To wonder how our parents generation coped without childrens tv

(147 Posts)
anicegreentea Thu 15-Nov-12 16:47:42

I know its not the ideal parenting strategy. But i have toddler and baby and often find myself wondering how my mum coped when baby is grizzling and toddler is bored!

The park?

Nancy66 Thu 15-Nov-12 16:49:19

Easy. They just completely ignored us.... grin

at least mine did

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 16:50:32

some worked, some interacted with their dc and involved them in the daily house stuff, some put dcs out after breakfast and locked the doors till dinner time. there were alot more children per family 50 years ago (on average) and lots more children out playing so entertainment was each other. als older siblings would look after younger ones.

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 16:51:51

or even 30 years ago. dont know why i said 50 confused

BonVoyageCharlieBrown Thu 15-Nov-12 16:52:48

We would get bundled out of the door and told not to come back until dinner.

It was quite a safe area but it does make hmm

My parents deny it now though

VirginiaDare Thu 15-Nov-12 16:53:05

I'm quite old and we did have childrens tv.

sue52 Thu 15-Nov-12 16:53:10

I didn't live with a TV till I was about 11 or 12. I come from a very large family and we would be out of the house from dawn to dusk, only coming in in daylight hours to eat. The big kids took care of the little ones and I can't recall ever being bored. I don't think this could happen these day though which I find rather sad.

Pandemoniaa Thu 15-Nov-12 16:53:35

I don't quite know what century your parents lived in but we did have children's television back in the Dark Ages when I was a child. Admittedly, it wasn't wall to wall but there were still programmes that I watched every day. There were also childrens' programmes on the radio. But I also remember playing in the garden, going on walks/to the park most days and generally being pretty well occupied. Babies were routinely put out in the garden for "airings" too - something my ex-MIL was quite obsessed about.

In the days before television and radio had been invented, more prosperous households employed a nanny or mother's help. In working class families, women had an appallingly heavy workload and the idea of children being bored or that anyone might have time to stem that boredom would have been ludicrous. Not least because society was far less child-centred.

We had children's TV. Apparently I was obsessed with morph as a toddler. And I have fond memories of running home from school to watch whatever was on.

Both my sister and I loathed the chuckle brothers though. And blue Peter. Actually my mum says she loathed blue Peter as a child too, so they definitely had kids tv when she was growing up.

Are you 87, OP?

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Thu 15-Nov-12 16:55:46

Surely they just plonked their small child in front of a window to watch the birds feed confused what I do with DS and what my mum and grandparents did with me

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Thu 15-Nov-12 16:58:07

I also have a fab collection of old childrens programs since I'm not a fan of the current crap aimed at kids, Waybaloo and In The Night Garden are the work of the devil

Bubblemoon Thu 15-Nov-12 16:59:05

Childrens' TV has been around for about 60 years now. By the time I was born in 1964 it was possible to waste an entire childhood watching endless kids TV whilst shovelling down Angel Delight. Prior to that there was kids radio.

Generations of mothers have been able to operate mangles/smoke fags/read Women's Own/surf MN whilst thier children rotted their brains.

pinkteddy Thu 15-Nov-12 16:59:26

Apparently there was one hour of kids TV in the morning and a couple after school when I was small in the 70s. We played outside a lot. And I know my Dad played outside all the time - and he lived in central London. They used to bunk into London zoo most days! There is a great clip in Swallows and Amazons where the kids get into a boat and sail away on a lake and the parents are joyfully waving them off. They are aged between about 7 and 10! You only need to read some Enid Blyton to see how independent kids were in days gone by.

HanSolo Thu 15-Nov-12 17:00:27

1) there has been childrens tv for 50 years!
2) my children didn't watch any under 2yo- loads of other ways to entertain them.

Bubblemoon Thu 15-Nov-12 17:00:31

Um, that should have read their, not thier. Should have concentrated on typing lessons rather than watching Ask Aspel.

Bubblemoon Thu 15-Nov-12 17:03:13

Pandemoniaa LOL at babies going out for "airings". I remember my brother having whooping cough and spending whole days out for airings under a cat net.

My mum was obsessed with the need for babies to sleep outside when DS1 was small. Luckily, by the time I had DS2, we lived hundreds of miles away so she couldn't complain that I hadn't left my baby in a pram outside my front door.

squeakytoy Thu 15-Nov-12 17:10:30

There was childrens' tv when I was a kid many moons ago, but it wasnt the animated tripe that is on these days with characters that grunt at each other.. it was in general a lot more educational.

We also played a lot more and amused ourselves with toys/jigsaws/chalk/crayons..

As we got to about 5/6yo we were out the door to play as soon as school was over, only coming in to watch Blue Peter or similar at teatime.

We didnt miss what we had never seen.. so tv was never a major issue.

usualsuspect3 Thu 15-Nov-12 17:15:23

My grown up children watched TV back in the olden days.

Even I watched childrens TV back in the olden days. Watch with Mother,Tails of the riverbank.Andy Pandy etc.

OnwardBound Thu 15-Nov-12 17:17:21

Yes pinkteddy I have also wondered at this.

When you read classic books or listen to childhood stories of our grandparents' generation it seems that children in those days were encouraged to be much more self sufficient and independent.

Which I guess comes with a great amount of positives [self esteem, healthy active lifestyle, not stuck in front of tv rotting brain] but also potentially some negatives [children having to be a lot more responsible for themselves and younger siblings in some instances more than they were actually ready for, accidents occurring without an adult around to intervene or assist].

