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TV for Preschoolers

62 replies

GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 07:58

Anyone else read the advice bit on the front page of Mumsnet today and feel horribly horribly guilty?

Adding up the time my toddler sits in front of the TV (he's 21 months) and I've worked out on a good day it's 1.5 hours (so much for my vow he would only get half hour a day, lol) - half hour before lunch and dinner preparation, and half hour before bed to wind down with (we're fans of Little Bear and the bedtime business song on NickJR!).

Then there's the not so good days which are pretty frequent now that dh works away in the week and we've had this cold for ages (and it's really knocked us both out) and now ds has conjunctivitis so we're in isolation unable to go out and socialise. On these sorts of days the TV goes on for a whole morning or afternoon (and very often both).

In my defence, he doesn't usually just sit and watch unless he's not well or tired - he plays and glances occasionally at the TV when things grab his attention. I also make a real effort to comment on what he notices on the TV (except during meal preparation of course). We also (except while in isolation - argh have I mentioned I hate this week?!) go out at least once a day and socialise.

I haven't noticed any particular delay in development - he's got quite a large vocabulary (although I generally interpret for other people, lol) and strings together 2-3 words for sentences. Doesn't stop me wondering if he could be doing a lot better with less TV.

Anyone else feel like they've sold their soul to CBeebies?

OP posts:

Chiccadum · 13/02/2003 08:03

Yes, my dd1 screams the place down when we turn it off. I am quite rigid and stick to her having no longer than 1hr a day but dh is a pain and puts it on a soon as they come downstairs and will let her have it on all day. I personally can't watch more than 1/2hr television without getting bored and fidgety so I'll get a book and I would like to think that dd1 and dd2 will do the same.


slug · 13/02/2003 09:33

Nooo, don't say Cebeebies is bad! Cebeebies keeps everyone calm. DH (typical scientist) videoed the entire David Attenborugh series and puts that on everytime dd whinges. She loves the animals, and he worships at the feet of Sir Dave.


lorne · 13/02/2003 09:34

My ds who is 3.6 didn't really bother with TV until he was about 2.5. He now loves it. He too probably watches too much but I think there is alot of educational stuff for him to watch as well. There was one the other day about opposites
and he really enjoyed it.Dora The Explorer is probably his favourite but again I think he learns from this. At the moment his favourite video is Monsters Inc which he loves. I must admit I have to stop him sometimes from wtaching this as he would have it on far too much.


Katherine · 13/02/2003 10:01

I've gone through the whole guilt thing as since getting sky just before christmas the TV seems to be on cbeebies all day. I had a chat with some other mums about it and was quite surprised. The general concensus was that because the toddlers don't just sit and watch it, but do other things as well, just paying attention when something caught their eye then it wasn't so bad.

Also I've noticed that both DS (4.5) and DD (nearly 3) have begun really learning from it lately. Programmes like Tweenies, Tikkabilla, come outside etc have a lot of educational value. They've picked up songs, developed and interest in time and all sorts of things. Its the cartoons which are a bit mind numbing in my opinion.

Every mum struggles to get other chores done so if it buys you a bit more time and the children are benefitting from it then I don't see the harm. I think the only danger is that it becomes such a habit that they continue to watch this much when they are older and its less educational, but hopefully there will be other things distracting them by then.

Any mum who can tolerate the tweenies theme tune 3 times a day is a hero in my books!


Demented · 13/02/2003 11:17

DS1, now 4, has seen a paediatrician and a speech therapist for worries about a language delay (although his speech is normal now) and one of the concerns when he first visited them was that he did not have any interest in TV. They were delighted when at age 3 he started to sit through a Disney movie, his speech has come on no end since. I think the opinion is that good educational TV has it's place, although obviously it has to be balanced with other activities.


janinlondon · 13/02/2003 12:09

I have to agree. My DD watches far too much tv according to the experts, but she has a HUGE vocabulary and learns an enormous amount from it. (I'm not talking about TVs greatest bloopers or Summer Bay here!) But she loves to sing songs and do the dances (Mummy you do it too!) with the Tweenies. Whoever said tv watching was sedentary? Its not in our house! We often draw or colour in a picture while watching - if its about rainbows we draw a rainbow. If its about a rabbit we draw a rabbit and then find a book about a rabbit to read later. I don't think tv is a bad thing. We still read books and play and go out. And as a postscript, when I was 11 I was tested on a national survey comparing vocabulary development and language skills in relation to tv watching. I watched an average of four hours a day (I know that's awful!) and had the highest score in the country. TV is really not the demon its portrayed to be, so long as its controlled. How else do you have a three year old asking: "help me construct an obstacle course please mummy?".(!)


