Playdates and Tv/computer Time

Updated on July 08, 2010
M.L. asks from Los Angeles, CA
4 answers

Hi Moms,

What are your rules for t.v. and computer time during the week and weekends? Struggling to figure out what a good amount of time is for my kids. Growing up, I watched tv all the time, but did really well in school. Now as a parent, it's no tv during the week, but then on weekends, that's all the kids want to do. What's a good balance?

Also, being a mom to 3 kids, how do you deal with play dates? I'm mostly on my own during the week with an 8 year old, 6 year old and 15 month old. Some one always wants to have a play date. Don't kids play with each other at school anymore? It's hard to make dinner, figure out naps and then have to pile everyone into the car to pick up from a play date. Also, I'm not comfortable letting my kids go to other peoples' home I don't know or shuttle them to other activities. How do you wonderful moms figure everything out? Please give me a clue. Thanks!

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answers from Reno on

Hi M.!

I don't allow tv during the week and limit it to a few hours each day on weekends. But, if my sons don't behave or do their chores properly, they lose the privilege.

As for play dates, I schedule them when they're convenient for me and my family...which isn't often. If you're not comfortable with your child at other folks' homes, then invite the kid to your house. If that doesn't work, schedule a play date at neutral territory, like a local park. Plus, play dates are dependent on good grades and behavior at school and at home. I've cancelled more play dates than I can count because my kids couldn't pull that one off.

I believe that family comes first. If a play date is disruptive to the family, then by all means, decline. If someone is rude enough to question your choices, be polite but honest about your concerns. A gracious parent will do all they can to dispel your concerns, such as invite you and your kids over for a "family" play date or simply accept your limits. A rude parent will show their true colors and you can act accordingly.

You may not be the most "popular" mom for this stance, but as we all learned in high school, what's right isn't always popular! Find your limits and stick with them. If other folks can't handle your limits, too bad for them.

Good luck!



answers from San Diego on

My daughter is not allowed to watch tv during the week. On the weekends, she gets about an hour and a family movie night(if we don't all go out to do something fun). For the computer, she gets 30 minutes unless it is a homework assignment. She is going into 1st grade and last year she had tested into a reading program that had a computer component to it. If she ever complains, I tell her to get a book or go play. That rarely happens since she pretty much knows the rules anyway.



answers from Minneapolis on

I only have 2 kids, but our rules are for the school year, no TV, computer, or Wii before school. After school, homework done first, then a little TV, computer, Wii (30 minute limit) or playing with neighbor friends before dinner is OK. Scheduled playdates I only allow on Fridays after school, weekends, or school holidays. And I will only initiate them if the kids ask me to. I feel they do get a huge amount of peer time in school and extra activities. After dinner on school nights is usually family or activity time, resting/reading before bed, no more screen time. Fri or Sat night the kids can sometimes watch a movie.

For summer, they sometimes watch TV while eating breakfast, but it goes off pretty quickly because we don't have cable, no Disney, Nick, etc. And they're quickly outgrowing PBS kids. Computer/Wii/DS is limited to 30 minutes. We do playdates sometimes, when the kids ask. But again, they have to initiate, I don't go just filling up the calendar and telling them Monday you have a playdate with Jane, Tuesday with Sue, etc. The best thing we have is a pool pass to our local pool, because both kids are happy going there, they always see friends they can play and swim with, and I get them both home in time to fix dinner.



answers from Los Angeles on

Balance is always a good thing, but finding the right one is not easy. I have found that I do limit my children's TV time during the school year, but when summer comes it is much more difficult. It's really warm outside and they want down time, which is something they don't get at all during the school year. My children are also very actively involved in their individual sports. My daughter plays volleyball and has since she was 8 now 16. Also my son has dabbled in all kinds of sports, he's 10 now and loves to skateboard.
I have found that "playdates" have worked best even when I have to do the driving. I do understand about the inconveniences though, but it always freed up time for me to play with the other one. Naps are really difficult. The youngest will always have to cater to the oldest's activities, this is just life.
Playdates during school for us are restricted to Friday's or days off of school during the week. Weekends are priceless family time or an occaisional party for classmates. Back to TV, time limits are best, but usually we don't have time to watch during the week anyway, but I give a 3 hour Sat. morning TV span, that usually doesn't get used.
There are also Mommy groups in your area that you can join and you will all have something in common, motherhood. You will usually meet at parks, go on walks (kids on bikes, scooters, etc.) Each of my children have their own special thing and day they do once a week during the summer. The day and time stays the same and I take then to do that. My son goes to the skatepark and I just invite friends to bring their kids and we hang out for a couple of hours. Child is happy = happy mom, also my daughter has freed up Wed. for herself. She gets up early every day for volleyball and Wed. she is free to hang out with friends, etc. Also every Monday is housecleaning day, we as a family do all the housecleaning to free up our week. Many things you can find will work for you. I know this is lengthy, feel free for to ask for more suggestions. I am much more patient now and look back and see somethings that I have done right and some things I would have changed!

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