I think your example of parents happily waving children off as they sail away in a boat is less possible in today's culture. Perhaps we are more educated about potential problems and dangers [as research into health and safety issues has moved on], also 24 news channels in today's world mean we hear of almost every tragic case of a toddler drowning or child being hit by a car. It probably makes today's parents more aware of potential dangers [which is perhaps a good thing] but also makes us potentially overestimate the likelihood of these occurring.

Luckily these awful tragedies are statistically relatively rare but because we learn the poor child's name and hear their story in our homes it makes for a more intimate identification. We imagine the same happening to our beloved child and thus decide we will never let them walk on a pier without us holding their hand and definitely not sail away in a boat independently!

So tv becomes the safer option but maybe comes at the price of some childhood freedom and independence...

gordyslovesheep Thu 15-Nov-12 17:18:06

I am 42 - we had Bagpuss, The Clangers, Watch With Mother, Mary Mungo and Midge, Magic Roundabout, Magpie, Blue Peter and Grange Hill grin

It was only on at certain times of day - 1 program at lunch time and maybe 1-2 hours before 6pm

My kids watch about the same amount and play out as much as I did - I don;t think things have changed that much

There was no tv until 5pm when I was a child. We played out all day.
I still consider day time tv watching to be hugely decadent.

mymatemax Thu 15-Nov-12 17:20:36

colouring books, fuzzy felts, playing with endless tuperware pots & lids. Left to play and amuse ourselves

MadCap Thu 15-Nov-12 17:20:36

Hell, I had Nickleodeon when I was a kid. and she-ra, he-man, transformers, Smurfs, my little ponies, care bears, etc etc. Children's tv, when I was kid, rocked.

gordyslovesheep Thu 15-Nov-12 17:21:04

it was decadent wasn't it - my mum considered it very bad form to have it on in the day

usualsuspect3 Thu 15-Nov-12 17:22:38

When we were kids and off school we used to watch the school programmes in the mornings.

BackforGood Thu 15-Nov-12 17:28:26

Yes, we did have children's TV progs, but only 'Watch with Mother' at dinner time and then the afterschool until teatime programmes. I presume the OP means that you can find something aimed at children on TV throughout the day now (esp if you have cable/Sky / Freeview), and of course DVDs and the like as well.

We also had a storytime on the radio each day.
Of course, we played too! smile

suburbandream Thu 15-Nov-12 17:29:01

They used to put the babies outside in their prams so they could get fresh air, and passing old ladies would chat to them grin.
When they were bigger, the kids were let loose on lovely playgrounds full of nonp-bouncy equipment like concrete tunnels grin and told not to come home til tea time

SamSmalaidh Thu 15-Nov-12 17:32:49

Apparently I could sing the Postman Pat theme tune by 18 months grin We definitely had kids TV, included animated stuff with grunting characters.

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 17:32:58

No day time TV when I was a small child. Just wierd girl test card so we played out.

First off in the street and later on chopper bikes going all over the place, school hols were fantastic, leave at 10am and back for tea at 5.

No mobiles, no computers just you, mates and a bike.

We were resourceful, mature, threw stones at flashers!! Independant and had fun.

Actually my older kids did this too and had great times, my teen girls now not so much freedom, very sad.

Don't remember any obese kids except the usual one per year group but strangely also don't remember any Aspergers or autistic kids either.. Seriously wonder why? We're they siphoned off to special schools?

Parents didn't helecopter or interfere and the worst adult of all was the 'parki' or park warden.

After school clubs were places you walked to and sorted yourself, health and safety just didn't exist and if a school coach driver touched your knickers and you told mom then she just laughed it off!! Happy happy 19705!!!! Good and bad.

gordyslovesheep Thu 15-Nov-12 17:37:05

schools TV - yes I used to love Watch! ahhh the memories grin

I have to say though if anyone touched my knickers my mum would have done something about it despite it being 1970!

suburbandream Thu 15-Nov-12 17:39:30

YY to the test card girl - my mum admitted she used to plonk me in front of that in my high chair when all else failed grin.

As for autistic kids - you were a child so you probably didn't realise they had autism. My DS has Aspergers and although it's obvious to me and people who have experience, his classmates have never regarded him as "different".

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 17:41:45

Think her attitude was typical for 1970s though. Couldn't conceive of paedophiles being anything other than weirdos in macs.

Up thread someone mentioned blue Peter and aunty val, I much preferred magpie as it seemed far more decedent and cool.

Later Tucker Jenkins in grange hill...

thegreylady Thu 15-Nov-12 17:42:20

I am 68 and remember watching Muffin the Mule and Meet the Groves :-)
Mind you I read a lot too and played out with friends. I enjoyed the radio and remember my delight when I got a little Ferguson trannie for my 13th birthday.

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 17:43:26

Yes suburban, that's makes sense.

lljkk Thu 15-Nov-12 17:44:57

Speak for yourself, I probably watched 6 hours of TV daily most of my childhood (1970s USA).
Almost never watch it now.

My mother loathed telly when it came to her area (1950), for taking her friends away.

Mom nearly "drowned" in the La Brea tarpits in about 1950. Oh, the joys of a Free Range childhood. wink

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 17:45:44

Woodentops and camberwick green? Trumpton and queen Victoria's statue?? Oh dear, all nostalgic now.

