TV you allow vs. your ideal - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 70 Old 11-16-2010, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering what your limits are? 

 

I'm comfortable with 30 minutes a day.  I feel okay about one hour day (two shows, one in the morning, one late afternoon).  Over 1 hour in a row without turning the tv off really bugs me, but I do it a few days a week anyway.

 

I restrict a lot of what DS (2.5) watches.  Mostly it is PBS shows - Super Why and Dinosaur Train.  Occasionally Sesame Street, Curious George, or Sid the Science Kid.  The only movie he's seen is Babies. 

 

I get frustrated with myself because I'll have a few good days in a row (just Super Why - his favorite), but then I'll get in a slump of the whole PBS line up from 9am-11am.  Depending on how the day goes, we'll also do tv from 4pm-5pm while I wait for DH to get home from work.  I don't hate tv and watch a lot of it myself...and there are times I want to use it, like when I put DD down for her morning nap (9am).  I know all I need to do is turn it off, turn on the music or get us outside, but I don't.  Today I was in a good cleaning rhythm and didn't want to stop DS' "trance" by turning off the tv.  I say trance, but after about 20 minutes, he gets up and plays while the tv is on.

 

Anyway...what are your comfort levels with TV and how often do you go beyond them?


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#2 of 70 Old 11-16-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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We limit DS to 30 mins a day.  He just watches Curious George which I record on the DVR.


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#3 of 70 Old 11-16-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Well, my goal is no television... just SuperMommy taking them on hikes and organizing arts and craft projects and baking bread and whatever.

 

Um, yeah.

 

Sometimes we go weeks and weeks with no television... and then a week where it's on 4 hours a day.  Or more.

 

I just had a new baby, and towards the end of pregnancy there we definitely watched more than I'm comfortable with.  But I was just so tired and the weather was so bad (I swear it rained every day for weeks) that it was a necessary evil.  My mother is still here to help out with the older kids, but once she leaves I anticipate that the TV will be used as a babysitter to keep the older kids quiet and busy when I need to put the baby down for her morning nap or whatever.  That was pretty much how it went with DD when DS was born.

 

So while my ideal is no television, it is a very useful parenting tool and I really try not to sweat it when they watch more than I'd really like.  Screen time in and of itself isn't going to be my hill to die on... though certain programs are.  TV almost never goes on before Curious George comes on at 3... if it does, they watch something on Netflix.  


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#4 of 70 Old 11-16-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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Nicole, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you.  Except once or twice a month DD will watch a movie with DH and me (we love Muppet movies).  I know the week leading up to Christmas is going to be movie crazy since DH and I love Christmas movies, but the week after we'll be visiting relatives and she hardly ever watches TV there.


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#5 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 06:00 AM
 
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We are a football crazy family. So, ds sees football on the weekends. SO more then I would like, but he doesn't actually pay that much attention to it.

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#6 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 06:10 AM
 
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Our ideal is no TV.

 

DS occasionally watches a football game with DH. And by 'watches' I mean, randomly stares up at the TV once every 30 minutes or so. But he loves it lol.

 

Also DH & I watch more TV than I'd like in the evenings (from about 10pm-midnight) & DS is exposed to that since he doesn't go to bed 'til after 11:30. I hate that he is being exposed to more "adult" content (though nothing worse than hanging out with the inlaws for a couple hours lol) but I am too exhausted by that point to do much else besides read a book to him & play on the bed while we watch a few shows. He's obviously not interested in the shows but he does like the new mac commercial for some strange reason...

 

So I guess he is mostly TV-free but our house is not & that would be my ultimate goal.


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#7 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 06:28 AM
 
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Nicole, I'm about the exact same as you.  I would prefer DD to get somewhere between 0-30 minutes a day but she normally gets more. :(  Part of the problem is that she's a really exhausting kid and is very verbal right now, constantly asking questions (many times the same questions over and over and over again).  I do my best to answer them and explain them in a way that she can *hopefully* understand but since she doesn't take naps anymore I never get a break (besides the days that I work but that's hardly a break).  Lately she's been less interested, which has helped to decrease her screen time.  We've rearranged some things at our apt and have gotten a lot of things out of storage since we're moving so she has a lot of "new" things to play with.  We're also running errands almost non-stop so we're not at home nearly as much anymore.

