anyone NOt limit TV time? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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My ds is 4. Up until now we have limited his tv viewing to various degrees. We have been TV free at some points, at other times he has been allowed to watch 30 minutes-1.5 hours a day.
I am at the point where I am tired of feeling anxious about the tv and obsessivly monitoring the number of minutes watched per day
It is becoming an issue that i dont want to struggle with him about anymore. he enjoys some tv, he likes the "break" and so do I. I know all the theoretical arguments for being tv free, but for MY child I dont see ill effects from the level of tv he watches now.
I dont feel like it interferes with his creativity or physical activity level. We still do a lot in addition to some tv. We dont have cable so he is limited to pbs and videos, so no comercial inffluence.
Anyway my point is I'm toying with the idea of letting go of control of this issue somewhat and letting him have a go at self regulating the tv. It rained all day yesterday and i think he watched about three hours spread throughout the day.
I am interested in hearing from others who dont worry all that much about the tv...
How much do your kids end up watching on an average day?
Why DONT you regulate?
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#2 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:23 PM
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I'm interested to hear people's responses to this. This won't be an issue at my house for a while (baby won't be born until next month!), but I'm not sure how it's going to play out. We don't really watch TV much to begin with (maybe a few hours a week, for special events or news), so I'm not sure how much active, conscious restriction it's going to take to limit DD's exposure. I'd rather it not be a control issue, just one of modeling.
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#3 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:33 PM
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I tend not to regulate how much b/c he(my 4.5 yr. old) isn't parked in front of the tv all day. He's up playing, running, jumping, pretending to be the characters on tv, dancing, etc.. We do have tv free times, or times when only mommy gets to watch 'mommy' shows(re-runs of old shows, movies I like, etc), but for the most part, the tv is just background noise during the day. Hey, it's just me and him for 10-12 hours a day and it gets boring w/no other noise. I've realized that I become bored w/o it b/c it's the only other adults I hear during the day..

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#4 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:37 PM
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I'm with you : . I have yet to see the adverse affects of t.v. on my kids, however on the days when we are outside ALL day with no t.v. they are much less "wound-up & hyper" .
I have been shutting the t.v. off for periods during the day just to limit the constant noise level
I grew up with free-unlimited tv time, maybe that's why I have no problem with it.....yet
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#5 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:45 PM
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we don't regulate-never have. the grownups in the house on average watch less than two hours a week, and we're very active as a family, and the girls are active on their own. So TV is not a big focus in any of our lives. BUT there are times when we watch more than others. I try to teach them that it's for enrichment, not to be used as a filler. So it will be like Cirque du Soleil is on tonight, or Meerkat Manor is on tonight-let's make popcorn, etc. etc. I grew up for the most part tv free, and dh didn't have access to a lot growing up, so it comes naturally I suppose. I have an ex who was really addicted to tv-maybe because he was an actor/performer, but he was always trying to cut back and it was hard for him.

SOmething I've decided as I've gone along is that I want the girls to learn to self-regulate-whether it be with tv, sweets, etc.-I want them to learn to have these things around without being obsessed by them. I hope the approach I've chosen works!
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#6 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:45 PM
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I don't regulate tv for kids, mostly b/c I don't regulate for myself. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, as did dh. It's on all day, for background noise, if nothing else. Sometimes they sit and watch, usually they're playing, coloring, reading, etc., around the tv. They're also in and out of the house to the backyard.

I've always thought if you make it taboo, they'll want it more. When I was a kid, I didn't have an atari, but a friend of mine did. Every time I went to her house, I wanted to play the atari the ENTIRE time, but she wanted nothing to do with it. Having it available to her all the time, but not to me, made different opinions about how fun/important it was.

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#7 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 12:55 PM
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We don't limit DD's TV time per se, but the TV is generally not on during the day, until DH gets home at 5pm-ish. She does watch a show while eating breakfast in the morning and another is on while she gets ready for school, but she's not really sitting watching it.