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 17:47:08

Lljkk, but it made her the woman she is today!! Ha ha!!

susiedaisy Thu 15-Nov-12 17:47:11

My mother used to spend time with other sahm's taking it in turns to sit in each others houses and letting the kids play, as kids we also had to get on and play ourselves as mum was busy also we helped out alot with washing/baking day etc I also remember being bored as a kid when there was nothing to do and then as soon as I was around 7 yrs old I was out on my bike round the local park/woods/other people gardens only going home at

Well I dunno about everyone else but there was CBBC at ten to four...
Otherwise as long as it wasn't raining I was chucked outside and left to get on with it...

issey6cats Thu 15-Nov-12 17:48:19

im 55 and my childhood telly was pinky and perky, blue peter, etc and i dont remember being in the house much my mom said me and brother used the place like a hotel only ate and slept at home , used to be out with my mates up the local park most of the day, or out on my bike all over the place, my kids were 70s 80s kids and despite there being more kids telly they were mainly out playing or we took them to the park, the boys played football for kids teams, they did sea cadets, after schools clubs, Dd did ballet, gymnastics, rythmic gymnastics, karate, i as a child and they as kids didnt have time to be bored

hazeyjane Thu 15-Nov-12 17:50:32

Did nobody else watch such grown up delights as House Party (like Loose Women but with women called Marjory and more marmalade recipes) and Crown Court (a world of beige courtrooms and men with dodgy sideburns).

I didn't really play out as a child, but remember eating endless banana sandwiches in front of the TV.

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 17:51:13

There was kids tv when I was young but it was only on for a couple of hours a day.

I am 45.

There was a bit at lunchtime and a bit after school.

So not really the same as the wall to wall stuff now.

I cant remember how I coped without Ceebeebies when my old ones were little grin

OwlLady Thu 15-Nov-12 17:51:15

nancy66 is right, I was off miles away pre secondary school. I was on the phone recently to my mum and i said god they are driving me etc etc and she said 'i don't know why you don't put their coats on, throw them outside and lock the door for a couple of hours, it's what i used to do' shock

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 17:51:57

The them tune from Crown Court makes me feel all funny.
Memories of being little and off school..

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 17:52:46

my mum is 57 and she used to spend her pre-school days waiting for the postman to come and then she'd follow him on her round. she got in trouble with my nana one day because she took the family allowance book with her and posted the pages through all the neighbours' letter boxes. nana had to go round them all that evening gathering them all up. grin

poozlepants Thu 15-Nov-12 17:53:07

Babies were strapped into a pram and put outside either to sit or go for a walk. Inside they were usually strapped in a high chair or in a playpen. My mother said they didn't have time to play with kids.
As kids we were turfed out into the garden or the street.
I'm 43 and if we were allowed to watch tv we watched the old B&W films that were on. They were far better than kids TV. I'm still partial to a bit of Stewart Granger.

QuickLookBusy Thu 15-Nov-12 17:53:55

My DDs are 21 and 18

When they were little we didn't have anything like CBBies. They had Playdays at 10.00 on BBC2 for half an hour, then at about 3.30 a couple of suitable programmes on BBC1 for little ones.

That was it.

My DDs loved Playdays but then the tele went off. They played with me and on their own and helped me cooking, washing up, baking etc.

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 17:54:48

Kids went to special schools. You would have a real fight on your hands to get a child with SN into mainstream in the 70s.

The laws guaranteeing some children an education didnt even come into force into the 70s.

MorrisZapp Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:28

The op has a baby and a toddler. They're hardly going to get packed off with an airy wave in the morning.

There's a lot of pedantry on this thread. When op said kids tv, I assumed she meant the wall to wall stuff we have now, plus sky plus, on demand etc, and dvds.

I had a 70s and 80s childhood. Sure, we had Grange Hill, Marmalade Atkins, cartoons at the weekend etc but I'm so grateful for the choice and flexibility we have now.

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 17:57:03

my mum also used to put us out and lock the door but we were in the countryside and it was pretty safe, if you don't count the field with the bull and the fast flowing river beside our house that I did not get stuck in while trying to walk through the tunnel under the bridge hmm grin. i do remember dsis and i setting up a 'shop' at the bottom of our lane selling cornflakes, lemonade and a sara lee gateau which was actually the box filled with toilet roll. we were terrified when a man actually stopped and gave us a pound for the cake. we ran and hid for ages after he left knowing he would open the box and find the loo roll.

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 17:57:29

Sundays were sooooooooooooooooooooooo boring.

I used to come home for lunch and my mum would let me watch "The Sullivans" blush

BraaaaaainsButterfield Thu 15-Nov-12 17:59:50

Plenty of children's TV when I was little - and don't forget there were still schools' programmes on during the day. Used to love being off when poorly and watching things like How We Used to Live!

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 18:02:02

There were only three channels when I was little and they were not on for a large part of the day.
Most of the programming was for adults. That doesn't leave a lot of time for children's programmes.

littlewhitebag Thu 15-Nov-12 18:03:59

I am 50 and i watched plenty kids TV - i just wasn't on all day long like it is now. In between i played with my toys and my friends, read books and beat up my little brother. I was never bored and my mum got everything done. I also went to dancing, brownies/guides, swimming etc.

ToffeeCaramel Thu 15-Nov-12 18:07:49

Me at the end of my tether with a baby and a toddler = stick CBeebies on.
My mum at the end of her tether with a baby and a toddler = smack (the toddler.)

valiumredhead Thu 15-Nov-12 18:10:37

Ds didn't watch telly until he was 3. Personally I find it easier, I hate the bloody box!

ratspeaker Thu 15-Nov-12 18:19:24

Before watch with Mother there was Listen with Mother, on the wireless.

