Friday, December 5, 2008

Too Much TV?

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television or videos for children under the age of two (and no more than two hours per day of educational and nonviolent programs for older children)".

I can't tell you how many times I have read this statement (or something very similar). But what I can tell you is that I feel a degree of guilt every time I do! You see, I introduced my first son to Baby Einstein when he was very young (2 months maybe?). I was working from home at the time and found that these convenient little dvds allowed me small windows of time to send necessary emails and other things that couldn't wait until naptime. Then I wasn't working anymore. But by this time, I had my son doing the "hot dog dance" with Mickey Mouse and patting his legs to give Rocket power. My son doesn't even reach the AAP's recommended age of two until next month, but I continue to turn on the TV more days than not. Sometimes we watch Disney in the morning, but mostly he asks to watch a "moo-nie" (Disney or Pixar or his current favorite: How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

Now my purpose in posting this is not rat on myself. Nor is it to justify my actions. Nor is it to tell you you're wrong. Or that you're right! I'm merely curious as to how much TV/movies other "real moms" let their kids watch (okay, I am kinda sorta secretly hoping I'm not the only TV-allowing mom. Wait, it's not a secret anymore). Also, I'm interested in any comments you might have on the subject. Perhaps your take on the statement by the AAP? Or alternatives you've found to buy you some time around the house? Or how to say no? Or why you don't say no? Any thoughts you have, please share! And take my poll. Responses are anonymous.

NOTE: If you get an error after submitting your responses, try refreshing the page. You should then be able to see the results.


Brianne said...

I also use the TV as a crutch to get things done, and I also feel guilty when I do. This week, I've tried using an egg timer. Not for the kids, per se, but for me. I only allow myself a short amount of time to do things while the kids are distracted by the TV. And I usually time it to end when a show ends so we don't get sucked into another half-hour program. When the egg timer is up, we go play with toys together.

Megan D. said...

I agree I also use the TV as a crutch like when I have to put my youngest down for a nap and don't want my 2 year old following me into the room. To make matters worse I give her a treat when she stays and watches TV during these times. Yes I reward my child for watching TV WITH candy. Okay confession over. If any of you have better ideas for distracting your children when you have to do something please share.

Emily said...

I'm glad you brought this up because I also feel guilty turning on the tv for my kids (most of the time to save my own sanity, to make important phone calls, to shower, etc.) Seriously - what did moms do before TV???

But I am VERY strict about *what* my kids are watching and have found some great DVDs and a few TV shows that I can honestly admit ENRICH my children's play and learning. I agree that too much TV is not good for ANYONE! But I think if you're smart and thoughtful about it, TV can be a valuable resource and teaching tool.

Jim Trelease says (in "The Read-Aloud Handbook") that the danger in TV watching is not TV itself but that it is addicting and HABIT FORMING! I always think of that whenever my first reaction is to put on a movie when things get hectic.

TaraLee said...

I have been thinking about this lately too! I have been trying to cut back, so after Mia asks for a show and I say no - i try to have an alternative ready for her, but even when I don't she doesn't fuss too long before she finds something else to do!

Gina Rochelle said...

I agree with Emily, some tv can actually be a good learning tool. I'm pretty strict on the one show a day rule here and my kids don't even bother asking for more (some days we don't watch anything). On crazy days when I make an excpetion and put in another show Emma's shocked and reminds me of the rule. We don't really watch television because we don't get good reception, I don't want commercials tempting my children, and it's too easy to watch too much so we stick to movies. I also make my kids have every chore done and the house clean before they can watch anything. Not only does this motivate them to work, but often my kids get distracted and start playing again. So either way, I win! My problem is that anytime my lovely husband watches the kids the tv comes on even if he only has them for 30 min. I try to let it slide because I'm just grateful to have time off but after I spend hours and hours every week keeping my kids away from the tv I feel like he can sacrifice one hour of his time.

Brianna said...

My kids watch TV. They usually do not hold still when watching it. They do things in between like art projects, play with cars, etc. Though I would like to turn the TV off more than on, I do allow them to watch it. I would probably do something about it if I thought it was taking over their lives. But they would pick art projects or imaginative play over TV most days.