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In not liking too much television for preschoolers?

(50 Posts)
ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 11:36:21

I don't really watch much television myself, the odd box set (currently into dexter and breaking the bad) and things on 4OD or I player if I've time (Fresh Meat at the moment). I'm not against good television and films when you choose to actively sit down and watch them, but I don't like TV culture when it's just on as the background to life and everything gets watched, regardless of what it is and whether it's any good. I also can't stand crap like X-factor etc. I think too much television like that can be detrimental to the imagination.

I've a three year old and a six month old baby. I don't particularly like the three year old watching television, he's never watched that much. Didn't watch any before he was one ish and then after that, only ever the odd episode of "In the night garden" or some DVD or film. The reason for this is 1) research about television not being good for under 3's 2) I can't stand kids TV, drives me up the wall 3) not wanting him to get addicted to it and keep pestering me for it 4) I want to play with him and encourage him to play by himself, rather than hand the responsibility over to the television. 5) A vague uncomfortable feeling that I doing him a diservice The baby I don't particularly want to watch any telly at all.

I'm not unrealistic, I don't want to ban it completely, but I don't like it and I try and limit it. But now I have a new baby he seems to be watching more and more. People just keep constantly telling me to put the telly on for him to give myself a break, and sometimes I do, if I haven't had any sleep, desperately need a shower, need to feed baby, need to do some work. But I limit it. The annoyance comes for me recently is that other people caring for him to give me a break sometimes just default put it on for him. I'll come back from doing something with the baby, catching up on sleep, having a shower to find him sat infront of cbeebies.

Now AIBU to be a bit fed up about this? If I wanted a break, I could just put television on for him myself! But I try really hard (and sometimes admittedly wear myself out) not to.

Can we have a bit of a debate about telly for preschoolers? I know there'll be loads of people come and say, don't be so precious, use television and don't feel guilty. Fair enough, everyone has their own things they compromise on or don't worry about. But is there anyone who also doesn't like telly for preschoolers? Am I alone? any other perspectives?

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 18-Nov-12 11:39:12

In France, it is illegal to pitch television at preschoolers, thus there is no TV schedule for children of that age.

Everything in moderation.

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 11:41:49

Wow I din't know that! and yes I agree, everything in moderation. Which is why he watches a little bit. No point in banning things that are part of life or you just make them more attractive. But interesting that the French do take that line!

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 11:53:56

here's a couple of links to reports and studies, the results of which make me want to limit television

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/09/ban-under-threes-watching-television
www.nhs.uk/news/2010/05May/Pages/watching-television-children-health.aspx

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 11:54:44

If your happy with what you are doing then whats the issue?

Ds is 3 and has a very active imagination, great speech, plays for hours happily. He also loves the odd bit of cbeebies and he has learnt a lot from it. When he is ill it's a godsend!

Its what works for us so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or does!

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sun 18-Nov-12 11:59:20

My preschooler and school aged kids watch minimal TV (about two or three hours a week maybe). Sometimes we don't watch any TV all week and then watch a couple of films at the weekend. With all kids, I use screen time as a reward for helping/good behaviour.

The rare exception is when we are ill, have a new born, extremely bad night etc - we then might watch an hour or two a day if we are house bound.

Meglet Sun 18-Nov-12 11:59:53

We have it on all the time when we're at home. It certainly hasn't hindered them academically or verbally.

They watch what they want or ignore it and play. I quite like cbeebies TBH blush.

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 11:59:53

Thanks for your opinion sirzy, I do agree with you that it's good that you're happy with what you're doing. I however am feeling a bit uncomfortable and challenged with what i'm doing, because I'm feeling pressure from family and friends to give in and use television in order to have a break sometime, but it goes against my instincts and ideals. and so therefore I started this thread hoping for a debate, to be able to read other's opinions, information, perspectives and ideas, to inform myself!

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 12:03:23

Sometimes tv is good to give yourself a break, there is no point in being a martyr and ending up knackered because you have been to entertain a toddler all day. Half an hour of cbeebies while you relax with a cup of tea can be enough of a break to enjoy the rest of the day.

Ds was up last night with his asthma so is knackered today, as such we have had more tv today than is normal. Other days it doesn't go on at all.

You shouldn't need to justify your choices though, tell people it's what works for you and ignore anyone who judges.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 18-Nov-12 12:03:38

I know what you mean, some people do have the TV on from first thing in the morning until bed time (I gaze over at DH!) - it's like electronic wall paper. Personally I'm selective in what I actually watch, I've either got my nose in a book or on the PC, although I suppose one could argue that is just a different form of electronic wallpaper!

Some families do use the TV as a babysitter - oddly for the amount of pre-school TV, these are the ones that turn up to school functionally illiterate and innumerate. That puzzles me somewhat as they have had endless hours of alphabet and counting games. I would have though every child over the past 10 years would be proficient in Spanish (Dora) by now also grin. Clearly that just isn't happening.

