To think kids watching tv is a bit of a waste of their life?

(317 Posts)
Amykins35 Sun 21-Apr-13 13:14:28

My daughter is 5 and her father and I are separated. When she has contact, she usually watches at least 5 films over the course of a weekend. On the other hand, here we used to go to the cinema on some of my weekends before her baby sister was born and that was the only thing she watched. We didn't even have a TV at home until 4 months ago. In the winter we had a film night on my Fridays where we baked cakes then snuggled on the sofa with teddies to watch a film and eat our cakes. But now the weather is finally brightening up we'll be going to the park/walking the dog/playing in the garden on those Fridays and so she probably won't watch anything here til next winter.
I read a few weeks ago that kids in the UK watch an average of 3 hours tv per day and that makes me sad as I really do think its a waste of their lives. Also, I don't understand where people find time for their kids to watch tv - my daughter goes to bed much later than her friends but we still run out of time to do everything she/we wanted to do. A typical day is:
7.30: she wakes up and gets ready while playing with DD2
7.45: breakfast
8.00: leave to walk/scoot/bike 2 miles to school

After school:
I usually drive to collect her so we can pop home for a snack before after school activities which usually finish at 6. She then plays/draws/reads while I cook tea, tea usually finished by 7 when we walk the dog, back home for homework, bath, stories and bed usually around 8.45.

There just isn't time in the day for tv and I don't understand where people find the time for it. If DD isn't doing an activity she likes to trampoline/paint/have tea parties etc after school and I think the amount of TV she watches at her fathers is a waste of his contact time. Before I get flamed and told my DD needs to rest and relax which may be why she watches TV at her dads - drawing and listening to stories are relaxing too. My DD never asks to watch TV here even if worn out - which is very rare indeed! AIBU to think watching TV is a bit of a waste of children's lives when there are so many more fun things they could be doing?

fuzzpig Fri 26-Apr-13 09:32:59

I completely agree, LaQueen. It is very important to be able to just... be.

LaQueen Thu 25-Apr-13 20:45:09

When a child's head is constantly, and relentlessly filled to the brim with do this...try that...get this...have that...go, do that...

When are they meant to actually process it all hmm

When is there any time for their minds to...just...drift...

We often drive down to Cornwall (6 hour drive), and have done since the DDs were toddlers. We have never used portable DVDs, or anything like that.

Instead, they have either napped...or chatted with us...or listened to music...or just day-dreamed out of the window, looking at the passing scenery.

Great, huge, whole hours of time, where their minds are just drifting...and fluid...and pretty bored peaceful.

And, are their minds dulled by these long, empty spaces of nothingy downtime...?


Academically, they can whup the arses of most of their highly drilled, hot-housed, relentlessly activated, friends - who last enjoyed a quiet moment to themselves, back in 2007 hmm

GirlOutNumbered Thu 25-Apr-13 19:08:54

Agree laqueen.
Most definitely.

Acandlelitshadow Thu 25-Apr-13 11:58:11

One film per fortnight?

Well rock 'n' roll grin

TV was downtime after an exhausting day/week at school for my lot. Your daughter is 5 and school life will become more complicated. Come and update us in a few years time grin

iclaudius Thu 25-Apr-13 11:53:16

Totally agree with you lequeen I think limiting screen time encourages that down time . I think today's children lack JUST what you speak of. They need to be on the edge of bored IMO to let their imagination really go...

Sirzy Wed 24-Apr-13 16:27:44

Tv is a godsend when DS is poorly, as is his Leappad as they are the only things which may keep him sat still for more than 10 seconds!

Some people seem to think that if children are allowed to watch TV that is all they do when for the vast majority it is just another activity, one which allows them to chill out and relax which is something everyone needs.

FoundAChopinLizt Wed 24-Apr-13 16:19:24


I totally agree with you. In fact I think that post applies equally to people of any age.

theodorakisses Wed 24-Apr-13 16:03:27

Last weekend there was a mum in the grown up pool teaching her tiny baby to count very, very loudly. I took my sunlounger over to the baby pool and had a lovely peaceful time. Obviously it is far too simple for these little geniuses, they must be stretched by being in the deep end of the big pool.

LaQueen Wed 24-Apr-13 13:53:49

I've posted very similar before Theo - but I firmly believe that all young children need some quiet time. To just stare out the window...pull faces in the mirror...sift through the contents of a box in their room...trace the patterns on the wallpaper with their finger...poke at things in the garden with a stick...

Just aimless, pointless past times that nevertheless create a sense of calm/stillness for the child. It's lets them switch off for a while...

I witness too many children, fraught to the point of tears most days because their parents feel the poor child must be involved in activities every moment of the day. They musn't even have a 20 minute car journey without a DVD playing films in the back, and a CD playing their favourite tunes on a loop.

It's not enough that the child is drawing...oh no...the parent fires 25 questions at the child, whilst it's drawing 'What is that...what colour did you use...what colour next...what are you drawing now...'

The parent feels they have to relentlessly engage with their child, at all times.

There. Is. No. Peace.

theodorakisses Wed 24-Apr-13 12:37:12

Children must not sit still, they must be constantly active and doing something useful or they may grow up to be .....(gasp) common.
I love the stillness and peace

pigletmania Tue 23-Apr-13 15:40:43

Oh dear op, get a life!

