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Creative parenting expert Nikki Bush has helped hundreds of thousands of parents to build fabulous relationships with their children by turning very ordinary, everyday moments into extraordinary memories. Nikki helps today’s busy parents to future-proof their children despite their busyness. Her wisdom, creativity and practical ideas are the solution for parents who are long on love and short on time.

Nikki’s work is fuelled by her passion for play, connection and relationships. She is a sought-after speaker and co-author of three bestselling books: Future-Proof Your Child (Penguin), Easy Answers to Awkward Questions (Metz Press) and Tech-Savvy Parenting (Bookstorm).

We took some time to chat to Nikki about her TV favourites and her top tips for kids.

Tell us a little about what projects you’re working on at the moment that you’re excited about?

A new book about learning through play, and preparing more content and insight into the changing world of work and how this will impact on our children.

What shows or movies have you been enjoying on Showmax?

I’m loving the Young Pope series and watching some movies that I missed on the big screen.

What classic series do you enjoy?

Downton Abbey and The Borgias.

What’s your #ShowmaxAddiction?

 

What do you like about internet TV?

As a busy working mother, I am really enjoying being able to ‘watch TV’ on my laptop in my kitchen while doing some of the more mundane chores like shredding a whole chicken or peeling potatoes if I am alone and the children are out. Chores and series done for the day. I love being able to multitask!

And now, related to kids:

What is a good rule of thumb in terms of screen time for kids at different ages?

In preschool, only about an hour a day – children need to be moving more than sitting in front of a screen for maximum brain development. The body is the architect of the brain, so movement is essential.

In primary school, we talk about a rule of thumb of two hours total screen time in a day (TV, gaming, etc, all added together). In high school, it will be much more because they use screens so much for their schoolwork.

The important question parents should ask themselves is, “What else is my child doing in a day besides screen time?” That is a better way of evaluating whether children are on screens too much.

How important is it to set up a kids profile?

With multiple family members of different ages sharing the same account, it is wise for parents of children, especially preschoolers and primary school children, to create profiles that are specific to each family member to prevent them being exposed to inappropriate content.

As the parent, you stay in charge and you choose when they can view a programme. Make sure your account is PIN protected, so you have to unlock it before handing the device or the remote control over to your child. A few minutes spent doing this in the beginning will save a lot of heartache later.

Until age 13, you should decide what your children watch and when. Don’t give away control of the remote control or your small screens too soon.

There are lots of classic South African kids shows on Showmax, such as Liewe Heksie and Wielie Wielie Walie. Do you think these would still be enjoyed by kids today? If so, which ones do you think are still relevant?

I love them all. The nice thing about them is that parents can build a bridge to their children through series that they are familiar with. For younger children, these series are nice and slow, which is just perfect vs some of the much faster and less gentle shows. Also, if learning Afrikaans/English as a second language, this is also great to do at an early age, especially under three years for maximum absorption.

And lastly, which educational shows or programmes do you recommend on Showmax?

I took a little tour of the Kids’ Section and the following jumped out for me as reinforcing early learning concepts:

  • Wonder Pets: Encourages helping and nurturing. Creates awareness of environmental issues. Builds vocab and general knowledge.
  • The Hero of Colour City: Reinforces colour through colourful crayon adventures. Once again focuses on helpfulness.
  • Super Why: Reinforces the power of reading, words and spelling and how these skills decode and unlock the world.
  • Monster Math Squad: Makes playing with numbers fun.

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