She will watch the occasional movie during the day, but seldom does she actually sit and watch it. she'll often start it, then go off and play elseware in the house and occasionally come back to watch it. Only time she'll sit and watch a whole movie is if it's one she's never seen, only seen once (like we went to the theatre and it just came out on DVD) or if she's sick and not up and around anyway.
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#8 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 01:06 PM
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and I don't feel that limiting his tv is one I choose to have... he does not obsess over tv, I think he uses it at a decompression after pre school.... and he enjoys it. I prefer dora the explorer or blues clues over say fairly odd parents or spongebob BUT noone tells me what I can and can't watch... he runs and plays and does other things...So I don't worry about it.... I think alot of people get very uptight about tv watching, but I grew up with TV and I feel I am a well adjusted mature woman with a wonderful imagination. and I enjoy the background noise or it gets pretty quiet here during the day.... maybe I should be ashamed or apologize for this... but I don't.
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#9 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 01:29 PM
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I don't care how much tv he watches! We WISH he would want to watch more as ... especially as i was a sahm for almost 3 yrs (he's 3 1/2 now) and he is/was a high needs baby/kid and was "up my butt" all day and all night... I DREAMED of him wanting to watch tv!

In reality... he loves dora and power rangers. If they're on he'll watch them for 1/2 hour at a time... he watches MAYBE an hour of tv a day.
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#10 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 02:53 PM
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We only limit it in that we are careful about what DD watches - nothing with too frenetic a pace or too unhappy.

Other then that, she kind of limits it herself. Some days she doens't watch at all, some days 1 show, some 4 shows, and when she is sick, even more. Though even during the shows, she doensn't just sit blankly in front of the screen (unless sick), so I don't worry about it as much as I might if she did sit blankly.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is really good for getting the kids to be interactive and thinking while watching TV. I highly recommend it!

interesting discussion!
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#11 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 02:57 PM
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I don't regulate TV time. Heck, I don't regulate much of anything. Thankfully, he does make good choices regarding TV and video games. He might watch 30 minutes to an hour of TV a day (during which he is up playing with toys and things in addition to watching whatever is on), and he plays about 30 minutes of (mostly educational) video games a day. If he was more inclined to sit in front of the TV all day long, I might have to intervene a little more.

I also wanted to add that I don't view TV as "bad" or think it rots children's brains. My son has come out with things that he has learned from TV, that it never would have occurred to me to teach him about in real life.
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#12 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 03:04 PM
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I don't regulate tv time at all. I do however ask that she watch things in her room sometimes (yup, a tv in there too! because mama wants to watch something she isn't interested in. We're unschoolers and in general don't limit many things that others do (tv, food, computer etc..)

She likes it to be on a lot of the time but rarely actually SITS to watch it. Usually she's running, climbing and playing too.

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#13 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 03:14 PM
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I was never aloud to watch T.V when I was a kid until I got kicked out at 15, for some reason my mom and step dad would go as far as to feel the T.V when they got home to see if it was warm then they could tell I was watching it : WTF? I never want to put my kids through that. I have never really put a limit on how much he watches. But I do monitor what he watches. He does have his days where I think he watches to much, the I do monitor it. But for the most part he is up and down, inside and outside all day, so he really isn't watching T.V all day YKWIM? Dad just recently put a small T.V and VCR in DS room, I really did not like that idea, but, it is kinda like leverage if you don't keep you room clean you get the T.V taken away. Works like a charm, his room was a war zone most of the time, I would help him clean it, by the end of the day it was a war zone again.
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#14 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 03:54 PM
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We don't limit TV all that much; I do try to not have it on ALL day, but as I've gotten more pregnant and more uncomfortable, it's been on more than I'd ideally like, but there's only so much I can do right now. And DH and I are both children of the 70s - much TV viewing! - and are pretty dang smart and thoughtful (PhD and JD, respectively).

We do monitor content - any daytime TV is kids' programming, mostly of the non-cartoon/too commercialized variety. And I sit with DD while she watches and we talk about what we see, how the characters are acting, etc. DD will also occasionally ask for FoodTV ("Mama, let's watch Rachael Ray!"), which cracks me up. But I consider that sort of programming to have some useful content, too, so it's OK by me. Any adult programming DH or I want to see gets recorded on the Tivo, to be viewed when DD is out or asleep.

