefits or detriments of TV to our society–and to our children. Early on, it was mostly debate. Television, and especially television geared for children, just hadn’t been around long enough to draw firm conclusions.

That’s changed in the last 10 years. Not only has research become more focused on our youngest children and their brain development, but there has also been enough time now for research to be repeated.

A new report was publicized this past week again confirming that TV viewing delays cognitive and language development¬† in babies and toddlers. You can read US News’ report here (and it includes links to the study).

While the article is short, I was struck with two points from it:

  • “…when kids and parents are watching TV, they are missing out on talking, playing, and interactions that are essential to learning and development.”
  • Native language and income levels did not affect results.

The Child Study Center of the University of Virginia has posted this video report concerning educational videos. The conclusion? Children did not learn vocabulary from watching educational television *and* they learn vocabulary best from the adults in their lives (even when there’s little more going on than talking, ie, no special equipment needed, folks!).

And finally, in the old news department, if you need any further ammo especially against Baby Mozart, read here.

So turn the TV off and spend time with your kiddo, one on one. (And if you’ve got to cook dinner, pull open a cabinet door and let your little one explore!)




For a number of years now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended zero TV time for children under age 2 and under 2 hours a day for older childern.

A new report now links a variety of troubles children have later in life to how much TV they watched as toddlers (yes, toddlers!). These include the¬†expected ones like obesity, high blood pressure , and problems with language development and attention span–but it also included suprise ones like lower¬†math achievement and higher incidence of being bullied. These¬†effects were found years later when the children were in school.¬†¬†Click here to read more. ¬†And here.¬† (And both articles share some amazing statistics.)

What’s a parent to do? Is it really that important? Dr. David Elkind offers help in sorting this out; click here.

How can one activity lead to so many difficulties so many years later? There are two huge factors at work here.

First, if a child is sitting in front of a TV or other screen, that child is not doing the things his or her body and mind was made to be doing developmentally at that time. Simple things like putting things into a box and taking them back out again, rocking a doll, watching the birds outside, playing in the sand or water, or singing, talking,¬†and reading with a living, caring human being–these are all critical to a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual growth.

Second, as intimated above, if a child is spending time with the TV, they are not spending time with an adult. The basis for all future relationships is established in the years between birth and age six-ish. We are socials beings, we are wired to learn about the world and life and ourselves through our relationships, and no machine can come close to fulfilling those roles.

As Elkind puts it, “…infants and young children learn best through direct interaction with caregivers, whether it is reading, talking or playing games like Itty Bitty Spider, Patty Cake and so on. Computer games (my insert: and other screens) for infants put an unnecessary barrier between child and caregiver and dilute the potency of that interaction.”

It is cliched, but they are only little once. Turn off the screens. Find other things for your baby and little one to do and explore; find other things to enjoy doing together. And not sure what to do? Ask your friendly neighborhood children’s librarian for ideas! ūüôā


It’s time to ask this tough question of your caregiver: How much time is the TV on while my child is with you?

A study in the journal Pediatrics reports that children may be spending as much as one-third of their waking hours in front of a TV each day. Read more here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no tv time for children under two and only one to two hours a day of the good stuff for older children.

There are at least two problems with TV viewing in young children:

First, for every minute they sit in front of the tv, they lose a minute of active learning somewhere else. They are not playing with blocks or digging in the sandbox or banging the pots and pans. They are not crawling, pushing, pulling, climbing, looking, talking, pretending. They are losing precious minutes of active learning.

Second, children’s brains are growing in number of neurons and in number of connections made between them at the fastest rate they will ever grow. We simply do not know at this point what effect electronic devices have on how the brain is wired. My gut tells me, though, that high flicker rate screens are not good for the electrical circuitry of the growing brain. Until we do know, erring on the side of caution and allowing children the chance to play in the ways their brains are already programmed to play seems the best course.

Finally, we do know that watching tv and just having the tv on both delay language development in children. And language development is the strongest predictor of how a child will do in school later.

It’s easy for them. It’s easy for you. But turn it off. Insist that your child’s caregivers turn it off. Raising children is not easy but we need to give them our best, even when it is harder.

You can do it!


Ever been to someone’s¬† home to visit–and the TV stayed on the whole time, TV pinkeven though no one was watching it?

I’ve always found it immensely annoying and distracting personally and often ask for it to be turned off.

Now research shows that having the TV on reduces conversations between adults and children–even if no one is watching it. Just having it ON!

And anything that reduces conversations between children and adults hinders language development. And lagging language development wreaks havoc on the ability to learn to read later.

Read more here at the NYTimes.

Need more convincing? Here are some stats:

85% of a child’s language is developed by the time they enter school. (Gail Rasmussen, Project Read)

By the time they were 2 years old, children whose parents had a high level of speech with them had a vocabulary 5 times as high as those children whose parents had a low level of speech. (Craig Ramey; Janellen Huttenlocher; two separate studies)

Turn it OFF! ūüôā


Got TV? Got kids? Be thankful you don’t have Calvin!

(But seriously, laugh, but don’t listen to him or your own. TV off–almost always good especially for reading, attention, and allowing time for childhood.)

No matter who you voted for, tomorrow is an historic day, pivotal on many counts in our history and to each of our lives.

Here in Alamosa, I know many of us (myself included) do not have access to TV or cable. Here’s how to watch online.

Ok, I stayed up waaaay too late last night with dh and college-aged ds looking at You Tube librarian videos which somehow morphed into video clips of ollllllld kiddie TV shows from my childhood.¬† We also just howled–except when the ds was getting creeped out and kept exclaiming, “How did you grow up OK after watching that stuff!”

For what we found a pretty hysterical glimpse into the 60’s and early 70’s kiddie TV scene go to and search for:

Romper Room (look for the Do-Bee and the Magic Mirror)

Kukla, Fran, and Ollie

The Banana Splits

H.R. Pufnstuf

Captain Kangaroo (look for the moose!)

Gives you an idea of why Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street were soooooo radical!

So what was your favorite?¬† Were they creepy to you, now or then, or did you love them? If you’re not old enough to remember these, what kids’ shows do you remember?

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