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#8 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 06:43 AM
 
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Nicole, my goal is 0 T.V. but I often find myself letting him watch 3 shows, one in the morning, one after nap, and one before bed if he gets ready nice and quick without complaining.  It's not ideal, but he can't just keep watching the next show since we don't have actual T.V. and he is watching episodes that that are available instantly on Netflix.  There are days when I just can't do it between a teething baby and a cranky toddler and if he is content with another show I'll put it on so I can get some peace.  As the baby gets older and more fun to interact with I intend to make sure that the t.v. viewing will decrease, but right now she needs the break from her older brother almost as much as I need him to sit still for a while.


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#9 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by physmom View Post

Nicole, I'm about the exact same as you.  I would prefer DD to get somewhere between 0-30 minutes a day but she normally gets more. :(  Part of the problem is that she's a really exhausting kid and is very verbal right now, constantly asking questions (many times the same questions over and over and over again).  I do my best to answer them and explain them in a way that she can *hopefully* understand but since she doesn't take naps anymore I never get a break (besides the days that I work but that's hardly a break).  Lately she's been less interested, which has helped to decrease her screen time.  We've rearranged some things at our apt and have gotten a lot of things out of storage since we're moving so she has a lot of "new" things to play with.  We're also running errands almost non-stop so we're not at home nearly as much anymore.


Yeah, my son doesn't nap anymore either.  We do quiet time for about one hour in his room, but still - the day gets long.


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#10 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 08:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lach View Post

Well, my goal is no television... just SuperMommy taking them on hikes and organizing arts and craft projects and baking bread and whatever.

 

Um, yeah.

 

Sometimes we go weeks and weeks with no television... and then a week where it's on 4 hours a day.  Or more.

 

I just had a new baby, and towards the end of pregnancy there we definitely watched more than I'm comfortable with.  But I was just so tired and the weather was so bad (I swear it rained every day for weeks) that it was a necessary evil.  My mother is still here to help out with the older kids, but once she leaves I anticipate that the TV will be used as a babysitter to keep the older kids quiet and busy when I need to put the baby down for her morning nap or whatever.  That was pretty much how it went with DD when DS was born.

 

So while my ideal is no television, it is a very useful parenting tool and I really try not to sweat it when they watch more than I'd really like.  Screen time in and of itself isn't going to be my hill to die on... though certain programs are.  TV almost never goes on before Curious George comes on at 3... if it does, they watch something on Netflix.  


This is pretty much where we are, new baby and all.

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#11 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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Our goal is little to no tv.  We don't have cable and barely have channels.  We also don't let ds watch "tv" he can watch dvd's.  I find that to be really helpful in limited things, because when it is over, it is over (although he knows we can start another and will sometimes ask/fight for one).

 

I just try to make sure when he is home (he goes to preschool 3 days/week) we are doing stuff, but I only have one kid and I live in a house with a total of 7 adults, so I sometimes get a lot more help, time, playtime than typical for folks.

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#12 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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Well, DS1 has a broken leg (actually, he just got his cast off today... he's now allowed to walk on it, but not run or jump... :boggle:), and so for the past 7 wks he's been watching a *LOT* more tv than ever before. Because, quite frankly, I'm not an artsy person, can only read out loud for so many hours a day and quite frankly theres not a lot else to do when your 3 and can't walk. 

 

Idealy though, I'd say no more than 1-2 hours of TV in any given day. Lately? Its been like 4-5 hours. :sigh:

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#13 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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DD isn't quite 2 yet, so she's really only just started to pay attention to the tv. She falls asleep watching a PBS show at nap time, Sid the Science Kid falls around nap time, sometimes she catches the first few minutes of Dinosaur Train. I don't like having her fall asleep to the tv, but I baby sit other kids in the house, she won't just lay in her crib and go to sleep, and I need to be able to get the 4 month old to sleep without chasing her around. So, I set her up with a blanket and pillow on the couch and turn on Sid. That's really the only tv she watches so far. She did watch the Babies documentary with me, but didn't make it through the whole thing before she was off doing something else (although, it did keep her attention for over an hour, which was pretty amazing considering she's never made it more than a few minutes at a time with anything else on tv).