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#15 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 04:06 PM
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we don't regulate TV. sometimes he watches lots of TV and sometimes not much at all. depends.

we just spent 3.5 days with no TV because the power was out and i do see that he uses it to decompress from being stimulated, as long as nothing else is going on. TV at his grandma's with grandma hovering and grandpa winding him up and the the cats and toys and all that stuff going on just makes him nuts. he is very much like dad and dad uses TV to wind down and destress.

i was surprised that it took almost 2 hours after the power came back on for him to ask about the TV.

i do make him turn the TV off after daddy comes home though, it's just too much going on otherwise. (and i hate what's on after 4PM other than reading rainbow... which kinds confuses me anyway... a TV show about reading? it's like the shows that are supposed to make kids get up and move, uh, okay...)

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#16 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 04:35 PM
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I don't regulate, either. Ds is also a high needs/spirited type and I am happy if he will watch tv a while. I find it to be self limiting since we don't have cable. It is on a lot because ds has an extreme sound sensitivity and is afraid of being startled by a sudden noise. I tell him when his favorite shows are on since he can't tell time. He will watch if he is bored or tired. He would usually rather do something fun with other people. He gets annoyed when others come over and want to watch tv instead of play.

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#17 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 04:57 PM
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I don't regulate TV in that I don't have a set limit - it's situational for us and depends very much on the day, weather, my energy, etc. DD is only 18 months and may glance at whatever her brother is watching, and will usually wander away to do something more interesting. If DS is up at 6am, he'll watch a good chunk of TV that morning (sorry, I just can't do puppet shows at 7am ) But on those days I'll try to balance the rest of the day with less TV. We're an "everything in moderation" type family and I look for balance - quiet play with active play, outside time, me playing with them v. kids playing together on their own, etc. TV is part of the spectrum. If it's a rainy day and I've got a cold, I don't beat myself if Noggin is on a lot. I will, however, be mindful of that and cut back on the following day. It's not a big issue in our house. Both kids are very active, get plenty of outdoor and physical play as well as quieter, more focused activities (puzzles, being read to, playing with the blocks, etc.) We go lots of places and do interesting things...TV is just part of the world for us.

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#18 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 05:00 PM
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I do some regulating. During the school week they are allowed to watch one 30 minute show before we go up for the bedtime routine. This is because homework needs to be completed and they have after school activities. It is a nice decompression. On the week-ends I am alot more lax about it. How much is watched really depends on what we have going on that week-end. If they are being too zombieish I will turn it off. I monitor what they watch more then regulate how much they watch.

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#19 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 05:20 PM
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We do limit on a case by case situation, like when it feels like it's been on long enough and there's really nothing good on and there are better things to do, like play outside.

We also limit the shows we watch, only PBS and movies (though there are some non-PBS shows that we get on DVD like KimPossible), which makes it easier to not worry about the TV, because it's rarely showing something we don't want to expose them to.

Because of all this, I don't really have any issues with the TV. The kids have shows they love, and they are mostly good shows that cover subject matter that I like them seeing, like Nature, Nova, CyberChase, and Fetch! And they also love gardening, cooking and home improvement shows, and how many kids do you know that are into that sort of stuff?

Some days turn into TV/movie days, and some days it's barely turned on at all.

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#20 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 05:32 PM
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i *should* say, we do control *what* he watches.

i don't allow my son to watch TV that has commericals... like nick jr. or cartoon network or broadcast TV. i am really picky about that.

we don't allow comericals or violent images. even lilo and stitch is sometimes too violent for me. and my son *adores* lilo and stitch. it's a tough call, but as long as he isn't watching power rangers or watching ads for mickey d's or lucky charms i guess we're doing okay.

i guess since he's four and doesn't know what a gun is, (other than the one on lilo and stitch) we're going okay.

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#21 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 08:56 PM
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We do limit somewhat right now with our ds who is almost 4. We try to stick to an hour/day which ends up being two 30-minute shows. We've had an easier time lately because he has started going to school 2-3 days/week and those days he rarely has a chance to watch TV. And he doesn't watch much on the weekends because dh is home and with two parents it's usually easier to find someone to play with. He only watches kids programming with no commercials.

I tend to use the TV as down time for myself during the week when dd (17 months) is sleeping. If I can get ds to watch for 30 minutes I can actually take a moment and sit down and read my own book.