As I say everything in moderation. Going back a long time, before daytime TV was invented we used to watch specific programmes. Lunchtime had Peyton Place. Then the TV went off. Blue Peter. Then it went off until News at 5.45. Then it went off until World in Action (Wednesdays). I was brought up with very selective viewing - and the TV went off in the meantime back on for News At 10!

If I'm in alone, the TV is either off, or it is on mute with a news channel - just so I can see who has bombed the buggery out of where today.

cafebistro Sun 18-Nov-12 12:03:41

To be honest I think there are far worse things to worry about when raising children than TV. I don't see a problem with it.

WilsonFrickett Sun 18-Nov-12 12:10:19

If other people are looking after your child to give you a break, I think it's unrealistic to have them follow your rules. Fair enough if it's a family member who regularly looks after your child, ie a GP who has them three days a week, then I would expect there to have been some debate about how much tv, food, etc. But if someone is popping over for an hour to let you nap/shower/whatever, I don't think it's doing your DC any harm and they are actually doing you a favour.

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 12:10:32

Yes I agree, there are far worse things. But I didn't start a thread about them!

I sometimes think that it's just so insidious , such a part of of lives that we can't see the harm it's doing. Does anyone have any knowledge of any study or report about the benefits or lack of harm that television hat television has on preschoolers? Anything beyond anecdote that their kids are fine?

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 12:11:54

Also, ideals are all well and good but there is no harm in them being flexible, or even changing completly, when you have children!

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 12:13:14

Realistically it's an issue that is practically impossible to do any accurate research into as their are so many variables in a child's development.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 18-Nov-12 12:13:35

www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_nf=3&cp=36&gs_id=44&xhr=t&q=does+television+benefit+preschoolers&pf=p&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&oq=does+television+benefit+preschoolers&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=3320033cfdaf4959&bpcl=38625945&biw=1360&bih=673

Thwe world is your oyster - loads of beneficial studies - although as with any study, good or bad, studies are commissioned for a purpose. I always take them with a pinch of salt.

To summarise: Selective TV is a good thing, moving wallpaper is a bad thing.

I'm with meglet, mine is usually on. Although it isnt right now, as Ds1 (2) is playing with the ipad <awaits flaming>

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 12:15:19

wilsonfrickett, I kind of think this too, so haven't said anything to anyone about it. It just makes me not want to accept help from them again. Why can't people read a book, go for walk, draw a picture, play a game? Is it unreasonable to wonder that?

mumto2andnomore Sun 18-Nov-12 12:18:21

I think as long as you do other things with your children tv is not a problem.

I cannot read a book, draw a picture, play a game, go for a walk, as I am MNing

Or, I do these things, just with the TV on in the background?

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 12:21:13

Strangely watching TV doesn't stop people from doing any of the things on your list!

ditziness Sun 18-Nov-12 12:33:04

But it seems to. Put the television on and suddenly DS is motionless and hypnotised, and doesn't want to do anything else. That's why people put it on for some peace surely? Not because it has no effect.

It's the same for adults, if the television is on they always have one eye on it. You realise you're watching it without meaning to. If I'm round someone's house and they have the television on I can't help but watch it.

I wonder if there are any independant studies? The two I linked to seemed to be independent?

So so far the overiding feeling is IABU and there's no harm in telly?

FishfingersAreOK Sun 18-Nov-12 12:33:43

I used to "use" Cbeebies when my DC got in from a morning at Pre-School - they no longer had a nap but were worn out - so 45 minutes or so in front of Show Me Show Me gave them a re-charge/zone out time. DD would have then sat there for hours. DS used to have had enough by then and turn it off.

I kind of had the same ideals as you and did not/do not want the television on the whole time. But certainly selective Cbeebies was a god-send.

In addition I also "used" it occasionally to keep the two of them occupied (eg if I had just tidied the house, we were due to go out and I didn't want a mess created in 10-15 minutes IYSWIM - makes me sound OCD but promise am not). And once a month DS had almost a whole day of it on as I had to to do DH's accounts. Again not ideal - but DS enjoyed a "chill" day, I got stuff done easier (less "play with me" interruptions).

Apart from the tidied up times, I always tried to make sure there were some toys out too. DD would generally be too engrossed to play - but DS would sometimes do both.

DD now 6. She still loves television. She loves films. She still gets very engrossed. She is on the Gifted and Talented list at school (not a stealth boast honest grin) so it has clearly not turned her brain to mush or stopped her learning.

DS now 4. And still the same - will occasionally ask for television - particularly if he is tired and am happy to oblige if I can see he is shattered after a day at school. But we don't watch it very much at all now - probably less than 2 hours a week. unless we all have colds/flu and do a mammoth film/popcorn/snuggled under blankets thing like last weekend

Oh and never let them watch anything other than Cbeebies. Advert free and pretty good quality stuff. Even though I hate Mr Tumble. <shudders>

Sirzy Sun 18-Nov-12 12:35:49

You see DS will walk away from the tv if it's on and he doesnt want to watch it. Your post suggests by limiting it so much all you have done is make it more appealing.

My DSs arent hypnotised by it though, sometimes they watch, and sometimes they ignore and play. Possibly cause its less of a novelty?

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