 

DH and I watch tv in the evening, but nothing that she's interested in, so she doesn't pay attention to it. Sometimes, she'll watch a few minutes of Dancing With the Stars with me, but just long enough to get her groove on with them during a dance sequence. Really, though, aside from nap time, she'll look at the tv if there is something specific that catches her attention (usually a commercial), but doesn't actually watch much.


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#14 of 70 Old 11-17-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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OP I am in the exact same boat as you.  It mostly started when I started working part time (watching a little boy 3 afternoons a week so I am working but have DD with me) because I have to get everything done for the day before 12:30, so I am trying to get the house cleaned, get dinner made and everything else I would normally do over the course of an entire day in the morning.  Tuesday mornings we have playgroup at 10 am so it isn't so bad.  But M and W DD totally loves watching all those PBS shows, although she rarely spaces out on them and sometimes even turns the TV off.  But yeah, I am totally lax with it.  Before we got into this we were mostly TV free, having a family movie night once a week.  

 

In all honesty, I haven't made a decision about how I feel about it.  DD and I still do a lot of other active, non-TV related things- sometimes I feel like the only reason I feel bad is because of what other people might think rather then how I actually feel about it- if that makes sense.


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#15 of 70 Old 11-18-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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I don't have tots anymore but still have the same ideals. I wish it was only about an hour a day but at the moment it is more. They're 8 and almost 6. I have two newborn twins so TV is kind of a lifesaver right now.
Some days we go with very limited amounts of TV because other more interesting things are going on. I homeschool so they're home all day.
When they were tots, the TV was on maybe 2 hours a day but not more.
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#16 of 70 Old 11-18-2010, 08:46 AM
 
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My ideal is no screen time at all except in the rare times we REALLY need the break/distraction (so not daily, weekly or monthly)

 

Yeeeeah... I have the tv on most of the day.  I had an extremely rough first year as a new mommy and I'm still adjusting.  I'm also working on my own non kid issues at the same time so the tv keeps me from going completely off the deep end.  I'm currently a better mom with too much tv which kills me, but it is probably more important I do the best I can with what I have than fail at trying to reach my ideals all at once.

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#17 of 70 Old 11-18-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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The ideal for me is that the television is not the central focus of home life.  We were allowed to watch a limited amount of programs when I was growing up and I have no problem with television in itself.  My problem with it is when it becomes a default for everything at home.  DD may watch more on some days (usually on the weekends) and none on other days.  She's in a full-time preschool so the only shows that she watches with any consistency are Olivia and maybe Sid the Science Kid.  One time I told her that T.V. was bad for her brain, and she seems to have taken that to heart and is pretty self-regulating.  Her brain is on all day and I don't mind her sitting back for a while and being purely entertained. 

 

I personally like having a television...I like to watch about 15 minutes of the weather and news in the mornings and I like to watch the occassional late night movie if I have insomnia.  I also love the Food Network and fluff shows like Project Runway.  We have cable because we get zero reception without it.  Since we live in a small apartment and DH loves music and I like my piano, we can't really have competing noise (such as with a television).  That being said, I'm not a big fan of zero policy.  I think it has its time and place and shouldn't be central to family life...just an optional part of it.


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#18 of 70 Old 11-21-2010, 06:28 AM
 
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Under the age of two I aimed for 20 minutes a day, under one we watched 20 minutes once a week (minus having baby einstein on as a sign language aid for me). Now that he's over two and the summer is over he gets 40-60 minutes a day - so two shows. Usually Barney and Yo Gabba Gabba. Once I started doing daycare in my home two days a week, he misses out on tv sometimes since the other kids are younger, so we have our Friday ritual of watching 2 episodes of Blue's Clues, while I have a second cup of coffee and read. We do watch a family movie together about once a week, usually Saturday is pizza and movie night. Also, if he's had a weird nap schedule and is up past his bed time (which is 9pm) I usually am too tired to entertain, so I will watch something I have pvr'd from TLC like The Duggers or Little People. 

