I heard about this on All Things Considered on my way home from work yesterday. In Georgia they are test marketing shopping carts with a car area for kids to ride in. That is not new, but the tv screen in the car is. Parents can rent them for $1 and the kids can watch one of three videos while the parents shop.
At first the story made me angry. The more I thought about it and after listening again, I was just sad for those kids and families who would use these carts on a regular basis. It seems like another example of having to have some sort of diversion at all times. So many kids spend so much time watching tv and videos, playing video and computer games. Now they can watch in a shopping cart. I can't imagine using this. Yes, it's a challenge sometimes to keep up conversation with Becky, watch that Carly isn't either grabbing everything she can reach or attempting to consume the metal bars of the shopping cart, while trying to actually do our shopping. On the other hand, we talk about the food, admire the produce, and have a generally good time when we're at the store. The mom and grandfather interviewed for the piece both made it sound like kids are a bother to be shuffled off to give us peace and quiet. Maybe it's because I work full time, but the time I get to spend with the girls is extra precious to me. Yes, I have meltdown times too, and shopping in stores like Kohl's with one adult and two small girls is not exactly a fun experience. But, I keep thinking about how I talk to the girls and how I act with them and I always want them to feel cherished, not inconvenient. There are times when I don't meet that expectation of myself, but I keep working on it.
By no means am I a perfect parent. By no means are my kids video-free. But, I hope I keep vigilant and don't slip into the attitude of the people I heard interviewed today.