KitCat26 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:26:30

OP I often wonder this and asked my MIL who is 83. She is one of twelve and this is what she said her mother used to do.

Her mother used to give the baby a tin with stones in to play with (no money and no toys).

Other than that I believe they were put out in the pram quite a lot and once walking also tied to a rope on a stake in the the garden! The older ones then then looked after the younger ones.

Frankly I've absolutely no idea how that poor woman coped (she had 5 under 6 at one point)!

ToffeeCaramel Thu 15-Nov-12 18:28:47

It's probably quite easy if they are tied to a rope on a stake in the garden. grin

MichelleRooJnr Thu 15-Nov-12 18:31:33


In from school, change into 'old' clothes, outside whatever the weather, back in to eat dinner, do dishes, do homework, back outside til bedtime.

Hours spent riding bikes & building ramps & devising bike tracks, making swings, swinging, climbing, jumping over things, walking on narrow things, squeezing into wee spaces, standing on high things and a million other fun things.
(grew up on a farm so lots of places to do all of the above)

KitCat26 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:32:44

Seriously I consider doing that myself!

I did get a mental image of the five eldest being tied together and the rope just getting longer to add more children as she had them grin.

Frontpaw Thu 15-Nov-12 18:41:31

We had kids programmes - Pipkins, Handful of Songs, Jackanory, Play Away... (for short hours anyway) and public information films (who can forget the potter's wheel?) and the test card. We used to make up games, slide down the stairs on tea trays, allsorts!

Also lunchtime tv - The Sullivans, Crown Court, The Lightning Tree... Such crap tv!

Frontpaw Thu 15-Nov-12 18:43:22

Open University - I loved it when I was little!

TiredBooyhoo Thu 15-Nov-12 18:46:08

my nana used to tie the playpen (outside in the garden) to the radiator (inside the living room) through the open window with the youngest dc in it. there was no bottom to the play pen so it stopped it being dragged/pushed across the garden. she also used to get the youngest 3 or 4 children ready for the day by washing them (oldest first) then tying them to the chair til the youngest was done and they were ready to leave so they didn't get dirty! i was shock when she told me but she said when you had so many you had to take desperate measures.

witchface Thu 15-Nov-12 18:48:44

Eh you know that you can find out yourself don't you? Just switch off your telly and see what you do. I had the radio on today and we read, played, did a collage.

It was a nice break from bloody dora the explorer and both me and dc were happier for it tbh.

I remember watching TV as a child, there was definitely children's TV on during the daytime, I watched PlaySchool and Sesame Street then. I also remember watching videos as a child. I am 28, so it quite a while ago.

Both my parents remember very limited TV during the 1950s.

Sorry limited children's TV - so there has been TV for children for 60 odd years now!

Tigresswoods Thu 15-Nov-12 18:54:48

My mum told me she loved putting 3 year old me in front of Playschool every lunch time & cursed when it finished. She was pregnant with twins & shattered.

1944girl Thu 15-Nov-12 18:58:32

I'm 68 and we did not have TV until I was13.
Before that we played out all day or in the house in bad weather.I was oldest of five and remember my mother chasing us outside in the dry weather, the baby was put outside the house(we had no garden) in pram and we older ones were told to keep an eye on him/her.Toddlers were put into a playpen in the house with loads of toys.
My grandparents got TV in coronation year when I was 9, so we watched it there I remember Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben, Woodetops, Muffin the Mule.

Iggly Thu 15-Nov-12 19:08:59

I'm 31 and mum was a single parent with three under 4 at one point.

She took us out a lot! Rain, snow, wind and shine.

I have a baby and toddler and consider it am achievement if I don't use tv. I go out at least once a day. Baby is 11 months now and I basically let her pull out the contents of cupboards, my handbag etc while I cook in one minute bursts. Toddler plays happily with some interaction from me.

Gone ate the days of spending more than a few minutes at a time on anything. grin

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 19:20:22

Crown court yes,, I remember young doctors as well, me and mom used to watch it when I dossed through 6th form.

Quick look, my older kids just a bit older than yours and I lived play days, different theme each day but all good.

MrsD take your point and things have changed then. I am a TA and we have 3 statements children in our reception class each with own assigned adult. Don't remember that ad a kid, just 1 teacher per class.

I'm 34, we didn't have a TV until I was about 9.

I read a lot of books.

And fought with my brother.

fatlazymummy Thu 15-Nov-12 19:26:20

We didn't have a TV untilI was 9.We didn't have a lotof toys,ormoney foroutings either.
We did things like read books,play board games and jigsaw puzzles,make tents out of clothes horses and blankets,go out for walks,play in the garden,colouring in and drwawing. We also used to help with the housework, we did baking [I can still make pastry by hand], make beds and lay the table.
I was one of 5, and it was very hard work for my Mum.

They learned several magic phrases:

1. That's nice dear. Now go and play'
2. I'm busy darling. Now go and play'
3. Only boring people get bored. Now go and play'


And for some reason they worked!

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 19:39:36

Well mine are almost 18 and nearly 14.5 and have survived. Dons hard hat because understands times have changed.

