How do your t-v free kids react to tv? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 05-06-2010, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I am curious about something
My two children ds- 4 years- and dd- 2.5 years have been pretty much tv-free from birth. However if we go somewhere and a TV is on they both react very differently. Since about 12 months old my ds has been somewhat fascinated by tv. If he sees a tv he will sit and watch, almost looks like he is hypnotized by it (He does see about 1 hour a week at home). MY dd on the other hand is totally disinterested in tv. Even if it is a child's show she will not watch it more then about 10 seconds.
So how do you tv-free kids react when they see a tv?
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#2 of 16 Old 05-07-2010, 02:46 AM
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My son is pretty much tv free since birth too. He is 3 years old. When he had chicken pox last spring I let him see some clips of the wiggles on you tube. He was very fascinated by it. He seems to find tv pretty interesting the few times he has seen it and I am sure he would sit himself right down in front of one if it was on.

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#3 of 16 Old 05-18-2010, 06:04 PM
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My husband has let my 2 year old ds watch train videos on youtube, and he is mesmerized. My 4 year old dd is not at all interested. She'll try to pull her friends away from the TV to go play. We've been TV-free since dd was about a year old.
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#4 of 16 Old 05-18-2010, 10:18 PM
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Here's a longer-range view:

We watch a dvd every three weeks or so.

My 10 yo will do anything to watch a Yankees game. Otherwise he really has no interest. If we do have a movie night he'll join in, and tends to enjoy it. Our fare is either educational (a pbs show on the Revolutinary War that's all talking heads and old photos. somewhat dry is good. Like carrots. No one ever overdoses on carrots) or slow moving, fairly innocent (we watched Pollyanna a few weeks ago) shows. He likes not having a television, I think.

My 8 is similar to my 10 but less interested in sports.

My 6 will watch movie night stuff, but she prefers her (vast collection) of audio books and a stack of paper and markers. She used to gorge at my moms but my parents have agreed to go no tv when we visit (because they want to visit withthe kids and the DD6 and DD3 developed a Pavlovian response to my parents house: they'd walk inthe door and ask for OREOS and TV.)

My 3 yo (see above). After we do have a family movie night he'll ask for a movie a few times a day for a day or two, especially if he gets tired.

None of my kids can take violence or suspense in movies (my brother put star wars on when my boys were visiting and had both of them in his lap within 15 minutes. They watched to the end but it was very intense for them. And for my brother!)

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#5 of 16 Old 06-01-2010, 02:58 AM
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DD is 9 years old. She hasn't watched much TV at all in her life. She doesn't show any interest in it no matter where she is nor how old she was at the time. We live in San Diego and get less than 10 inches of rain per year. She really dislikes the days when it does rain at lunchtime at school. They pop in a movie and everyone eats lunch in the auditorium. It took her two years to figure out where to sit so she didn't have to watch the movie and could be comfortable eating her lunch. She doesn't like the noise of that scenario, either. She chooses to sit on the edge of the stage BEHIND the TV. She finds TV boring and somewhat scary, even G rated cartoon-type movies. I think it is the noise more than the content that scares her. She reads way beyond her grade level and can handle far scarier content in writing than in movies. Part of that is she can imagine whatever scene she wants in a book, but the other part is she just doesn't like a lot of loud noises. She doesn't like audio books at all.

We do own two TVs and we watch movies once in awhile. We also own a Wii and play family games once in awhile. In addition, she has access to a computer (and a typing program and several computer games) and has since she was three. None of these are issues. She simply isn't that interested.

When she is at grandpa's, where the TV is often on, she either ignores it or asks him to turn it off. When he first moved here, he tried to get her interested in watching TV because he thought we were "depriving her". I nipped that in the bud by saying she could watch whatever she wanted at grandpa's or nothing at all, her choice (age 4.5). I gave him a general guideline of what we felt was appropriate for her sensitivities and handed him a few DVDs. He respected the content concerns we had for her and made an effort to bond with her over TV. She watched one half-hour show with him once a week for a month or two and was over it. (Dragon Tales, I believe.) When he tried other things, he saw for himself she wasn't interested and we were not "depriving" her of anything. They mostly play outside or hide-n-seek and card games and ordinary kid stuff since about age 5. I recently learned he has been trying to teach her solitaire on the computer. She apparently told him he can play it on the computer while she plays with a deck of cards and they race.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#6 of 16 Old 07-14-2010, 08:17 PM
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My DS1 is obsessed with it. Always has been. We've always limited tv, but he was just obsessed with it no matter what. Now, if we're in a restaurant or some other place with a tv, you can't pry his eyes off it.