 

Of course, I believe that there are always special circumstances, like if he's sick, or his cousin is visiting, or I'm sick and can't entertain, or it's a very rainy day and we'll watch some pvr'd Ellens. We likely watch more tv than is good for his brain BUT I'd rather put the importance on WHAT he's watching than how much (with in reason). Barney and Blue's Clues sparks questions and intrests that we can research at the library and Yo Gabba Gabba has some good social message. 

 

I also make sure that I don't buy into the marketing angle of kids shows - and mainly (minus a few YGG toys) only buy books associated with the shows. 

 

On the comfort question - it's a fight sometimes but I really don't often (say less than once a month) break my comfort levels. I don't want tv to become a crutch, and have always tried to explain to him things like 'if you want to watch a movie tonight with Dad we need to save up our tv time until later' and he seems to understand that on his 2.5 y.o. level. I'm lucky that he's very very interested in books and puzzles so I feel he gets balance! :)

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#19 of 70 Old 11-21-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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our ideal is to only watch 'special occasion' tv - like on a rare sick day, or a christmas movie at the holidays, etc... 

 

in reality - ds is probably exposed to 30 min - 1 hour of tv a day (of adult tv) and probably watches kids programs 3-5x a week, maybe an hour a day. We have netflix watch instantly on our tv so it's usually bob the builder or thomas the tank engine


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#20 of 70 Old 11-21-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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DD is 2yo and we watch

~15-20 min in the morning (Curious George or Sesame street) : almost everyday - I NEED this time to wake up!!!

~1 hr DVD (DIsney classics like Bambi or Dumbo dubbed in our language) : maybe every other day

~20-30 min photos (we watch family photos in my digital camera hooked up to TV screen) : 1-2x per week

~10-15 min at bed time (Youtube on my laptop so technically not TV, nursery rhymes or Thomas the train soundtrack type of things) : almost everyday

 

I am pretty happy with the amount of screen time & content as is.  I don't know when I will be OK for her to watch regular TV as I'm wary of all the commercials & sassy dialogs even on children's programs.  So far she likes to watch same thing over and over (like Bambi!  OMG!) so DVDs work better than TV.  And she is picking up our language a lot from the simple dialogs from these classics so I'm happy with them. 


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#21 of 70 Old 11-22-2010, 08:49 AM
 
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My son is 21 months old and so far, he views the TV as a big, sometimes flashy thing that will turn blue if he presses the button, and sometimes has a picture of him on it (when my husband hooks his laptop up to it).

 

When I REALLY HAVE TO get something done and it can't wait til nap time or til my husband comes home, I will put on some random cartoon and that will buy me 15 min or so til he realizes I'm doing something I don't want him to take part in.

 

When we are winding down in the evening, my husband and I will sometimes sit on the couch and watch a Japanese cartoon, or Avatar: The Last Airbender, 20-25 min. or so.  Our son will sit on the couch with us, and we will start bedtime routines after the cartoon is over.  We hardly sit there like vegetables, we usually talk to each other because we don't need to hear, the show is subtitled, and there's a lot of "Whoa, did you see that!"

It makes it seem like he watches so much TV that at 21 months, he can say "Avatar" but it's not that much!  I swear!  20 minutes once a week! :(

 

Rainy, bad, cold, nasty days are a serious exception.  There is only so far books, crayons, singing and eating snacks will take you with an almost-2.  He tries to eat paint AND puzzles.  So he and the girl I sometimes babysit will sit down and watch some Batman Beyond or something.  Sad to say, he can also say "Batman" at this point, but with parents like his... well I'm just shocked he's not singing "All your base are belong to us" by this point.

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#22 of 70 Old 11-22-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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Our ideal is the same as our practice. The research is clear that tv under two is damaging in the long term. Other studies suggest that older kids do better without it as well.And all would agree 3.5 hours is too much for a 2 year to process. Our kids don't watch tv at all. It isn't part of their life so they don't request it.