........grizzly baby was fed, loved and put down in cot. played with toddler. toddles stopped being bored and grizzly baby learnt to go to sleep on her own - a skill that pfb never mastered hmm. Was easier in a big house because one door was shut we couldn't hear the wailing. [quivers in fear at the Mnet response] grin

But my mum used to put me in the pram winter, spring, summer, autumn and leave me in the garden for an hour for fresh air.

mymatemax Thu 15-Nov-12 19:53:35

crown court, emmerdale, sale of the century all theme tunes that would have me running out of the room in boredom!
Our holidays were spent out on our bikes, playing runouts, throwing stones at the gypsy kids so they'd chase us (i know, i know, horrible child). When we were a bit older (about 10yrs) we'd get a tube accross london & go ice skating at Queens. No ice rink in East London in the 70's

crypes Thu 15-Nov-12 19:54:42

I can actually remember watching a testcard ( pretty girl with blackboard and clown), and listening to the music for probably twenty mins before my favourite childrens programme came on. So i was obviously happily occupied with just waiting for tv.

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 19:58:05

Marriedinwhite, yes me too..

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 15-Nov-12 20:05:22

Our TV never went on until the evening news when Dad got home.We were sent off outside to play, we lived in a cul-de-sac and plenty of other kids to play with. The whole street (kids from 4 to about 15) played hide and seek or other games every day and evening (wrapped in coats hats and scarfs), it was bloody lovely we had lots of fun.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 15-Nov-12 20:06:48

MrsDV I can't believe you are 45! Astounding, you look at least 10 years younger than that.

marquesas Thu 15-Nov-12 20:11:23

I am in a minority of one in never having the TV on during the day at all. My children played inside and outside, went to playgroups, went to the park, went out with friends.

It's still possible to manage without childrens TV just as it was when I was a child.

kim147 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:16:03

I spent from 7 to 11 living in Cyprus in the 70s. No TV - we got sent the occasional video from the UK.

What did we do? Played outside, played with our limited toys and with our friends.

Vague memories of Bagpuss when young.

Ragwort Thu 15-Nov-12 20:17:02

Ha ha, I remember Pinky and Perky and the Wooden Tops grin. I am mid 50s and never had a tv at home until I was about 10. Did watch it when we went to grandparents as a special treat.

We looked at books, played games, played with toys, went to the park etc etc - agree there was no 'helicopter' style parenting, we were probably left to our own devices a lot more than children are now. Went to quite a formal nursery school from age 3 (proper little desks etc grin). Did me no harm.

MoelFammau Thu 15-Nov-12 20:20:15

I grew up without a TV and I don't have one now either because frankly I'm not used to having one.

DD is 18mo. She plays great alone though, always has. No idea what I'd do if that wasn't the case!

FreudianLisp Thu 15-Nov-12 20:28:33

We haven't got a TV, so my twins (aged 2) have never seen one. If I'm too busy to give them much attention, they'll happily "read" books or play. I didn't see much TV at all when I was a child, either. Can't say I missed it.

MrsDeVere Thu 15-Nov-12 20:34:38

bewitched get away! You must have been drunk grin

NUFC69 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:44:01

I'm 64 and we didn't get a tv until the Coronation (1953) - so I guess not a lot of people of my age watched television (and, of course, said tv was about 12 inches square in any case!. Oh, and it was black and white, too). My children are in their 30s and they didn't watch a great deal of tv either - just the very few children's programmes which were on.

Looking back most of my childhood was spent outside (there was a canal at the top of our street and we all went fishing quite often in the summer - yes, I did fall in and no, I couldn't really swim, but there were loads of us and nothing bad ever happened). My DH lived in a village in Derbyshire and he and his friends went up on the moors to play - when it was time to come home for dinner one of the mums used to put a sheet out of the bedroom window as a signal!

Don't forget that most of our families had no money - we had a few toys, very little in the way of clothing; but something more precious than any of that - freedom! I know which childhood I would prefer.

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 20:44:40

Well we don't have a TV now. We do now have broadband and can watch the iplayer, but we didn't have that until dd2 was about 3yo. We coped. Didn't know anything different, so it never was an issue.

merrymouse Thu 15-Nov-12 20:49:16

I think for many of them it would have been a hard slog - never mind no TV, imagine no washing machine and terry nappies! However, on the other hand, with so many women at home (with or without children), fewer cars and limited phones (in the early 70's anyway), I think neighbours helped each other out far more.

Also, to be honest, when children's TV was on we watched it. I can remember watching TV at playgroup when I would have been about 3. I probably watched no less TV than many 3 year olds do now - it just wasn't on demand.

Pandemoniaa Thu 15-Nov-12 20:57:32

I hold my hand up to coming from a comfortably off home where, although we had 2 televisions by 1960 (mainly because one of them was so ancient it didn't recognise ITV) I still spent most of my time out and about enjoying freedoms that are almost unrecognisable today. My mother worked in the City and I now realise that I had a very privileged childhood. But hours and hours were spent roaming around happily with friends (from about the age of 6!) and without any sort of adult supervision. You knew you were expected home for tea but that was about the only restriction.

What I remember most about the television was the way that it was turned off, routinely after you'd watched a particular programme and never turned on if you had guests - bar the occasional communal watching of some dismal event like Churchill's funeral. It was never a background to things.

forevergreek Thu 15-Nov-12 21:09:55

I watched loads of tv as a child. We now don't own one, I have no idea why we watched so much tbh. Children nowadays have more opportunities than ever so no tv is a good thing IMO

jjazz Thu 15-Nov-12 21:17:04

My mum now 67 used to 'go down the garden' and find the smallest stone she could.... she then picked it up and hunted for one even smaller. She continued this until called in for tea/lunch/bed. She had about 3 books (flower fairies) and a very few toys. - Better than Charlie and lola?

anicegreentea Thu 15-Nov-12 21:21:24

It's really lovely to get everyones views and thoughts on this. Can't help but think the 'our mothers let us roam free' thoughts aren't quite relevant to keeping a toddler entertained. I was more thinking about 2 year olds! And obviously our parents did have some kids tv. But we are lucky ( or unlucky) enough to have it available at any time. I've been downstairs with poorly 2 year old watching tv at 2am on the sofa cos he couldn't sleep!
Thanks everyone for replies though. Quite sweet to have everyone thinking back to their own childhoods.