Amykins35 Tue 23-Apr-13 14:20:27

I do know a child like that, BearsDontDig, mine! If watching it alone (as she does at her fathers) she doesn't move a muscle, doesn't do anything at the same time etc. when it is switched off she's then moody and lethargic so I avoid it here

I am sat here watching my 5 year old teach my 3 year old letters and letter sounds and a little bit of reading. That is the way forward people! Alphablock cartoons and games on the cbeebies site.

DS has a reading age of 7 (apparently), and the only thing i did was buy a reading eggs subscription (After we tried a free trial and he loved it), and he loves the games in it. Although he has finished the maps so spends a lot of time decorating his little house on there. He also likes to watch his Dad play Plants V Zombies or hidden object games.

We do not have a tv package as I said, we have the laptop connected to the tv and they have access to cbebbies, iplayer, skygo, lovefilm, youtube (obv with light supervision) etc...and they chose as and when they would like to go on them. Sometimes they just want to sit and veg in front of nick jr or MLP, and that is fine.

It is all just entertainment, sometimes it teaches them stuff, sometimes it is just funny and they laugh like loons.

Reading is entertainment, and I read a lot, i do not watch a lot of tv, but my choice of "entertainment" is no more worthy than those that do like to sit and watch soaps for example. Tv is not a bad thing, it is wide and varied and can be educational, but can be just for fun. I know of no child even if the tv is on all day long, who sits and does not move, just staring endlessly at the screen. They are up and down, asking questions or joining in etc...

FreedomOfTheTess Tue 23-Apr-13 13:26:19

At the moment, I'm even more relaxed about DS1 watching TV, as in June he'll be taking his Common Entrance examinations. He is studying really hard, as he knows if he doesn't perform well, he'll lose his offered place at his dream senior school. So at the moment, downtime is even more important for him.

You see OP - it can be done - children can watch TV and still be smart little cookies with lots of other interests. wink

Same here. DD plays netball for her school and the town, has a pony and competes for the school riding team, dances, goes to guides, is a conscientious student who received an Endeavour Award at the end of last year, and watches shed loads of TV.


LaQueen Tue 23-Apr-13 12:08:15

Very true Tantrum - and on top of all her sports stuff, DD1 is currently wading through lots of 11+ preparation and homework, which she tackles conscientiously every week...

So, really don't have a problem with her spending an hour on her tablet Minecrafting/Sims.

Thats the thing isnt it? DS1 plays football 4 times a week at a highly competitive level, he swims for a club, does all his homework, he is a very good student.

Quite honestly I am happy to see him laying on his bed watching TV or playing PS3, he cant be busy every second of the day.

LaQueen Tue 23-Apr-13 11:52:41

Same here freedom - our DDs watch a lot of TV, and now we have Netflix, well you can imagine...

But, DD1 represents her school at cricket and netball. DD2 goes to a weekly gymnastic club and belongs to her school dance club. They both play in a local girls cricket team on a Saturday morning - and they both play the violin.

DD1 is tipped to become her school's sports ambassador in Yr 6 - and DD2 was the youngest ever child to be elected onto the School Council.

Frankly, I think they need some TV downtime, after everything else they do.

I just fnd this perception, that if your DCs watch TV then they are automatically turning into mindless drones, incapable of doing anything else...ever so slightly bizarre (and utterly wrong in our circumstances).

FreedomOfTheTess Tue 23-Apr-13 11:26:31

One film a fortnight?!

DS1 (13) would spontaneously combust if his TV viewing was limited to one film a fortnight. He watches several shows a week, but you know what, he also does a lot of other stuff too? He plays rugby (he's in the academy of one of the professional rugby union clubs), goes to Scouts, plays two musical instruments and even does a bit of drama. And he's often out and about with his friends, riding bikes etc.

We record the shows he likes to the V+ box, so he can catch up with them when he has some downtime, because every child needs downtime. With all my son fits in his life, I'm happy for him to have a couple of hours 'TV time' at the weekend, it makes him a relatively normal teenager!


FoundAChopinLizt Tue 23-Apr-13 11:12:31

Orange I don't find your way of thinking depressing, quite the reverse.

Life's too important to be taken seriously.


Oblomov Tue 23-Apr-13 11:07:01

Op is motherhood perfection personified.
I'm off to share a tube of pringles with her fat lazy ex. He sounds much nicer lovely.

LaQueen Tue 23-Apr-13 10:36:15

Years ago, I used to get vaguely tense when the DDs were watching TV, glued to the PC, gripping a tablet...but, once I had assured myself that their reading levels were high, then I basically just gave in, and left them to it.

And, like DH explained (and he's very tech-savvy) this really is the future for this generation.

Getting them to build with hand-carved wooden blocks...or cut out and dress paper dolls...all sounds terribly worthy, but is largely anachronistic - like getting a 1970s child to kick a pig's bladder about, rather than a plastic football.

My dd did all of her preschool education via cbeebies.

carriedawayannie Tue 23-Apr-13 10:22:59

And at when the child is a teen and glued to a screen they will wonder why they bothered ..

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