For parents who can’t get their two- to five-year-olds to bed, KIDS Sprout, a cable and satellite network, will offer “The Goodnight Show,” three hours of “soothing stories and music that encourages toddlers to wind down and get ready for bed.”
Seattle pediatrician Donald Shifrin, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee that studies television and children, does not recommend that parents make the KIDS Sprout show — or any other — part of their children’s bedtime routine.
“The bedtime routine is one of the most sacred times for parents,” Shifrin said. “What we’d like is to have parents take them there with cuddling, with books, with songs, even with audio tapes.”
For years, I read my daughter two books — “Goodnight, Moon” and a rotating selection — and sung her three songs at bedtime. Before leaving the room, I’d say, “There are no bears or wolves in Palo Alto. They live a long way away.” Then I’d tell her what I had on my feet, usually nothing, so she could predict the sound of my footsteps on the wood floor. (That’s my theory on why she wanted to know. I’m not certain.)
I suspect that parents who can’t figure out how to prepare their children for bed should start with less TV, not more TV.