Annunziata Thu 15-Nov-12 21:22:29

My brothers were allowed to go and play all day, us girls did our chores and then we could play. Different world.

blanksquit Thu 15-Nov-12 21:22:45

We had spates of tv. Then the rest of the time we went out to play (from around age 4 but as a gang with older ones).

germyrabbit Thu 15-Nov-12 21:23:06

they all got pregnant themselves at 16

Annunziata Thu 15-Nov-12 21:23:49

I'm sure the two year olds were sent out too- the older girls watched them here!

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 22:12:22

If bewitched had been drunk, she would by now have said married no way would I have guessed you were 52 grin.

Flounces - huh envy

MORCAPS Thu 15-Nov-12 22:17:19

We had to have a reason to be in the house from about the age of 5. We did have TV though, I remember Saturday morning cartoons and eating cereal in front of the TV.

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 22:20:00

I am with MrsD. When you were off school, it was Rainbow, Pipkins, then Crown Court (I strangely enjoyed this as a child), then The Sullivans. And a bit later House Party! Oh I forgot Pebble Mill at One! All of this mixed with Lucozade and and a new Famous Five book if I was really lucky ill.

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 22:21:18

There were never tv in the mornings in my day - not til they invented Swap Shop.

Momsnatter Thu 15-Nov-12 22:22:40

I wonder more about my grandparents' generation. My maternal gran had 11 kids and my paternal gran had 6. Neither had any mod cons. When i've felt dog tired with my 1 and 4 year old I think about them and my mind boggles!

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 22:23:10

Hmm I might have been allowed that *Porto and Mrs DV* after two days in bed. It was during the recovery stage. I even remember Emmerdale coming on after Pebble Mill at those times and watching the Test Card before Play School came on.

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 22:26:21

Emmerdale? Never....It might have been Take the High Road, or one of those Welsh programmes...grin

threesocksmorgan Thu 15-Nov-12 22:28:22

I remember Listen with mother.
hectors house.
I can only remember kids tv being on in the after noon. about an hour and a half of it, but it was real tv, things like follyfoot/magpie and blue peter and later Grange hill.

threesocksmorgan Thu 15-Nov-12 22:28:45

oh I like take the high road, it was scottish

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 22:31:03

Have a reminisce!

Actually I am just remembering the BananaSplits, The Monkees and the Double |Deckers.....

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 22:31:37

The cedar tree and anyone remember the drama 'the changes' where pylons or electricity went mad?? Scared the crap out of me.

Loved 'I dream of jeannie' and 'bewitched' but sooooo sexist.

squeakytoy Thu 15-Nov-12 22:32:00

I remember Rainbow, Pipkins, Mr Trimble.. and the The Sullivans.. followed by Pebble Mill..

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 22:32:58

I rememer Listen with Mother and Hector's House. But I was quite big when Hector's House came on.

I'm sure it was Emmerdale after Pebble Mill (don't remember take the "high road". Circa 1975 (remember Anglian TV Porto - cabled in and you could get the London channels shock I'm sure it was emmerdale a really rural version like the Archers for the telly.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 15-Nov-12 22:33:33

I am 41 and we didn't have a TV as my parents had a moral objection! I read a lot

Woozley Thu 15-Nov-12 22:34:17

I used to watch the schools programmes when I was 3/4, as that's all that was on in the morning. I probably learned a few things anyway.

thebody Thu 15-Nov-12 22:39:01

What a lovely trip down memory lane.

SamanthaStormer Thu 15-Nov-12 22:42:17

I must have been around 5 years old at the time of Jamie and The Magic Torch and Bagpuss and used to love watching them.
I also used to love watching Mr Benn, and CrackerJack ("eeee, I could crush a grape!" grin )

apostropheuse Thu 15-Nov-12 22:47:55

I'm fifty and we watched children's tv about lunchtime and early evening. Black and white tv. I was amazed when I saw colour television.

We also went out for hours and hours during the day - up into the hilsl amongst the ferns, woods, rocks etc. We had a ball. We didn't have a watch but instinctively knew when to go home (dinner time). We played out in all weathers and when it was very cold you almost got frostbite your feet were so cold. My granny wouldn't let us too near the fire too quickly or your toes might drop off! grin

We also chapped on neighbours doors and asked if we could take their baby out for a walk in the pram. They let us. We were about eight or nine at the time. We had our instructions to stay on the pavement and don't go further than the end of the street. It was better than having a doll! grin

I also remember the women having a rather sophisticated way of wrapping babies up in a tartan shawl where they kind of sat on one hip and the women had one hand free to deal with the other "weans" or whatever they needed to do.

I loved the sixties!

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 22:59:52

Yes - we used to be outside most of the time - especially in the summer. There were NO CARS though. We used to play tennis and ride our bikes in the street. Next door had a Reliant Robin which we were under strict instructions to avoid at all costs. We used to wander about the local fields and build camps/go blackberrying. No-one worried about abduction/paedophiles/perverts etc. I still swear the risk is no higher/lower these days, no matter what recent news reports might say.

