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TV for Toddlers??

Poll Results: Do you let your todder watch TV

  • 26% (22)
  • 54% (45)
    Only certain shows (very restrictive)
  • 19% (16)
    Yes, we're pretty liberal about TV
  • 0% (0)
    Yes, anything they want
83 Total Votes  
post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm just curious about what others think about TV for their kids. I don't want dd to watch any TV, BUT..... I do let her watch Sesame Street. I'm very torn about this. On the one hand, she LOVES it & what can I say bad about SS. But, again, I really don't like her watching TV.

I'm curious what other families do.

post #2 of 24
I voted nothing. When we were living with my parents she was watching movies ONLY, no tv. Since moving out(2months ago) we have'nt the extra money for a tv or the extra electricity it uses up so we didn't buy one. We've been completely tv-free for 2 months and LOVING it. She's SO much more imaginative and playful and easier to handle. When other tv-free moms told me this about their children, I"m thinking, "yeah okay whatever. I don't think it could be that much of a difference." Boy was I wrong. I noticed the difference in the first week. Sometimes I miss having it when she's absolutely miserable and tired and I can't be "turned on" all the time for her. And sometimes I miss watching educational programs or just vegging out to a movie but I read a lot and do other activities at home so I get by. I didnt' want to be watching tv when I wasn't allowing her to.
post #3 of 24
I didn't vote because i fall somewhere between "very restrictive" and "pretty liberal." The kids watch PBS and Noggin, and movies. So no commercials. And no "big kid" programming.

Personally, I would be fine with being TV-free, but dh would never go for it. And it sure is nice to have 20-30 minutes to get dinner together and do some picking up in the evening.
post #4 of 24
Dd and ds have never watched a single TV show, movie, or video (Baby Mozart, etc.). I'm sure they will at some point in the next couple of years, but I know they're not ready for it yet.
post #5 of 24
I keep saying that our TV time is going to be cut way down, and then my energy level is low and the TV stays on. . .

Ds watches shows on Noggin and Disneyplayhouse, and Jay Jay the Jetplane on PBS. Dora the Explorer is his absolute favorite, with The Wiggles and JoJo right behind.
post #6 of 24
Only videos.
post #7 of 24
The AAP suggests no tv until a child is atleast 2 years old.
post #8 of 24

TV-free for 9 years and counting

DH and I have not had a tv since we got married. DH is a self-confessed tv addict, and neither of us want the temptation in the house. Sure, DS has occasionally seen tv at other people's houses, but by and large is unaware of its existence, which I'm very happy about.
We watch movies on the computer from time to time, when DS is in bed...

I do credit my son's long attention span and creative nature at least in part to the lack of tv in his life. I am totally against tv for young children.

The truth is, I have never spent an hour watching tv that I haven't felt *after the fact* that it was a waste of my time (when I visit my ILs the tv is on from dawn to dusk. Ugh). It's like a bad drug, it sucks me in and then once I turn it off I realize all the things I could have been doing instead that would have been more productive, including sleeping.

My .02
post #9 of 24
I am torn myself...

We have a tv and it is NEVER on while DS is up. We will turn it on after DS goes to bed. But we've fallen into a habit of letting DS watch Sesame Street when he's up at 6am and we can't keep him occupied with the usual books or trains.

On one hand, DS loves Sesame Street and laughs and learns and has so much fun while watching. On the other hand, I have DEFINITE view about children watching too much TV. And I've been very strict about it up until lately.

What to do????
post #10 of 24
My son is allowed to watch TV, but he only watches certain shows, and in certain amounts. We are particular about the videos he watches too. I don't borrow videos from the library or buy them unless I see a teaching value and then we watch them togetther and talk about the content. After its over, we play-act situations based on those presented in the movies.

I chose "pretty liberal" because I wouldn't say we are "very restrictive". Probably somewhere in the middle. We own dozens of movies but they all meet certain criteria.

Honestly he has learned quite a bit from movies and shows. One show he likes is Zobomafoo and it has piqued his interest in different types of animals. Then we go to the library and find books about that particular animal to learn more. We spend days pretending to be that animal, drawing pictures, and talking about it.

I would say my son watches at least 1 hour of television per day, but it is used as guided learning rather than a babysitter. We also play with blocks, puzzles, shoot baskets, read dozens of books, play outside with animals, take walks, listen to music, draw, color, cook, and clean together.

I consider my son to be very well rounded for a two and a half year old and I believe part of it is because of some of the exposure he's had through TV. We can't go to the zoo every week, but he knows all about tigers and can tell you about them in full sentences. When he's on a cooking kick we might watch an episode of Martha Stewart and then try her cooking recipe.

