When my older four kids were little I read a lot about the evils of television. Plug-in Drug and all that. I was never 100% comfortable with no TV, though, and while we have not paid for TV most of our marriage (mainly because I hate ads, honestly), we’ve still had streaming and bought individual TV shows and what not.

Since we’ve had the kids, and especially Elijah, I’ve become even more of a fan of Edutainment for little kids. Because of what he went through, Elijah missed a lot of the typical exposure to age-appropriate education when he was little. He went to daycare off and on, but I’m not impressed with the ones he went to. It was more Lord of the Flies baby-sitting than anything else.

He didn’t watch much educational stuff on TV. No PBSKids (Ani looks back fondly on some of those “preschool on TV” shows she watched). Most of his TV watching was Power Rangers and Shark Boy and Lava Girl. No educational content and not age-appropriate (he had just turned 5 when he moved in with us).

At the beginning of kindergarten, it became clear he was not at the level of the majority of his class. Most of the kids at least knew how to count to 20 (he could count to 10) and recognized several letters (he recognized 3) and knew the sounds many of those letters make (he knew zero). He was iffy on shapes, but did know most of his colors.

Since he’s been with us, we’ve gotten him off the habit of watching TV all the time and when he does watch TV, we’ve gotten away from the shows for older kids and steered him toward shows for kids his age and younger. The babies love Little Baby Bum and Elijah has actually learned a lot from those animated songs.

Today, almost 2/3 of the way through kindergarten, Elijah can count to 100 by 1s and 10s, he recognizes all his letters both uppercase and lowercase, knows the letter sounds (though he’s still iffy on y), knows a bunch of sight words, knows both 2 and 3D shapes, and so much more.

It’s really incredible how much progress he’s made. It’s really a testament to what a young child’s brain can do. He may have missed out on that first three years of good brain development, but he’s catching up. I just can’t help but wish that he’d been in a better daycare or went to pre-k last year or had watched even just a little edutainment instead of so much Power Rangers. I think it would’ve made a huge difference in his life.

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