I can remember being 10/11 and going off for the day with my Girl Guide friend equipped with kindling to build a fire/penknife. We went off to the local woods and realised when we got their that we forgot a tin opener for our beans and sausages. So we walked to the nearest house and knocked to ask to borrow one. My dd is nearly 9 - I could nearly FAINT at the thought of her doing any of this.

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 23:01:50

I gave her a lit tea light to stick in a pumpkin by the front door the other week and DH nearly hyperventilated.

Pandemoniaa Thu 15-Nov-12 23:01:56

This may sound like the ramblings of a Very Old Bonkers Person but I don't recall "getting bored" being anything that would be attributed to a 2 year old when I was a child. I'm not saying they weren't bored. Just that the very idea would be seen as risible.

Portofino Thu 15-Nov-12 23:08:05

I can remember being really, really bored - on a rainy Sunday afternoon, when there was only Batman to look forward to. My nan used to do the ironing whilst listening to forces favourites, or something with Pete Murray. We were firmly told - only boring people get bored. I swear this is why I learnt to read really well.

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 23:12:07

We used to be out all the time too - riding bikes for miles through fields, meeting up with friends and making camps on top of haystacks - and jumping in the sea off the sea wall and avoiding the rusty iron railings underneath because we knew where they were. Yikes hmm.

marriedinwhite Thu 15-Nov-12 23:13:02

I still tell my children "only boring people get bored".

hmc Thu 15-Nov-12 23:20:30

Portofino - exactly the same. I was bored crapless most of the time and dreaded school holidays, but I did become a voracious reader

shockers Thu 15-Nov-12 23:28:15

Only boring people get bored is one of my favourite sayings. I drummed it in so hard that I don't have to use it at all any more smile.

halfnhalf Thu 15-Nov-12 23:42:41

Another difference is music - it's so easily available now, and so cheap. My parents didn't get a record player until I was in my teens and, appart from listening to Radio Luxembourg, music on the radio was rubbish. I can't remember when Radio 1 started, I think when I was in my teens. One of my childhood memories is listening to Four Way Famiy Favourites, anyone else remember it.
On the subject of children having more freedom, my OH remembers staying with friends of his mother when he was 8 in London and spending whole days going round the London Underground, alone.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Fri 16-Nov-12 00:08:10

I am never drunk
I am occasionally very gently inebriated.
During these rare episodes my perceptions are subtly enhanced; everyone I encounter appears to be superbly, ethereally beautiful, regardless of age.

Including you*married*.

Until I look in a mirror sad!!!

sashh Fri 16-Nov-12 04:52:56

Before TV there was radio - complete with 'listen with mother'.

JessieMcJessie Fri 16-Nov-12 05:39:41

Ah yes, the Sullivans. I used to come home from school for lunch too and the opening credits where the boy pulls the cap down over the other one's eyes them runs off was my signal to finish up my banana sandwich and cup of tea, take my Trio and head back.

FuckingWonderwoman Fri 16-Nov-12 06:11:29

I remember being about 4 (I can't have been any older as we moved house when I was 5) and my Mum and her mate locking me and her mate's son in their garden (so no access to the house) and going into town for the afternoon. We were told if we needed anything to shout over the fence to "Auntie Vi Next Door" who would let us in for a wee or a drink. We were there for bloody hours, and when we got back, John had wet himself and I had had a shit in the garage, because Auntie Vi had gone down the shops!

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:18:19

OK, so children's TV existed 40 years ago, but it was only on from about 4:30-6pm on weekdays, and then as I got older, from 9-11:30 on Saturday mornings!

I read, played outside, built things with Lego or Plasticene, or wound up my little brother.

Parents shut doors and told us not to disturb, shushed and slapped more and started getting drunk at 6pm confused sad grin

ThompsonTwins Fri 16-Nov-12 06:27:31

I remember an hour of childrens' TV between 5 and 6pm and Watch with Mother for a short time earlier in the day. Playing outside and reading took up much more time. I don't ever remember wishing there could be more programmes for children.

jan2013 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:29:45

i can't imagine coping without kids tv. dd is one, she drive me to distraction with her lack of sleep, and at 6am i am very grateful for kids tv while i try to pull myself together - like right now, and get a cup of coffee or 3.

lljkk Fri 16-Nov-12 07:49:39

OP asked about 2yos. When my mother was 2yo, during WWII, her 20yo sister was at home to help run the family, and the sisters were close then although not again until adulthood.

I was minded by nannies so presumably, as paid staff, they didn't put the telly on too much. Also we lived on the beach in a sunny benign climate, not like rainy cold Britain.

When we lived in a Bangladeshi neighbourhood 10 years ago, I sometimes noticed 2yos out playing for spells, minded by cousins or older siblings (only, no adults). So there you go, traditional child-rearing practices if only you know where to look. Also, at home there were so many other children about to play with, typically, and telly only available in a non-household language, that I doubt those children watched much TV, either. Probably different now, I bet there's a satellite Bengali channel now with some children's options, even.

lljkk Fri 16-Nov-12 07:58:13

Just thinking, I probably did watch 3-5+ hours of TV/evening when I was 2yo, because I only slept 6 hours/night, and my parents couldn't cope otherwise. I can remember regularly going to bed at 11pm when I was 4-6yo and the boring news came on.