 

We want always be media free but a three year old is not enriched by media. He has an active varied life with lots of outdoor play and a rich imaginative world. I don't want to ruin it.

 

TV is a really slippery slope and almost everyone (actual just one family who is media free and one family who limits it to twice a week) is comfortable with how much their kids watch. Everyone else I know watches way too much by there own estimation. You'll never see a post on mothering about how can I get my kid to watch more tv either...

 

Edited to add: The APA recommends no TV at all before age 2. To quote DH: If the APA rec's no tv before 2 shouldn't we all wait until maybe 5?

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#23 of 70 Old 11-24-2010, 04:44 AM
 
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I would love to limit it to 30 minutes or less, but that rarely happens. I usually turn on the TV when DS first wakes.. he's usually cranky and hungry, and letting him watch yo gabba gabba for 20 minutes while eating a snack helps him wake up and feel better. I know I feel better in the morning if I can have a cup of coffee and get on the computer for a few minutes in the morning, so it doesn't bother me. I will sometimes turn on the tv if I'm trying to bake in the kitchen or make a meal that's more complicated and needs my attention, but I am trying to make an effort to turn off the tv after the show is over. We have DVR, so he never sees commercials which I'm so happy about. I think commercials, especially ones targeted to kids are evil. I am a big fan of background noise. I think I got it from DH, since he would have the tv on all day if I'd allow it! He doesn't even have to be watching it, he just wants it on. It used to bug me but now I'm used to wanting to have noise in the background. So, when I'm tempted to turn the tv on, sometimes I'll put the radio or pandora on instead. DS seems to like noise too, so that will usually satisfy him. He's also getting better at playing in his playroom by himself, so that helps when I need to get stuff done. I'm sure once I'm further along in this pregnancy, he'll watch more tv because I'll just be too tired, sore, heartburny, etc to do anything else! :) But I try not to stress about it!


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#24 of 70 Old 11-24-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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We don't limit at all and it is our ideal.  My 3 year old watches what he wants, when he wants.  I honestly have no problem with watching good shows and movies.  I have a HUGE problem with cable/satellite tv and commercials, and for this reason we don't have it.  But as for watching commercial free good stuff, we have no limits. Originally my ideal was "no tv"  but that has changed over the years and I have accepted the fact that I love watching shows and they are a big part of our family life.


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#25 of 70 Old 11-24-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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i really try to limit it to an hour a day.  dd1 is almost 5 and would happily watch it 24/7 if she could. we dvr pbs shows and she gets to watch in the afternoon when dd2 is napping.  dd2 is dropping her nap....so sometimes she watches it with her.  dd1 is just 2, she hasn't watched that much tv. 

my ILs always have the TV on, so when i know we are going over to their house that weekend, i try to keep the tv off for a few days prior. 

my ideal would be NO tv at all.  but dh is addicted, though he tries to only watch when they are asleep at night.  i hate the tv, i hate everything about it.  then agian, if we didn't have tv, we would still have a TV for movies and such, i do like the occasional documentry.

sometimes, i also just need a break from parenting all day long.  i try to keep our tv to just that time when i NEED a break, now that dd2 has dropped her nap.

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#26 of 70 Old 11-25-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrsBone View Post

...We have DVR, so he never sees commercials which I'm so happy about. I think commercials, especially ones targeted to kids are evil. I am a big fan of background noise. ... 

I hate to tell you, but 20 minutes of yo gabba gabba IS 20 minutes of a commercial aimed directly at your child. They want to sell the merchandise.

 

As far as my own ideal vs. what we do - ideally we wouldn't have a TV and screen time on computer would be limited.  I am married and so I compromise :).  We have a TV and the kids see shows every once in a while.  It isn't a part of their usual routine so they don't expect it.  My DH likes to watch sports, so they see some of that on the weekends.  Computer time is limited.  I feel fine about the amount my kids see.  I would be happy if it was none, but a half-hour or hour here or there isn't my hill to die on.

 

When my kids were under 1 they both didn't watch any TV (it was off when they were awake, unless I was gone and DH had it on with them, that I odn't know), and very little under 2. 

