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T.v or no t.v? That is the question

(43 Posts)
Fozi Mon 07-Apr-14 09:41:16


I am sure that this topic has been discussed endlessly but I would love some feedback regarding the kids watching t.v.
Overheard a conversation between two mums talking about how they refuse to let their children watch t.v endlessly and limit it to 1/2 an hour a day. (Their kids are 2&1/2) have heard loads of parents say the same or similar thing.
Needless to say I scarpered off before I could be drawn into the conversation. Now I'm sitting at home feeling like I'm such a neglectful mum (especially as I'm a teacher and should know better?) my two are 3 yrs old.

What do you all think?

RoadToTuapeka Mon 07-Apr-14 09:56:29

My two are 3, and 15 months. They watch TV extremely rarely. Kind of by default and maybe fortunately, but our TV subscribtion doesn't get any channels that have children's TV except at odd times like 3pm when I forget/one is napping so we don't catch it all for that reason.

But when the eldest was younger and we lived in the UK and had kids TV on tap, I avoided it except for selected stuff that I liked, like Tinga Tales and Baby Jake, as I disliked how slack jawed the little one was when watching it - that, and the inanity of it - In the Night Garden was so so so so repetetive! I used TV when the baby was feeding as it usefully distracted the eldest from wailing/leaping about on me and the baby/preventing the baby from feeding. However I prefer using short bursts of DVDs (Fireman Sam, Pingu, Peppa Pig is about all we have, and music DVDs called Love to Sing). I can't stand the massive meltdown that ensues when I turn the DVDs off though so I use them sparingly eg when I need to cook dinner and the children just can't seem to play without screeching.

I'd like to think I will keep TV/screen time to a minimum as they get older too, but who knows. My sister and I gawped for hours after school and in holidays at absolute crap from when we were about 10, but as younger children we never had a TV. Instead we read books, played board games, ran around and generally found other amusements which I consider to be a much better thing. Personally I think there is no need for young children to watch much and as I mentioned above, when the children do watch they are the picture of slack jawed cliched TV watching and practically drooling, so I dont like it for that reason.

TV has it's place - rainy days when other options exhausted, distraction at dinner cooking time, but it is all to easy imo to rely more and more on it so I prefer just to not really use it.

Fozi Mon 07-Apr-14 10:03:30

Thanks RoadToTuapeka

Everything you said makes perfect sense. I totally agree about hating the way the children sit in front of the TV with that "blank" look on their face. Sometimes, whilst I'm trying to get the endless housework done, it's seems that the TV is the only resort....... As at the ,moment my twins going through the phase of fighting endlessly!

Dixy30 Mon 07-Apr-14 10:08:07

My2&4yr old watch am half and hour a day, prefer not to though.

The children I know who have it on as background noise are all hyperactive/ naughty/ can't focus. You can tell.

PirateJones Mon 07-Apr-14 10:27:58

6 & 13 here, Some weekends they sit and watch for hours, 5am to whenever (depending on what we are doing), then again in the evenings too.

BUT we rarely watch TV during the week, it stays switched off, i always try and do something together as a family in the evenings instead.

fertilizemyeggsbenedict Mon 07-Apr-14 12:30:32

I don't have any problems letting my 15 mo watch tv. In fact I love watching him smile when he sees a character he likes and he laughs and smiles when I do an impression from one of the shows on baby tv (satellite channel). He points out when he sees something he recognises, ball, shoes, balloon etc and he gets quite animated if a character is upset or does something naughty, so he's often not sitting slack-jawed and vacant. I don't get why people are so against it! As long as they're getting fresh air and doing other things during the day as well. We have the tv on intermittently throughout the day, while he sits and watches it, I have a cuppa or get dressed. It's great. If I have to do housework he usually likes to "help" anyway rather than watch on his own. I'll state for the record here and now, I bloody love tv!!

stargirl1701 Mon 07-Apr-14 12:36:27

We follow the US guidelines of no screen time until 2 years.

Ferguson Mon 07-Apr-14 19:02:41

As others have said, keep it to a sensible amount, and personally I think select just a few appropriate programmes, and let those be a regular feature of the day or week. Also, more will be gained if an adult or older child watches as well, to encourage discussion or appreciation of the programme.

And it doesn't have to be only Cbeebies; some natural history, travel, or even well-chosen music, dance or science items shouldn't be excluded.

PolterGoose Mon 07-Apr-14 19:22:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ExBrightonBell Mon 07-Apr-14 19:55:53

My ds is 20 months and watches no
TV and never has. That's just my personal choice, I don't see that there are any benefits for him from watching TV. I also found the US advice for no TV for under 2s to be interesting.

Sheneverdid Tue 08-Apr-14 13:17:48

My Dc (DS 9, Dd 5) watch TV whenever they want too, more so after school for the 1st hour while they unwind. Nine times out of ten they will go off and do whatever they feel like or we are out and about doing things as a family anyway.

My DS actually benefits from watching TV because he learns far better watching than doing, we can/have spent endless amounts of time trying to teach/explain things to him which haven't had any effect then we have found an appropriate program which he has watched once and has got it straight away.

