I once read a response on a message board that said something like, Every mom uses TV to occupy their kids, even infants, so she can accomplish things around the house. Any mom who tells you that her kids don’t watch TV is obviously lying. For a bit of context, the comment was in response to a MOT who was feeling guilty about letting her babies watch a little TV so she could do things like eat a meal or prepare bottles. And lots of other MOTs responded telling this mom that she shouldn’t feel guilty. They had all done it and their kids were just fine. I did not know the mother who started the thread, but I really felt for her. That first year is tough, and we all do what we can to survive. But that one comment really hit me. Because my kids (still under one year at the time) had never watched TV.
Very early on, my husband and I had had a brief discussion about not wanting our kids to watch much TV. Notice I said much. We were/are not completely against it. Before they were even born, my husband had purchased a ton of kids’ videos (from Winnie the Pooh and Sesame Street to Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy) from a local video store that was going out of business. And just weeks after Tiny and Buba were born, we bought a whole set of Baby Einstein videos at our local twin sale, because I’d heard what lifesavers they could be. Yes, our pediatrician had told us that the AAP recommends no TV for kids under two, but even he said a little bit here and there (content appropriate for babies, of course) was fine if I needed a break.
But weeks and months went by and those videos stayed tucked back in cabinet. And for their entire first year of life, Tiny and Buba watched zero minutes of TV. Not one TV show, DVD, or even a short cartoon on You Tube. And the simplest reasons as to why is because we’re just not big TV watchers ourselves. In fact, I don’t actually know how to use the 3 remotes that go with our TV and DVD player. So it just didn’t occur to me to sit the kids down for TV time.
But I haven’t really shielded my kids from TV either. We’ve been to playdates at a friend’s house where the TV is on, and we once had to take Buba to see a specialist, and there was a movie playing in the waiting room. The kids were definitely curious, in these situations, but not so interested that it kept them from playing as usual.
So here we are, 4 weeks away from the second birthday, and I’ve been thinking more and more about all those videos we have, as well as all the TV programs I’ve heard of for the toddler/preschool aged child. Buba and Tiny have been giving me some previews of that terrible two behavior I’ve heard so much about, and I’m beginning to think that a little TV time might do us all some good. And that it might be time for me to get a tutorial regarding how all those remotes work.
But before we jump in, I’d like to know how you handle TV watching with your kids. How do you set parameters around TV viewing and what are your kids’ favorite shows?
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