TV Watching

Updated on July 13, 2010
J.W. asks from Springfield, PA
7 answers

I'm looking for ideas on what Mom's of both preschoolers and infants do about TV watching. When I had my first son, it was pretty easy for me to do the no TV until around 2 and then I limited it alot. I'm also lucky that my babysitter doesn't even have cable, so other than occasional DVD's it was easier to keep the tv wtaching to a minimum. But around 2 1/2 I started letting him watch certain shows, only educational and only 1 or 2 a day. I also like to try to watch them with him to talk about what he's learning. My problem is I just had a baby 3-months ago and I don't want her exposed to TV until at least 2 as well, but it's hard to do that with a 4-year old in the house that loves his TV shows. Sometimes it's easy to avoid it, but I don't want to separate myself with the baby from my son when he's watching his shows, but I also don't want my 3-month old seeing the TV. I was trying to think of some "new" rules about TV, but I always get such great advice on here, I wanted to see if anyone dealt with this recently and how did you handle it.

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answers from Chattanooga on

I'm just curious as to why you (& others) seem to think TV is so bad. I agree that there needs to be some balance as far as the child getting plenty of fresh air, exercise & one-on-one time with mom. However, all 3 of my children (now 18, 14, & 6) watch/watched quite a bit of TV from age 2 on up. I let them watch all the pre-school shows like Dora, Caillou, Sesame Street, etc. I think it actually taught them a LOT of things and to use their imagination. All 3 of them are extremely intelligent, and have been in Gifted/Honors programs since Kindergarten. None of them are overweight and 2 are very athletic. I've never agreed with limiting viewing to an hour a day for them...even as toddlers. I say you should be very selective with WHAT they are watching and making sure all the other areas they need are being covered.
Just my 2 cents :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I let my older daughter have her tv time during her baby brother's nap. That way she stayed quiet, he wasn't exposed to tv, and I got a break too! (I used that time to read.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had my oldest only watch her show(s) while the baby was napping. That way, they were both quiet at the same time and I could get some time to myself AND the baby wasn't watching tv!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm also pretty strict about tv. My almost 3 year old only gets 30 minutes a day. However, when he was a tiny baby (like less than 6 months) I would watch TV while I was nursing. I figured if he was nursing, he wasn't watching the TV! So maybe you could watch with your son while you are nursing the baby? (Or if you bottle feed, maybe just feed in a way the baby can't see the TV.) Once the baby is a little older (and your son is a little more used to having him there) I'd explain that TV is for big kids, so when he's watching the baby can't be in the room-- which will buy you some one-on-one time with the baby. And I think inevitably, the second one will start watching TV younger than your first one did, and will probably watch more. I'm not sure at the end of the day it makes that much difference-- I think we are all just so much more uptight with our first ones!

Also, I'd say to MomofTeens that TV viewing is a pretty personal and individual family decision. I think it really depends on a lot of factors, including how much time kids spend away from their parents. My son is in daycare 20 hours a week, so I don't like him to watch much TV when he is home-- however, if he was home with me 24/7, I would probably use the TV as a babysitter more. I agree that TV can be a positive influence, and kids deserve some time to "veg out" but what that level is for each family will vary. I watched much more TV as a child than my son does, and I don't think it really did me any harm, but as a parent now I would prefer that he was doing other things than just sitting and staring at a screen--especially at 2. By 5, I may feel differently.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I definitely think that a certain amount of TV is not bad. I wouldn't worry if I were you about the baby exposed to TV. Maybe do it during the babies nap if you are that concerned-this will give you the chance to get some things done. Your bigger worry will be when your older child hits 7 or 8 and wants to watch shows that are really not suitable for your 4 yo. I made the mistake of letting my younger son watch shows like Hannah and Suite life and as a result he is 6 and is girl crazy. I also feel so bad that he missed so many sweet shows b/c his older brother thought they were lame.



answers from Portland on

Your concerns and limits sound pretty reasonable to me. I doubt that your baby will be harmed by a few minutes of screen time here or there, and it's great that you have strict limits on what your son can watch. Talking to him about what he sees is also an excellent way to keep your communication with him in good shape.

I like Amanda C's suggestion. Really, a four-year-old will adapt pretty quickly to new rules and limits if you give him other activivities to do that are appealing and attractive, and lots of physical activity at his age is crucial to his future health. But if there are still other shows that you feel your son should be allowed to watch, would it be possible to angle your television so you can be in the room with him and have it out of the line of sight of the baby?

My 4.5yo grandson would probably watch as much TV as his parents would permit, and always asks to watch a show when we spend our Fridays together. But we never turn on the tube, and he ends up so occupied with the activities and games we play that he really seldom notices that he's NOT watching his desired show. I'm sure this would be harder to do with a baby in my arms, but there are really thousands of alternatives to television – they just need to be planned/provided for beforehand.



answers from Harrisburg on

Why do you or anyone think it is such a bad thing for a baby to see or hear the tv?????? And to only let the older child to watch tv when the baby is napping is really not fair to him/her at all! How could a baby be harmed by hearing a tv or seeing the colors on a tv??? I am very confused as to why this is such a HUGE deal. Not that I let my kids watch hours and hours of tv, thats for sure but an hr or 2 cant hurt them. Whether they are 2 or 10. Obviously only approved programs.

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