I don't watch any TV during the day. I only watch a bit after the kids have gone to bed in the evenings so I "think" I'm setting a good example.

I do think that we should maybe try letting ds self-regulate. There have been moments when he chooses to just turn it off. This morning he watched for 10 minutes before he decided that being upstairs with dh, dd and myself would be more fun. My only issue is that I really don't want dd being exposed to too much TV. She doesn't show much interest at all right now but I don't like the idea of her sitting down and watching for any extended period of time.

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#22 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 08:57 PM
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i think if we had cable i would have to limit my dd's tv watching. otherwise she does pretty well on her own. the only time we get cartoons are the mornings. we do a lot of activities so she is just not watching cartoons. sheis the type who will can watch tv straight for 2 - 4 hours and then not watch for weeks.

it is because she self regulates that i have let gone any limits.

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#23 of 63 Old 10-16-2006, 09:55 PM
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We don't limit TV at all. Just like a pp said, we're unchoolers, so we don't limit a whole lot. Some days he watches quite a bit, and others none at all. I can say he doesn't just sit and veg in front of the tv much. He usually gets up after 5 minutes and starts doing something else.
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#24 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 10:25 AM
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I think content is just as important, if not more, than the quantity of time they watch it. I regulate WHAT they watch and I don't let it go overboard as far as time goes. I know what you mean about not stressing over it and I totally agree that if you make certain things taboo, then they become REALLY interested in those thing later on. Like I've relaxed my stance on sugar and cookies and things. Just maybe when they have a cookie, then only have half or something and I don't stress about preschool snacks. Then I get them to listen, reason why there isn't too much sugar etc and they understand.

Same thing with tv. my oldest dd, almost 4, knows there are shows even on Noggin, I don't care for. So we got tivo because i didn't like them watching one show while i was in the shower, only to have it change over to something i didn't like after that. So for my girls, i limit it to Blues Clues (my personal favorite), Barney, Dora (which was a jump for me but I started to see the value in it), Diego, Little Bear and recently we added Clifford. Along those lines. I will usually let them only watch a couple at at a time and we save movies for when they are sick and i need them planted for a longer time. But I too, grew up in a household where the tv was on ALL the time. It was just my father and I so it was super quiet, and it was mostly me alone when i got older, so there had to be something. I thought i would never be able to shut it off when i had kids. But I made myself do it because I didn't want them watching regular daytime tv. I think they take in much more than we think. But now I find I actually like it that way. With three little ones close in age, our house is never quiet! and even when they leave, I sometimes enjoy the peace and don't want the tv on. Not to mention, having three kids has REALLY shifted my priorities, so whenever I do watch tv like Regis or something, it really seems so petty and mindless. I do miss my soaps thooooo......ahhhh the Young and the Restless.

Truly also, this time goes so fast and as soon as you know it you'll be able to have it on all day, but that means they will all be in school (if you send them) and then I'll probably be turning on blues clues myself because i'll miss them!
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#25 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 11:11 AM
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I have been struggling with TV issues for about a year and it's b/c I DO limit and regulate, and sometimes I think if I just left it on a lot more and didn't keep nagging DD ("this is the last show, turn it off after this show" etc), then this would be one of many battles that I wouldn't have to deal with. Basically since the end of my 2nd pregnancy DD was approaching 2.5 and I needed to rest more, she started watching more. Yes, I use the TV as a babysitter, both in the morning and afternoon, she watches up to 2 hrs a day total now, she's almost 3.5. It's an incentive for her to get dressed for preschool in the morning, and then in the afternoon I use it so that I don't have to play with her, and that she's out of my hair. It sounds terrible, but it's the truth. We do plenty of creative and active things together, she has a a wonderful imagination, vocabulary, etc. She also uses the computer for about 20 min a day when I'm putting the baby to sleep, I nurse her laying down and sometimes it takes 15 or 20 min and DD needs to be quiet at this point since we live in a small 2BR apt.