Day time TV, after about 8am, was deathly dull.

cory Fri 16-Nov-12 08:08:10

We didn't have a TV when our dc were little. If they grizzled, they grizzled. We didn't have one when I was little either.

In the case of a poorly toddler that you have to keep company anyway, I would have just have read or sung to her/him. Did a lot of singing with dd in particular. Not sure I'd find that harder work than having to watch children's television tbh. At least you can do something about the quality.

NessunDorma Fri 16-Nov-12 08:10:18

When I was 2 I had a 5 year old sister, we were just plonked in our room and told to play whilst Mum went downstairs and ran the pub. grin From roughly the age of 5 we were chucked out after lunch and told not to come back til dinner time. All the other kids were out though, the older ones looked after us.

I remember watching a lot of Disney films on video on boring Sundays.

This wasnt 30 ears ago either, it was the early 90's!

Oh God, the things we got up to, i shudder to think of it when I look at my 4yo DD.

lljkk Fri 16-Nov-12 12:54:07

Friend (born '66) says she can clearly remember being left to mind younger siblings when she was bout 4-5yo, while her mom went shopping for an hour.

Oh wait, now we're back on the "AIBU to take my children to the boring shops" thread, lol.

marriedinwhite Fri 16-Nov-12 22:17:28

Slightly off message but when DS was a baby we decided we wouldn't have a "video" because it would dumb our children down intellectually.

When I was in hospital after having DD our TV blew up - it was ancient; MIL was staying and to keep her happy and coz we had a leaflet through the door DH rented an 18" TV/Video combo and the man came the next day with it.

>>whispers<< DS had never watched a video; it was a constellation of the stars on my favour. Never was managing a three year old and a toddler easier in those first few months and we only had about four videos grin.

>>also whispers<< rented telly is brilliant with little children. If they stick a rusk in the video hole - the man comes and deals with it; same if they chuck the controls down the toilet shock.

Atozandbackagain Sat 17-Nov-12 00:38:50

As one o f teh generation of children of that period:

We played outside in all weathers

We ran errands for our parents - going to the local shop with a list of things to buy

We would call round to knock on the doors of froends to see if they wanted to come out to play

We would go to the library - chose some books and take them home to read them - I could get through at least 6 books a week in those days

We went to the park

We would go for long walks in the fields (alone or with friend)

We would play in the stream - make dams

We would call in at the local farm at milking time and feed the calves

My only TV viewing was Blue Peter on (Tuesdays and Thursdays???) .

I really feel sorry for many of today's children who are parked in front of telly.

DrCoconut Sat 17-Nov-12 00:49:00

I remember some fairly trippy TV programmes in the early to mid 80's. Chocky, children of the dogstar, letterland etc. But it was not back to back and we never missed all day TV because we had never had it.

Atozandbackagain Sat 17-Nov-12 00:52:38

Trippy progs? - You should have seen 'the Singing Ringing Tree'in the 70s.

That was effein weird!

We used to get children's programmes made outside the UK e.g. White Horses about Yugoslavia or Robinson Crusoe.

I can even remember a very young John Craven doing Newsround. we had Aunty Val and John with Shep on Blue Peter.

Much better than the current children's stuff.

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 17-Nov-12 00:57:52

We used to watch tv. And one of my favourite memories of my early childhood is sitting in the kitchen every day, while my mum prepped dinner, listening to Listen With Mother. I'm still in my 30's, so not THAT long ago. No, really!!

halfnhalf Sat 17-Nov-12 07:51:29

Singing Ringing Tree! It was brilliant, and so weird.

Hesterton Sat 17-Nov-12 08:15:35

Watch with mother was the TV version of Listen with mother - earlier programmes were 'Andy Pandy' and 'The Woodentops' (spotty dog goose-stepping across the screen with his inflexible limbs, anyone?).

The TV started again at about 3.45 with Playschool (which window will we go through today? The round one? The square one? Remember Big Ted, Little Ted, Humpty and the regular toys?), followed by 'Jackanory@ which was a book read in installments by often famous actors, then a couple of other programmes (twice a week Blue Peter, and who remembers IT's Friday, IT'S Five O'Clock.....IT'S CRACKERJACK!) and finished with a short programme before the early evening news, usually The Magic Roundabout or something like that (talk about trippy).

Other programmes I remember were 'HOW!' which was a science/technology programme for children and 'Junior Showtime' which was a non-competitive talent show for children.

Other than those times, we spent a lot of time doing the same jigsaws over and over again, reading the same books fifty times each and generally getting grubby outside. I do remember Sunday afternoons being so l-o-n-g as that was when my parents would shut themselves in the sittingroom with the broadsheets and is less colourful language tell us to fuck off and leave them alone unless one of our legs dropped off or something equally serious.

MotherOfSuburbia Sat 17-Nov-12 08:42:06

We didn't get a telly until I was about 11 and I was the youngest so my siblings would really have had a whole childhood without it. We just entertained ourselves. Lots of imaginative play in my case.

No telly now here either although my 4 are allowed half an hour on the computer each after school on a Friday and then we watch something together on DVD or iplayer at the weekends. Not sure whether it makes it more into 'forbidden fruit' though so they won't be able to regulate themselves later. I just can't bear to see them endlessly lounging around watching stuff when they could be doing something more interesting.

It is harder when they are at home all day though and I guess there isn't anything wrong with popping something on for half an hour in the middle of the day if you need a break. We used to go to the park a lot and mine are all close together so had each other for entertainment which made it a bit easier.

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