I think watching TV is OK, it's when a TV is used as a virtual babysitter (and I have seen this many times at my siblings houses) where the child is left in a pushchair day in day out staring at it with no 'real' interaction that it becomes an issue, affecting development in all sorts of ways.

sleepyhead Tue 08-Apr-14 13:35:29

Ds1 is 7 and, like Sheneverdid's two, pretty much self regulates. He goes off and does something else when he's had enough.

I would never postpone an activity or going out just because there was something on tv, but I'd record it to watch later.

When he was younger he liked cBeebies and a lot of imaginative play was based around the characters (endless games of Octonauts hmm). I don't think it did him any harm and again, he didn't watch for hours so there was no need to impose a specific limit.

Ds2 is only 1 and has no interest in the tv, but I think it would be pretty unfair to Ds1 to ban it when his brother's around until Ds2 is 2. I can't remember when Ds1 started actually watching, maybe 18 months?

I just can't get too het up about "screen time" tbh. Remember, people used to be horrified by the thought of the impressionable young turning their brains to mush through reading...novels shock wink.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Tue 08-Apr-14 13:45:51

I don't limit TV - I found that letting them decide is the best gauge and also if you have access to a wide variety of programmes they tend to get quite choosy. IME it's the kids who have TV on a strictly limited basis who become zombified when it is on. (And that's not a bad thing if it's only occasional) As long as TV isn't the main or only activity.

Also it gives kids a common point of interest / conversation when they begin nursery or school.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Tue 08-Apr-14 15:01:01

The TV is almost always on in my house. My DS (20 months) is desensitised to it I think - doesn't take much notice. Its just background noise.

Don't see anything wrong with it really. Its a part of modern life.

stargirl1701 Tue 08-Apr-14 15:12:50

The problem with constant TV is delayed speech development.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Tue 08-Apr-14 15:17:08

don't believe that for a minute.

Forago Tue 08-Apr-14 15:21:43

We are the same as other poster - virtually no TV during the week (though eldest age 9 has started watching big football games only on the odd evening). This is pretty easy as we both work. At weekends they watch TV but it tends to be hour of TV, out to activity, hour in the garden, half hour of TV, hour on the trampoline, hour on the wii etc type of thing - they rarely sit there for hours and we minimize it for the youngest (3) and often shoo him off to the playroom to play while the older ones are watching a cartoon etc.

I think few hours over the weekend (or and hour or two a day) is absolutely fine if content is age appropriate and they are encouraged to do other things as well.

I don't really like having it on as background and turn it off if no one is actively watching anything. I also won't let them watch the news.

LadyInDisguise Tue 08-Apr-14 15:25:05

There is TV and TV.
In front of the TV all day long,no othervtype of entertainement isn't a good idea. In some children, they seem to get co p!etely hypnothized by it.

I have personally a big issue with adverts and some specific programs.

So I choose not to have a TV but to let them watch DVDs or the iplayer. That way we have little or no adverts and they have to choose what they watch which decrease the hypnotic effect.

Re the time limit. Tbh I think it's more for the parents so there is some time limit. Easier to enforce or to explain.

Forago Tue 08-Apr-14 15:26:22

I agree about the endless toy advertising - drives me crazy. We try and watch the channels without it of record programs and watch them separately.

LadyInDisguise Tue 08-Apr-14 15:29:49

BTW my experience is that I have one child who is able to self regulate ie not completely hypnotised by it, the other that can't is he would watch anything o TV, regardless of the subject.
So I wouldn't start with assumption that they will.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 08-Apr-14 15:39:07

I have allowed my children to self regulate- it has never been an issue. They can go days without watching, but sometimes - like me enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon in front of the box. they are teenagers now and probably (through choice) watch less than 2 hours a week.

MrsRuffdiamond Tue 08-Apr-14 15:40:52

I don't think it's accurate to say that it is the amount of time the T.V. is on which directly correlates to speech development. Surely there are lots of other factors involved?

Constant T.V. doesn't of itself delay speech development. Adults interacting less with the children in their care when the T.V. is on might indeed do so. But there are many adults who interact poorly with their children, regardless of T.V. usage.

You could have a household where the T.V. is never on, but the adult is not interacting well with the child, and this could also lead to delayed speech development.

You could also have a household where the T.V. is on a lot, but maybe the adult is watching alongside, entering into conversation about what they are watching, interacting fully with the child at all times, where speech development would not be delayed at all.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Tue 08-Apr-14 15:54:23

What MrsRuffdiamond said ^^

The TV may be on in the background in my house, but my DS barely registers its on, until maybe a show comes on that he particularly likes (he usually only watches for the theme tune, and then loses interest), and sometimes its a good way for me to distract him if he is about to have a meltdown or when I need to change nap

Usually he will play on his own for a while, I will play with him for a while, we go out, we have endless "conversations" and his speech is good, he helps me with housework etc etc. He is a normal child. The TV has absolutely no relevance in our case.

Each to their own and that. But seriously some people need to chill the fuck out. wink

MrsRuffdiamond Tue 08-Apr-14 16:05:22

seriously some people need to chill the fuck out. wink

Haha, that's what I meant to say! grin

showtunesgirl Tue 08-Apr-14 16:10:09

DD is allowed to watch TV so long as it's in the other language that I speak. grin We've actually found it really helpful and she's picking it up fast!

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