 

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#27 of 70 Old 11-25-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Our ideal is the same as our practice. The research is clear that tv under two is damaging in the long term. Other studies suggest that older kids do better without it as well.And all would agree 3.5 hours is too much for a 2 year to process. Our kids don't watch tv at all. It isn't part of their life so they don't request it.

 

We want always be media free but a three year old is not enriched by media. He has an active varied life with lots of outdoor play and a rich imaginative world. I don't want to ruin it.

 

TV is a really slippery slope and almost everyone (actual just one family who is media free and one family who limits it to twice a week) is comfortable with how much their kids watch. Everyone else I know watches way too much by there own estimation. You'll never see a post on mothering about how can I get my kid to watch more tv either...

 

Edited to add: The APA recommends no TV at all before age 2. To quote DH: If the APA rec's no tv before 2 shouldn't we all wait until maybe 5?


Gosh, thanks for all that info, Judi. I bet more than most of us *know* the APA recs so thanks again for reminding us we should all be trying harder. (is there a self-flagellation smilie?)

 

Ahem.

 

Like many of you, I aspire to no TV. Some days we get there. Other days, I need to put the baby for a nap without wild hooligans jumping on the bed, so on it goes. Or other days we've had a stressful morning, so I let them watch a dvd while I make lunch. They almost universally get some tv in the evening while dh and I finish our meal/chat in the kitchen/etc. I'd say we average right around 1.5-2 hrs per day.

 

 


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#28 of 70 Old 11-26-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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Ideally- Id like to limit it to maybe 2 30 minute shows per week.. One on Friday as a "school" show (like Magic School bus or something like that) and 1 during the weekend to get 30 minutes of DH/me talking time without the girls on top of us. DD2 has just started to watch TV with her sister since she turned 2 this month. Only thing she likes though is things with monkeys in them. DD1 watches Mickey's Clubhouse or a church related movie for 30 minutes.

 

Usually we stick close to the ideal but sometimes we don't. Thanksgiving DD1 watched probably close to 2 hours while I was finishing up cooking/cleaning up the mess. When Im sick/tired/they are sick then we watch a bit more. When morning sickness rears its ugly head then they get to watch a bit more. I know they will probably watch more when the baby comes because neither naps so I will need a break once in a while. Anytime we fly (which is usually once a year or so) DD1 is allowed to watch as much as she wants until the battery dies.. DD2 has no interest in them (she was to young on the last flight anything, next one she will be old enough but I doubt she will want to watch anything). If DH is taking care of them he is almost guaranteed to have a movie on because he can't stand quiet.


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#29 of 70 Old 11-26-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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I wanted to add that part of what makes it a lot easier for me to not have the kids watch much TV is I have the perspective that although the stuff may be fine to see (depending on what it is), that time they are watching TV they are NOT learning how to get along with others and entertain themselves.  I personally want my kids to have their conflicts under my supervision, so I can direct them in how to resolve them well.  I also like that they know how to make fun happen for themselves.   

 

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#30 of 70 Old 11-26-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Our ideal is "not very much - not all the time". That's our goal for all of us. Our DD (16months), sees a Baby Signing DVD probably 4 times a week. It may become once a day, every day over the winter. She is a go-go-go-go baby and sometimes we need a break. She is also learning A LOT of signs from it. Faster than me and so sometimes I dont even know what she is trying to communicate. As she gets older I think I will be fine with her watching movies and TV after school and stuff. I guess it depends. If she is well rounded with many interests and active then she can watch it. If she becomes an obsessed bump on a log then there will have to be limits. Gotta see what happens.

 

My wife grew up without a TV and I grew up with no restrictions on TV time or content. I did play outside a lot and was very social and active. But we did watch adult movies and TV from an early age. When we have a TV and channels we find that we watch it too much. It is hard to regulate ourselves after a long day at work or looking after the baby. When we moved, we decided to put the TV in another room downstairs and not make it too too comfy. That has seemed to break us from our habit. Although, I probably spend as much time on the computer at night now!

 

 


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