DS2 has always been more indifferent. He would ask to watch cartoons, but then not really pay attention. So now, without tv, when he is around one, it's just about the same.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-27-2010, 01:23 AM
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My daughter, age 5 1/2, has always reacted to TV in other kids' homes with mild interest, but has generally ignored it and used the time that the kid was absorbed by the TV to play with their toys freely.

She has recently made a new friend in our neighborhood, a girl age 7. My daughter has been to her house a few times. Apparently, the girl has a computer and/or TV in her bedroom or her mom's bedroom (I'm not sure), and two of the times my daughter's been there, she's reported that they "watched a movie." It was a Magic School Bus episode, a show I've heard of, but not seen. When I asked her what she thought of it, she said she really liked it and hinted that she'd like to see it again. I told her we could check out the Magic School Bus books, and she seemed a little disappointed. Now I think she looks forward to going to this girl's house because she might get to see it again. My husband thinks I should just let her watch it at home sometimes, especially since my daughter recently broke her arm and will be in a cast for a while.

But, I don't know. I feel like I'm okay with her seeing it at the friend's house (if it was an objectionable show to me, like, say, Hannah Montana or whatever, I'd say no way), but I don't think I want to make it a home thing. As it is, she only watches home movies at home and the occasional You Tube clip. Oh, and rarely an episode of a British cooking show my mother-in-law gave me on DVD.

I admit I feel anxiety over what appears to be a new phase in my daughter's development. She's old enough and comfortable enough to be at kids' houses without me (and old enough to be not too closely supervised at those houses), so inevitably she is going to be exposed to media she doesn't experience at home. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. It's fairly new to me at this point!
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#8 of 16 Old 10-06-2010, 01:35 PM
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Our older girls are all over tv when they have it. I'm okay with it though. We use it to our advantage and entertain with videos when somebody is sick, or when some kind of bizarre circumstance comes up.

It means that our kids are quiet as mice in hotels. When we visit people with no kids or toys, and with limited ability to accommodate children, our girls are very happy to watch tv. If we go to a doctor's office with cartoons playing they're thrilled to wait! I can always shop at Gymboree as long as I want because they have a tv in the store.

Our older DS is 2.5. He watches with his sisters for a little while and then either gets bored or falls asleep.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#9 of 16 Old 11-13-2010, 03:49 AM
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I'm not going to lie, my kids LOVE tv when they are able to watch it. Hypnotized. They go to my Inlaws house after school and watch cartoons, but my MIL limits it to a half hour and then they have to go outside and play with their friends. My DH and I monitor what they watch at home, but we don't have any cartoon stations. My son didn't watch television until he was three. He was never intoduced to to guns or violence to the best of my knowledge (I was a SAHM at the time and we were always together). When he was about 2 he picked up a stick and pointed it at me and said "ptchoo! ptchoo!". I was shocked. I'm still trying to figure out that one! HA!

There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow


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#10 of 16 Old 11-13-2010, 04:09 AM
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Not my child, but my brother's. My DN is 5 y.o. and doesn't have a television at home. They occasionally watch DVD's on a laptop though, but it's fairly rare. DN is mesmerized by television when he visits a house with one. If the television goes on, it's very difficult (impossible) to distract him to play, join us for a meal, or do anything else. He's been like this for years and I haven't seen any decrease in his fascination for television as he gets older.  

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#11 of 16 Old 11-16-2010, 12:31 PM
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My son didn't watch television until he was three. He was never intoduced to to guns or violence to the best of my knowledge (I was a SAHM at the time and we were always together). When he was about 2 he picked up a stick and pointed it at me and said "ptchoo! ptchoo!". I was shocked. I'm still trying to figure out that one! HA!

This made me laugh - I thought I was the only one :)


My daughter started picking up sticks and saying that she was "shooting" people at about two and a half.  She's TV free, and we didn't introduce this sort of play at home.  All I could figure was that she'd seen some kids playing at the park or something?  There was that Beatrix Potter book with a man with a gun in it as well ("The fierce bad rabbit" which she loved) perhaps she got the concept from there?


It's odd the way they come up with things.  Just before she turned three I took DD to the museum and they had a display up with a raven that made raven noises.  DD was entranced by this, and told me on several occasions that she was going to come back when it was dark and there was nobody around and steal it.  I think I can blame "Burglar Bill" for that one.