The Baby Mozart series has been great for my DS. It exposes him to classical music and reinforces the classical music he hears on the radio and what he overhears from the piano lessons I teach. He recognizes the songs when he hears them elsewhere, and research has suggested that certain classical music reinforces spatial learning.

We do have a profanity filter on our television, so if Dh is watching a show and DS happens to wander in, he isn't infiltrated with swearing and vulgarity even on "family" shows. If the TV is on in the evenings with something DH is wattching to unwind, DS and I usually play with puzzles or throw the football back and forth. TV is a fun family time for us, and i spend a lot of time choosing family movies from the library for us to watch together. Then we talk about what happened.

I personally thing TV itself is not the big deal. Its WHAT you are watching, what you are or aren't learning, and whether you are using it as pro-active to education or as a babysittter. All types of media can be used for good or for evil. We just choose to take the good and leave the bad.
post #11 of 24
Ditto what NormaJean said

With ds1, he didn't watch anything until he was over two, and then it was Barney tapes, on occassion. He wasn't really interested and watch little.

Flash to ds2, who is raring to go go go go all day. I recently started letting him watch Calliou and Barney dvds, and some Baby Einstein. It works for both of us. I can drink my coffee, he can be entertained; and in the case of barney and B.E., he loves the music and claps and dances and laughs. Even if I'm cooking or something while he watches, I sing along or say words along with the characters to make it more interactive.

Everything in moderation.

Oh, but definitely no commercials! Tapes/dvd's, and sometimes pbs kids- though they have commercials now (in my opinoin) so very rarely.

post #12 of 24
We don't own a TV, primarily because we don't want our daughter exposed to it. If I owned one, it would be hard not to have her see things that I was watching. Also, it would be very distracting for me.
post #13 of 24
We fall between very liberal and very restrictive also. I think there are many people who think we are liberal…especially those of you with an absolute tv policy…you rock, btw! BUT, there are also lots and lots of people who would consider us to be very restrictive.

We don’t have television programming in our house (we actually may but it involves plugging a cable into the wall and I don’t even know where that is). I don’t normally make a distinction between tv and videos though. I think we have 6 videos and my daughter watches them. Some months she was watching lots, especially when I was in language school for 4 hours/day with homework in the evenings. On normal weeks she watches between 20-1 hour about 3 days/week. To me this is acceptable.

The AAP's standards for TV seem strange to me. I accept the restriction for tv for children under 2 but then they say that after that it should be kept under 1-2 hours/day, which seems like a big leap. I don’t feel bad that we very slowly introduced tv at 18 months and plan on keeping it under 1hour/day (less than 7 days/week for a long time to come). I don’t see what magical thing happens at 2 years that would make 2 hours/day acceptable so the AAP’s standards for tv don’t really do it for me, kwim?

I admire those of you who have no tv though. I hope we can keep it limited (to our standards) for the rest of our lives but I know that will be a big challenge when we come back to the States. The tv was a big motivator for us to get out of the US while Aya was young.
post #14 of 24
My dd (my first child) did not watch tv until she was over 2 years old (I had actually hoped to get her to watch a half hour video at a time, so I could concentrate on learning to nurse ds, he was born when she was 18 months, but, she didn't go for it )

Well, I guess you could say ds has been exposed to it since about 6-8 months, which is when dd starting watching it (and I guess the new babe will be exposed to it from birth, since the older 2 watch it: )

I used to allow just 2 -20 minute shows a day (Dora and Blue), but then they started sitting through the commericals (where they used to get up as soon as the show ended and then come back in when they heard the next show start), so the "gimmies" started recently , so, onto tapes, no more than an hour a day of tv for the kids, and now, no commercials. Luckily, they play through the tv time as well (so it is not like they sit glued to it for an hour) and we split the hour up to 2- 1/2 hours most of the time.

I wanted to comment on this said earlier:
"I do credit my son's long attention span and creative nature at least in part to the lack of tv in his life."
I used to always tell people that my Mary doesn't have the attention span to watch tv. It is still that way really, with both kids, they just cannot sit for an entire show and pay attention (which is fine by me) But, they can play with play doh or markers and crayons for well over an hour, or listen to stories for long periods of time.

I think it is like anything else, moderation and parent involvement, and knowing your own childs needs with a balance for your own needs. For example, I do not use tv to babysit while I shower, but that is b/c I can trust my kids to play in their rooms while I shower, if I didn't trust that, I might use a video during that time. To each their own.
post #15 of 24
DD watches videos. Brainy Baby shapes and colors (she now knows all her shapes and colors!) and Sesame Street 123 and ABC are her faves - at least she chooses the educational stuff. LOL.

