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How much TV is too much for a toddler?

(16 Posts)
Niddlynono Fri 25-Feb-05 22:39:29

Just wondering how much TV other mums (& dads) let their children watch. I'm a bit a of a telly addict myself and since I do some work from home it's very convenient to put a videos/CBeebies on for DS to watch while I get on with my work.
I'm not concerned about his development at all - at nearly 2.5 he knows things like the alphabet, days of the week, 1-20 (and 1-10 in Italian), can easily do jigsaw puzzles aimed at 4-5 year olds and is incredibly articulate (according to my health visitor and childminder amongst others) but I do feel a bit guilty at the amount of time the TV is on in our house (particularly when DH is at work).
On some days it seems like the TV is on for most of the time although we'll still do stuff like painting/playing etc while it's on so it's not like he's just glued to the TV 24/7.

Chandra Fri 25-Feb-05 22:51:56

DS has only half and hour a day, however he can barely count from 1 to 9 in a mixture of three languages, and has not grasped the concept of days of the week yet. (he is 24m old)

If you have to work you have to work, I have a friend who was a single mum working from home and in one of those discussions in my pre-child time the subject of the amount of TV time and Play station was brought up, friends complained about those mothers who allowed children hours of TV and Play Station to which my friend responded "if they don't see videos or play games, I can't work and if I don't work they don't eat" Someway I know she was NOT exagerating a bit (TBH there's no benefit for unemployment in my country), you need to do what you need to do, and as long as you have some other time when you can dedicate some time exclusively to him and have chosen well the videos and toys, I supose he will be fine.

franch Fri 25-Feb-05 22:57:05

I started a similar thread a while ago when DD started watching TV. She's still only 13mo so I'm not very qualified to comment but I would suggest switching the TV off when you're doing other things - how about, say, sticking a music CD on when you're painting/playing? Just a thought.

CBeebies and videos are good choices though if you're going to have the TV on, IMO.

kama Fri 25-Feb-05 23:15:56

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kama Fri 25-Feb-05 23:16:25

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rogan2001 Fri 25-Feb-05 23:31:35

my 3.3 yr son has always watched a lot of tv, only cbeebies or nick jr and he is very bright so my hv and his nursery teachers tell me, we do spend a lot of time playing and doing other activities, but his nursery teacher commented the other day that his vocablary is excellent and a lot of what he has learnt is from watching his kids programmes, whilst i get on with jobs that need to be done. I would'nt worry too much about it as long as it is tv aimed at their age group, i think it teaches them lots.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 13:16:35

Dd, 2.4, sees about an hour a day I guess. A bit in the morning while having breakfast (mostly because I'm so rubbish in the mornings and she's a live wire I can't keep up with until I've downed a couple of coffees) and a bit in the early evening when I'm making tea and she's too tired to entertain herself properly.

I can understand having t.v. on when you've really got to do other things, especially if you control what's seen. But I don't see the point in having it on in the background when you're doing activities with him. Don't you find it rather distracting?

Saker Sat 26-Feb-05 13:45:07

I have two boys aged 3.5 and 5.5y. The way I try to look at it is "Would they be doing something more constructive if the tv was not on?" If I have time to play with them or they are in a mood to play happily by themselves then I would switch off. If they are tired and just moping around not doing anything much and I am too busy to do anything about it, I might put it on. This works out around 0.5-1.5h a day I would say. I am also quite careful about what they watch - I think it is important that if they are watching unsupervised they can understand most of the content so they actually get something out of it.

I personally hate having the tv on in the background and if I go in and find my boys are half watching and half doing something else, I would switch off.

morningpaper Sat 26-Feb-05 13:46:00

From what I recall of studies, 2 hours a day is the cut-off mark where tv watching can become possibly detrimental.

Obvioulsy quality of tv watching matters too, although all my dd ever does it watch cbeebies while I'm totally ignoring her or reading the paper.

jane313 Sat 26-Feb-05 14:23:03

They had a thing on Child of out Time about it and they filmed the triplets watching tv as it was on pretty constantly. But mostly they were doing other things whilst it was on so the amount they actually viewed was quite small. So the time its on for its not the time its viewed for. They also got them to watch and talk about an Eastenders episode when Janine pushed Barry off a cliff. They had no idea of it being scary. I remember reading a lot of the research about it and some of it was very poor. One view was quite intersting about how every new form of entertainment is villified. In the 18th century people were looked down on for reading novels instead of proper history/philosophy or the classics. Theatre going was meant to corrupt the young too. Now its the evils of tv and video games.

nikkim Sat 26-Feb-05 14:37:33

I have just been thinking the same thing as I have had the TV on since about twelve while I have been doing houswework.

Dd is used to me doing things with her all day and I do the housework at night but had a massive row with dp last night about the house always being untidy and how I am always tired as I spend all my time in the day playing with dd and then try and cram everything into the night time leaving little time for me and dp and we are always knackered and crabby.

So as I said for the past three hours she ahs been watching telly and I have been cleaning. Feel like a shite mum for it but I suppose we do have things to do and if we can let them watch telly so we can get them done then everyone is happier!

Niddlynono Sat 26-Feb-05 16:34:22

Thanks for all your postings.
So far today (since I don't work at the weekends) the only TV DS and I have watched is a nature documentary and we've had fun doing jigsaw puzzles and general goofing around. I only wish I had the time to do that with him during the week.
I will make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of time the TV is on though.
Gotta go, DS has just asked me for the 'red jigsaw please darling'!

Earlybird Sat 26-Feb-05 19:46:33

We watch a bit in the morning before school, and a bit at the end of the day - probably about 90 minutes a day total. However, there is usually one day each weekend where it's more. I'm knackered, and want the downtime. Also I rationalise that dd's been stimulated plenty during the week with playdates, school, tumbletots, ballet, trips to parks/museums, so it's fine to have a bit of a "couch potato" day once a week - especially when the weather is too nasty for outside activities.

On a tangent - it always makes me smile when we talk about "how much tv each day is too much" for kids. I'm glad that no one is asking "how much computer time each day is too much" for mums!

bobbybob Sun 27-Feb-05 02:55:47

Ds is 2 (today) and watches a 15 minutes of wombles, Hairy Maclary or Fimbles while I have a shower in the morning. At weekends he doesn't watch any because dh is here.

KarenThirl Sun 27-Feb-05 08:29:07

We don't watch much tv in our house so it's followed that ds doesn't either. OTOH as a baby we found he was more likely to eat if placed in a chair with the telly on. On the whole tv is a reward for ds and only available at certain times of the day. A rare treat is to watch a favourite movie at teatime, but his concentration span is so crap that he forgets to heat (sigh) and has to be prompted, so it's not as much fun as it could be.

If you're concerned about the content your child is watching you could stick to vids/dvds. Personally I reckon today's children's telly is very education-orientated so content shouldn't be a problem, and indeed children can learn a lot from it that they wouldn't (at young ages) if they weren't watching.

I personally don't think it's a good idea to keep the telly on all day, as it detracts children from learning how to amuse themselves in other ways. Unfortunately needs must and for most mums it's a necessary tool to enable them to do other stuff around the house or to work.

FairyMum Sun 27-Feb-05 08:49:11

My kids are allowed 30-60 minutes tv a day, but maybe up to as much as 3 hours on a rainy weekend. I personally think 1 hour is fine, but nothing more. I don't watch more than 1 hour a day myself. Not a great fan of tv. I think it makes you very passive,

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