In answer to the original question, DD is somewhat interested in TVs.  At three, she's still TV free, but she's seen screens when we've been out and about.  If it's showing "adult" stuff - sports, news, etc. - she'll ignore it.  If it is showing children's programming she displays a mild interest, but isn't difficult to shift onto other things.  There is a video at the local museum of some native dancing that she finds totally enthralling.  I think she'd be more than happy to watch TV for some time if the content was interesting to her.


Mum to DD 9/07 and DS 01/11

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#12 of 16 Old 12-06-2010, 04:44 PM
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interesting to read about all this.


DS 6 has been almost totally free of kiddie media except a few weird situations (like when they showed "elf" on the airplane... or this ONE puppet movie my DH likes that they watched once... and once he watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV... part of a movie at the dentists office... like these one-off things every 6 months or so). I notice he can get "mesmerized". Especially by sports! (which we are so totally not into). When he was younger (like under 3) he really didn't care about it. But he also gets really annoyed when friends "can't play" because they have to watch their tv shows (this was a problem more when we lived in so cal and the kids were running around outside in a pack more often). He'd like to see some movies, he says, but doesn't bring it up much. He accepts that we don't want the little sister watching them so its not really fair to put them on and exclude her. We plan to have a once-a-month (or once-a-week??) movie night eventually but don't see much need for it now. its not like he's pestering constantly or anything. Funny thing is that right now we're living with my parents, and my mom OFTEN has TV on in her room, and DS never even goes in there to watch. Recently he watched an episode of "planet earth" and he was interested, but for days afterwards was telling me that it was kind of "too scary" for him.


DD 1 is somewhat interested in screens and stuff, but she's never really seen kids media. Just home videos and whatnot. The unavoidable stuff that is around in the public environment. I haven't really seen her react in a particular way to it.

dissertating mom to three

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#13 of 16 Old 12-07-2010, 10:55 AM
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i second the person who said it is like crack.  my dd doesn't watch when she is home with me.  she is allowed to watch with my mother and with my grandmother.  you would think she never saw a tv before each time she sees it.  she is hypnotized and completely under it's spell.  she sometimes acts as though she is going to melt down at the prospect of having to stop watching it.  that's when i know i am doing the right thing.  she is allowed to watch an occasional  movie with me as i bring them home from the library.  but you would think it was a drug.  that drives me nuts!!!

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#14 of 16 Old 07-31-2011, 06:00 PM
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DD 2.5 is also enthralled when she sees it, usually at restaurants. (Usually sports!) Are kids who get lots of TV at home immune from it, though? I honestly don't know.

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#15 of 16 Old 08-04-2011, 07:55 AM
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My Son is 2 1/5.. we got rid of our TV because i feel there is so much more for him to be doing..(reading,playing with his toys..ect..)

I noticed a big change in his personality when i would put on a Show for him to watch while i made dinner, or had house cleaning to get done, he would throw fits and act really angry about turning the TV off. Also we are catholic and we go to 12:00 noon mass, while i would get myself ready i would let him watch one show. i stopped doing that because he would be restless in mass and unable to sit quietly. i think a good thing to do with your child is cut out tv completely. Have a special night once in awhile for family movie night and make it more of a date for the kids and yourself.

I also read recently that it is really good to pick a time of day to be completely quiet together. sitting in the quiet maybe outside on a blanket or in a cheery room in your house for 10 min, is helpful in teaching your toddler and children to concentrate more. it has really helped me and my son. he is able to sit through church nice and quiet, and it has helped with the "throwing a fit stage" people tell you about terrible twos but what about the 3's?!!? they think they are the boss and it can drive me up the wall.. and sometimes you get caught up in your day while your toddler is saying/yelling " MILK, JUICE, TREAT, CRACKER, CUP MOMMY!" you find yourself scrambling for these things, then it dawns on you..wait I AM THE BOSS! :)

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#16 of 16 Old 08-04-2011, 09:27 AM
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i think it is personality based. we aren't tv free but i have one kid that likes tv and the other doesn't really care for it. then i have a friend who has two (that i babysit sometimes) and same thing but opposite. her older child asks for a movie but then goes on to play and not pay it any attention but the younger will watch. both her younger and my older child tend to be more "passive" where as her older and my younger are more "aggressive" and super active. 2cents.gif

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