But seriously DH and I are thinking of getting it out of the house altogether.

When I was in college we did an experiment where a group of us had to sit around and stare at a cardboard box for 1/2 hour and experience the nothingness of it - the teacher said that was the same as wathcing TV, except with thinking. I have never forgotten that and when I watch TV, I still watch the people watching TV and it's kind of freaky.

it's not nicknamed the idiot box for nothing!
post #16 of 24
I fantasize about getting rid of the tv altogether. But we haven't done it yet. We have talked about getting rid of cable. Of course, the only channels dh and I ever watch are pbs, discovery, bravo and A&E, which are all cable channels. I really wouldn't care if we didn't get ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc. (my mom can tape West Wing for me!)

As for ds, he hadn't seen any tv or videos (unless we had the tv on) until he was 6 months old. Then someone gave us a video made by So Smart - it was black and white images slowly set to classical music. I would let him watch that maybe 1 or 2 times a week, usually when he was being really fussy and I was just at the end of my rope.

When he was about 1.5, I was collapsed on the couch early one morning after another bad night, and ds was playing with the remote control. He turned the tv on, and since dh had been watching pbs the night before, it was set to that channel, and Sesame Street was on. Ds was mesmerized, and I was eternally grateful for the break as I was so exhausted. But sometimes I wish we had never discovered it.

Now ds is 2.5. He pretty much watches Sesame Street each morning. On a really bad morning - if I'm sick or if we've had a bad night - he might even watch half of 2nd Sesame Street. We have 3 different Baby Einstein videos. I'd say he watches one on an average of every other day.

I am not proud of his tv watching though. On a 'bad' day, if you add up 2 Sesame Streets and a video, that's almost 2.5 hrs!

Growing up we had a rule that we had to ask to turn the tv on, and I plan on doing with with ds (which he actually already does). Dh's parents let him have free rein with the tv as a kid, and he resents it. He was overweight and had bad grades, and really wishes his parents would have turned the tv off and forced him to do something else. As an 8 year old, he didn't know to do this, but they as his parents should have.
post #17 of 24
Just wanted to second that nod to the AAP recommendation of no TV before the age of 2 (not that one must agree with everything the AAP recommends).

Also, couldn't resist the urge to answer that question about what could one possibly say against SS (I have to qualify that I haven't watched in a few years so I could be out dated). Are there any more female muppet characters than there used to be? Last time I watched there was Zoe and Grouchetta. Hmmmmm.... Never could figure out why. And yes that furry red monster is cute, but I've seen kids who are spoken to in that "baby talk" third person style adopt it for themselves when they begin to speak. If you look closely, you'll find that anything a TV producer puts on the air has some character flaws.

I'd like my dd's animated (meaning not "still" in a book) role models to be real people in the real world. I meet more and more children these days whose conversations revolve around TV, characters, and stories they've absorbed instead of made up themselves. They don't seem to be capable of talking about much else.
post #18 of 24
Another thing you could say against SS (that is fairly new - when I was little this was not true) is that their characters are marekted to kids all over the place. Elmo, Big Bird, they're everywhere in little plastic cars, stuffed animals, etc. This is one of my primary concerns with tv watching - that it exposes young people to commercial interests and turns them into consumers before they (or we) know what happened.
post #19 of 24
I voted none. We had no TV until my oldest was almost 3- then I got a TV to do yoga videos. I started letting her watch some videos when the new baby was born. After a few months we turned it off- its been off for about a year and moved downstairs. Ds is 20 months and hasn't seen any TV.
post #20 of 24
Originally posted by HannahSims

The AAP's standards for TV seem strange to me. I accept the restriction for tv for children under 2 but then they say that after that it should be kept under 1-2 hours/day, which seems like a big leap. I don’t feel bad that we very slowly introduced tv at 18 months and plan on keeping it under 1hour/day (less than 7 days/week for a long time to come). I don’t see what magical thing happens at 2 years that would make 2 hours/day acceptable so the AAP’s standards for tv don’t really do it for me, kwim?
I don't think the AAP is suggesting to not allow any TV and then on the second birthday BOOM start turning it on a good two hour dose a day. I think that they have just set guidelines to suggest moderation.

It is no secret that TV is a huge part of popular culture. I don't think that TV is evil but I think it can be. In other words it is how we use it that makes it a tool or a developmental blocking device.

I do not condone a parent allowing their three year old to watch TV whenever he/she wants. However the parent and child could sit down together in front of the TV and watch a show while interacting with each other. You can talk to the three year old about the shapes, colors, sing the songs together. In this way I feel the TV has become an interactive tool. An unnecessary one but it is a way that we can use a popular cultural pastime and make it useful.
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