TV-free kids going to a sitter's house... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-13-2008, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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So I just went back to work 1-2 days a week. My kids will be at the sitter's for no more than 6 hours a week since I'm mostly working afternoon shift and dh will come and pick them up when he's done at work.

The sitter I found is great. Her kids are my kids' ages and she appears to be a gentle mama. Her kids are happy and friendly and very warm toward mine. My kids have been there only twice this past week and they are actually upset this morning because we aren't going over there again until next Tuesday. Adam has his backpack packed already.

I am sort of (silently) hung up on the fact that my kids have been TV-free thus far - Adam is 3 and Sarah is almost 2 - and now that they are going to the sitter's, she has cartoons/movies on quite a bit through the day. She told me yesterday when I picked them up that they watched "The Jungle Book" after lunch.

When I asked the kids what they did all day after we got in he car, they were all excited to tell me that they played outside and played with toys and "smiled at the baby" and ate chicken for lunch ... the movie didn't seem to be a big deal to them.

Rationally, I have made the official decision to keep going with this babysitter since she seems like a terrific mom/sitter and my kids are so happy with her and her family. We're in a small town with no true childcare options, and to have found this woman was a blessing - and I am rationalizing that if all other things are in line, then I need to overlook the TV being on.

I guess I don't know why I'm posting since I have already made the decision to go with her and try to overlook the TV thing, but I just feel like I have worked so hard these last few years, having my kids so close together and living in such an isolating rural town...that being TV-free hasn't been the easiest option for me to take but it is the one that feels philosophically right to me for all of the reasons we've all talked about here in our new subforum. I just feel kind of disappointed about the fact that my kids are being exposed to it so young - I am not completely anti-TV, but I definitely don't think young children need it at all, and I still feel like my kids belong in that group.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#2 of 6 Old 09-13-2008, 01:18 PM
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Have you mentioned it to her at all? If you put it respectfully and positively, she might not mind keeping it off for all six hours.

Mom of two kids, expecting again in June or July 2014. 
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#3 of 6 Old 09-13-2008, 05:18 PM
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Have you mentioned to her that your kids are tv-free? She might be really cool about it and it will be the excuse she needs to turn of the tv for her family. Just a thought.

Being tv-free is one of the parenting issues I'm proudest of. I know we've made mistakes already with some of the decisions DH and I have made with our DS, but this one we don't second guess. Because of that I feel anxiety whenever DS is around others that are all about tv, like his grandparents. But I tell myself that when they're together they take very good care of him, just not exactly the way we take care of him and that's okay. HTH.

Producing great kids since 2006!
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#4 of 6 Old 09-16-2008, 12:10 AM
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I know there are many, many important factors to consider when hiring a sitter and that you have found one you do like/trust/respect. That said, the TV on most of the day thing would be a deal breaker for me. I'd talk to her about it in a very open ended way to see if she is attracted to or open to the idea of keeping the tv off while she is working with your kids. If not, I'd keep looking.

If it were a once in a while thing I wouldn't get unglued, but I wouldn't want tv to be a regular thing in my kids' lives.

But then again, I'm a bit cranky about this issue. Just my 5cents.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#5 of 6 Old 09-22-2008, 02:38 PM
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Hi Hopefulfaith,
I could have written your post. We have recently hired a part-time in home babysitter/nanny for 2 days per week. There are a lot of other nannies in our neighbourhood and if the weather is miserable our babysitter will take DD and DS to someone else's house with the other nannies.
The other day DD said, "the tv was on (at so and so's) and we saw this funny duck". I was very upset about this because we are tv-free at home with the children. Our babysitter knows that they are not allowed to watch any television at home but I don't know if I can enforce it at another person's home. We are very sensitive to not expose our children to any media/commercialism and this is a very sensitive issue for us. However, part-time quality childcare has been extremely difficult for us to find and we are very happy with our choice of caregiver. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that eventually the children will be exposed to television but I don't want them watching it on a regular basis.
I'm not sure what to say but I wanted to know that there are others out there struggling with this too.
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#6 of 6 Old 09-22-2008, 11:43 PM
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I would first ask if she could turn the tv off while your kids are there. We aren't tv-free, but earlier this year, tv was banned from our house for about 2 months (long story) and my kids do have some general restrictions on "what" they can watch altogether. Mine are 8 & 4, so older than yours, and they are very cooperative with the rules. Anyway, during our tv ban, we had to deal with the fact that when we were at work, the other kids would watch tv. I explained to their moms that mine were NOT allowed, hoping that they would be sympathetic and try to help by maybe keeping the tv off when mine were there? haha. Instead, I had to be the bad guy, and my kids were just forbidden to be in the kitchen if the tv was on. They weren't mad about it, but they did feel bad. I don't know what my point is, but I guess that I tried not to make it a huge deal, and it became a huge deal anyway. The tv ban ended up working wonders on the discipline issue we were having, and now that tv is allowed again, it's MUCH less invasive. So many people refuse to recognize how much damage it does to their children unless it's really pressed. The store-owner has removed the tv recently - not sure why, and I'm not sure if it's coming back or not. I'm not complaining, and neither are my kids.

All in all - I don't think the exposure is going to permanently harm your kids unless they think you're depriving them of something. If there is plenty of other creative stimulus, I don't think that it is the end of the world. Perhaps you could ask to tweak it? Maybe one movie per week? And definitely be involved in the choice of movies.


p.s. I forgot to mention: the tv is ALWAYS on at the in-laws' house, and that irks me WAY more than anything else. They either play commercial disney crap or Sponge Bob. We will never win that battle, I fear. My dd has actually asked them to turn it off

Mama to 3 girls 12,8,3
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