Having a two year old tends to change your television viewing habits. Now I know there are parents who insist (or say they do) that two years olds shouldn’t watch any TV. Really. I’m not that good. But there is an unexpected benefit to watching two year old TV – peace – and not just from the kids – but within.
Little Yang has really only been watching TV for a few months (he hasn’t really been interested before) – 15 minutes of Thomas the Tank Engine, another 25 minutes of Play School, scattered snatches of the cartoons Miss Yin favours in the afternoon, ten minutes with his favourite train character Chuggington (a program that comes on when he wakes up from a long (hopefully) lunchtime sleep). So he wakes up with a little quiet time in front of the box – is that so bad?
This is NOT a post to debate TV for kids, but one about how television for two year olds has brought a new peace and perspective to the end of MY day. Recommended viewing!
Right after the 6pm news, when the commercial channels are dominated by the sort of tabloid current affairs I can’t stand, I might catch ten minutes of the world news and then switch over to ‘Little Yang’s channel’ – and so we find ourselves magically mesmerised ‘in the night garden’.
This gem of a program (made by Britain’s BBC) mustn’t have been showing when Miss Yin was little, or at least we didn’t discover the enchantment of a garden where funny little make-believe characters with funny little made-up names have their funny little adventures before settling down to sleep (as all two year olds should at 7pm). And it works!! Little Yang is ready for bed, right after the night-time song that follows on the little kid’s channel. And I sing that song to him again, along with two or three other songs that make up our bedtime routine and off he goes to sleep (if not straight away then soon after). And there is PEACE. Priceless (in theory anyway).
The funny thing is that I already feel peaceful, even before Little Yang has settled down (and even if I haven’t had a glass of wine – believe me I have actually tested this theory!). Even if there’s still homework to help with, dishes to be done, or a myriad of other things that need doing, I feel like our time ‘in the night garden’ puts a ‘full stop’ to the end of the day’s madness. I’m more relaxed in doing whatever has to be done afterwards, and in easing into the night. And so day turns to night, yang into yin, and PEACE pervades (and as Miss Yin says ‘You want too much peace Mum’). I can actually believe, as the night time song refrains ‘What a day it’s been, what a magic day’.
I’d love to say we stick to this ritual every night, but of course we don’t. Life is busy, work is taxing, dinner isn’t cooked, kids are frazzled, Mum is worse and more wine is required. But on the nights we do relax ‘in the night garden’, I realise that there is in fact always PEACE to be found, inside myself.
It may be a little strange, but why not check out the night garden for yourself – even sans kids. You might find yourself feeling a little peaceful too (just like Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, the Pontipines and all the gang). Just click www.inthenightgarden.co.uk.
PS – I haven’t received anything from BBC Worldwide, ABC or anyone else for this shameless plug – although Little Yang would probably love to cuddle up to one of his favourite imaginary characters, in the night garden.