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TV When Visiting Others

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all. If a thread about this particular issue has already been posted, please forgive me.


My DD (16 months) is completely TV free. We have no TV in the home and she is not allowed to have screen time (occasionally she looks at pictures of herself on my phone but that's IT). We are reaching the point when others expect her to be watching TV, and a recent incident at DH's grandmother's house made me realize that I need to come up with a strategy for dealing with TV when we are visiting family or friends.


DH's family constantly has the TV on, which is their business. Personally I wouldn't choose to go into someone else's home and ask them to turn off the TV because my child isn't allowed to watch (no offense to anyone else who does that, I'm just that way), but when we were visiting on Sunday DH's aunt was flipping through the channels and came upon Babe. She instantly turned to DD and said, "DD, do you want to see the piggy? Look at all the animals! See the sheep? Look!" DD kind of looked for a minute but wasn't interested since I was busy feeding her some beans (as a side note--why would you distract my baby with anything if she's happily eating? Grrr....)


So I guess my question is how do you guys politely tell family/friends that it's fine if they have the TV on for themselves but please don't put on kids shows solely for the childrens' benefit? My concern is that there's no way to convey the message without sounding condescending about TV in general or seeming upset that they have it on at all. Anyone have good language they use in this situation? We visit this house VERY often so this isn't a situation I could let go because it only happens once in a while, and DD is the only kid in the family who regularly visits, so if kids shows are being put on, it will only be for her. 


Sorry this is a bit long--this is my first post so I'm kind of getting used to how to do this!


post #2 of 9

I think you already said it. "Aww, thanks but you don't have to put on something for her. Just find something that you/everybody wants to watch, thanks anyway."


If they insist, you can say something like "hey, we were just going to pop outside a minute/gotta go pee/grabbing some water, go ahead and change it back to Oprah."


Another tactic: ask for some adult programming. "Wait, go back, was that The View?" lol.

post #3 of 9

Thanks for the input, laohaire! Those are good suggestions. 

post #4 of 9

I totally hear you!  My family has the TV on ALL of the time.  It is usually on old B&W cowboy movies, my grandpa's favorite, but often it is on something for the kids.  And yes, there are quite a few of them and they all watch tv all of the time when we aren't around (we are the ones that visit, the rest of my family live in close proximity).  At first, when my DS was between 12-16mos (the two times when we last visited) I worried a lot about what he was seeing and not wanting him to be influenced (especially by the commercials).  I tried then to spend most of our time outdoors or in another room.  We spent a lot of time in the kitchen "helping" with food, and taking walks.  A couple of times I found him staring from across the room at the tv.  If that happened I would crouch down next to him and ask him what he saw.  Then I would explain what I saw.  If you have ever tried to do this, you'll know how ridiculous it sounds.  "I see, a lady smelling her armpit.  Now she is making a funny face.  What do you think she smelled?  Now she is putting something up to her armpit.  Now she looks happy.  Hmmm.....  What do you think about that?"  "Funny, Mama"  I don't know if it helped to take the magic out or what, but he would divert his own attention and play with his cousins. 


I would also make a big deal about how nice and quiet it was outside, or how much easier it was to talk to family in the kitchen!  Everyone in my family already thinks I am nutters for many of my parenting choices, so I chose not to say anything to them about the tv thing.  Plus I am outnumbered about 15:1!  As far as the specific programming, I opt for the adult shows that aren't so flashy and gimmicky.  Or, I'll really play up NOVA or a documentary on amoebas or something like that if I see it (even the dog shows and stuff where you can talk to your DD about different breeds but the same species...).  Just remember that you are still Her World.  Make of it what you want her to take from it!  Oh and good luck!

post #5 of 9


Originally Posted by Mama505 View Post


I'll really play up NOVA or a documentary on amoebas or something like that if I see it (even the dog shows and stuff where you can talk to your DD about different breeds but the same species...). 


This makes me happy that my mom, who lives downstairs from us, mostly watches PBS (with some old B&W movies thrown in there).


That being said, I was amused when she wanted me and my LO (born on 11/28/11, only a couple weeks home from the hospital) to "watch Christmas specials" with her.  I'm not sure how much a newborn would get out of Christmas specials on the TV, considering she couldn't even SEE that far yet... orngbiggrin.gif



post #6 of 9

Thanks Mama505! I like the idea of just trying to be wherever the TV is not and playing up the benefits of quiet or no-TV spaces. Your thing about the deodorant commercial cracked me up! Commercials are SO ridiculous, especially when you break them down like that.


Glassesgirlnj, DH and I watch a little PBS on the computer sometimes, too smile.gif  That's so funny about the Christmas specials! It's pretty sweet, in a way.

post #7 of 9

I think you can just say "we don't watch a lot of tv.  Obviously it's fine for you to have tv on in your home, but don't put on any special shows for dd" 


Your daughter is not even 2 yet, so really you shouldn't feel bad about not wanting her to watch tv.  Even the AAP says not screen time before two years old.  If they really push you on it, then just be firm but polite.  I just told my parents "I really would like DS to engage the world in other ways - e.g. with books, toys, or outside rather than watching tv. I think it's healthier for him at this young age. I hope you understand."     I'm sure they totally opined about how looney i am behind my back :), but they totally accepted it.  And actually now they hardly ever have the tv turned on when we're there, which although i never asked for, i really appreciate!

post #8 of 9

We don't watch TV either - (myself and our daughters, ages 19mos. & 3 yrs.) Occasionally my DH will watch a 1/2 hour late at night before bed, but we only have 3 channels. We just plain don't have the TV on. Many of our friends and family know we're not a TV family, so not a huge deal - they are usually respectful (and sometimes curious!) of that.


I have found though, that my daughters do not have any interest in TV or movies at others houses, etc. They'll stare at the TV for a minute and go find something else to do, but usually will ask to go outside & play. I too, was worried about TV at others houses, but it seems that, so far, they have no interest.


Sometimes, another mom will ask, "What movies/shows would you like on for your girls?"   I usually say, "Thanks anyway but they are fine just playing."


I do get frustrated with parents who say, "Really? Your kids don't watch TV? Oh, just wait, when they get to age ____, you won't be able to get them away from it" or "Wait until they get into Dora, Barney, etc. etc. you won't be able to turn the TV off." I usually just smile and nod, secretly wanting to scream.

post #9 of 9

We don't have any t.v., movies, game systems, etc.  Our two year old, thus far, has been completely uninterested in t.v. when visiting ILs or others with t.v.  So far, so good, but I know his exposure will change as he ages.  MIL is always telling us, "Oh, I taped these shows for him" (though she knows we don't have t.v.) and we just say thank you but leave them there.  She's only babysat him once, but it was at our place.  I am sure he will watch stuff when he is older and expresses a request to be there without DH or I, but for now, it's our rules at our house. 


OP--if you used your real name and picture, you may want to open a different account.  Conversations on MDC are internet-searchable by name/screen name, and threads show up on Fb, I'm told, and other places.  Just a caution.

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