I've read some of the no TV threads, since sometimes I feel like throwing the TV in the garbage, b/c DD has gone through phases of constantly asking for it. I don't know how people do it, I try to involve her in cooking, cleaning, playing next to me while I do things, but sometimes she's not interested and I need to get things done. I read the Plug in Drug, and understand the issues, but in my reality I need TV. I really don't have the patience to regulate as much as I'd like in an ideal world. And, if it gives me some sanity, why not? I'd rather park her in front of the TV than be yelling at her! It always goes back to the fact that we are a nuclear family, I'm home with DD (aside from 2 hrs of her school, but still have the baby) for anywhere from 10-12 hrs a day with no one else to help play with her, do housework, etc.

I admit I have criticized a couple of people I know for having the TV in the backround ALL DAY, but if it makes that persons life easier, why not!?
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#26 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 11:31 AM
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I'll tell you what has worked for us.... There is a TV in my bedroom (for Law and Order after the kids go to bed ), and one in the attic room (like a big guest room area). There is no TV on the main floor of the house, or anywhere we really hang out. So, honestly, it just never comes up! Certainly if dd asks to watch a video, she can. But that only happens about once every 3-4 months, and usually when she's not feeling well. And she does not really want to be off somewhere else, when everyone is downstairs anyway. This way, it's not a battle, not a struggle, and I'm not monitoring anything or making it taboo, but she watches almost none anyway.
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#27 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 12:05 PM
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The only thing that bothers me about our tv is that it's so dang big! DH wanted a 60" tv because he (and I, too) love movies. It really is great for watching movies, but it is awfully "in your face" for regular tv watching because our LR is quite small.

I tried limiting tv for DS, but it always turned into a battle that ultimately I decided wasn't worth fighting. I don't want to have an oppositional relationship with him over something that in the grand scheme of things is not that huge of a deal for us.

I do limit what shows he watches, just not the time. During the week he is at school all day and then plays with his friends next door, so he rarely watches tv during the week. On the weekend mornings, he watches a little more, but I do then tell him that tv time is over for the day. Usually we are out of the house by then anyway, so it's not an issue. DS also loves movies and I don't mind at all if he watches them. He likes things like Tim Burton (Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas) and Hiyao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service), so he's watching what we consider to be quality movies and something that we enjoy watching with him.
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#28 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 05:31 PM
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unschooling non-regulating here ds is almost 4, very spirited, and like others who have said similar things, he both uses it to decompress and also rarely sits and watches. I do try to keep an eye on content, but even for that I let ds be the guide. there are some shows that I think "yikes!" so I'll test the waters and see if he's vested in watching it. right now I've learned that if it's a cartoon, he's clear that it's not real and likes for it to "be scary" and "have bad guys." my guy definitely knows what a gun is : but then that's also because we live on a farm and hunting is a regular thing around here... at any rate, I'm not proud that his favorite shows are tom and jerry and pokemon, but that's what he loves and I'm not going to tell him he's bad for liking them, kwim? b/c that's what he would feel if I said I didn't like what he likes. he does *not* like to watch anything with real people in it and is very sensitive to violence with real people, fictitious or not. he is being affected by commercials now, and I'm trying to figure that one out, but basically I figure he's going to need to learn about them so it's a teachable moment

that's my .02!

Julia, treehugger.gifintactlact.gif homebirth.jpg  mom to jumpers.gif blogging.jpg

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#29 of 63 Old 10-17-2006, 05:47 PM
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We don't regulate it. My dh is addicted to tv, unfortunately, so it's always on when he's home. We have our big tv in the living room, which is dh's tv and a small one in our play room where dd will watch pbs kids sprout shows. That's the only channel I let her watch, though. When I'm home with her the tv isn't on that often, I never watch my own shows during the day (I'd rather spend my time on MDC!). But at night when dh is home, we'll watch some shows together and we'll have her tv on then, too so she can watch her own shows.

Jenn, future midwife, mama to 2 sweet girls (6/05) and (5/07). 
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#30 of 63 Old 10-18-2006, 11:55 AM
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The only regulating we do is content. Its pretty much on cartoons all the time. Its on, but the kids arent always watching it. They have their favs: Dora, Blues Clues and such. My husband finally put a little tv in our kitchen so I could at least watch the news while I make dinner. I felt sooo out of touch with the My daughters have learned some spanish from tv and some signs which I didnt know. Plus we usually watch Blues Clues together or Dora so that we can answer their questions as a group..
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