Gwynie · 13/02/2003 15:47

I agree with all comments made.

I used to watch loads when I was little - still went onto to get a degree in Modern Languages of all things!

Seriously, though, I felt v guilty when I read the info on the home page, but like many on here DS (18 mths) only watches if someone is singing or there's music, then he runs off to cause havoc.

I must admit that when I grew up, the TV was always on in the background, so I think it's a habit I have carried through from childhood (a habit that DH HATES).

Still, we are out and about for 4 out of the 5 weekdays so maybe all the TV we watch on the one day makes up the right weekly quota (I hope!)


deegward · 13/02/2003 16:11

Oh my god, I am such a bad mother, as I type my ds (nearly 3) is sitting downstairs in his little beanbag chair in front of cbeebies. We time going to preschool, and picking dh up from station to coincide with the end of programmes. Wo betide me if I try to leave mid Tickabilla, or Tweenies. That said, we do watch together and do things generated from the programmes. I am 34 wks pg so have found the more pg I become the more tv my ds watches.
At the moment, its not harming him physically, he is mentally and physically active, and has an imagination which is like nothing else. Hats off to those who haven't fallen into this trap, but heh there are worse things...


Lindy · 13/02/2003 16:13

I prefer to let my DS watch videos as I feel I have more 'control' over it (also I personally hate TV so it is never just 'on' for the sake of it) - we have a great community shop where you can borrow videos for a £1 (as long as you want). At this time of year my DS always has one video before bed (sometimes two if I am feeling weak willed!!) - his vocabulary is certainly very good for his age. However he does sit really close to the screen & his eyes are literally glued to it, so I can't say like others that he is doing other things. He's obviously learned a lot from the videos he's seen, Disney types - Jungle Book is great; so although I vowed I'd never let my child watch TV - it's the only thing that keeps me sane!! In the better weather we tend to go out walking before bedtime - roll on summer!!


Lindy · 13/02/2003 16:15

Another thought - I really admire those mums (& dads) who can watch children's TV or videos with their child/ren - I can't even bear to be in the same room!!


Gwynie · 13/02/2003 16:23

Tweenies Songtime is very bearable. I love all the songs on it (apart from the Rainbows are Magic song sung by Fizz)


GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 16:27

Can I be declared officially sad - I actively look forward to episodes of Bob the Builder I haven't seen...

The big boredom problem is the amount of times these programmes repeat on Sky - ds doesn't seem to care but I can feel my brain dribbling out of my ears...

OP posts:

Janeway · 13/02/2003 16:29

I love Tiny Planets, and ds quite likes it too

...could anyone enlighten me which programme has the "tiddlypeeps"?


GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 16:47

The Hoobs... and what's even more sad is that I could probably sing you the theme tune...

OP posts:

hmb · 13/02/2003 16:57

I think that Groove is great......I should get out more often.


GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 17:08

Groove is my favourite too ... I think it's the whole lack of eyes thing... makes him dark and mysterious. Ahem.

OP posts:

hmb · 13/02/2003 17:10

And it is the voice, so husky......oh my god, are we all mad, or what???


GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 17:46

Please someone say "or what"

OP posts:

Lindy · 13/02/2003 18:54

I don't know what you are all talking about .... but at least you are spending quality time with your children rather than rush off & log on to Mumsnet which is what I do!!


GeorginaA · 13/02/2003 19:02

Oh um..... feels guilty about that too

OP posts:

leese · 13/02/2003 19:10

just had to add that the TV goes on first thing, whilst I'm comatose, coming slowly round with a cup of coffee. Dd watches Beachcomber Bay around 6.30am,which I have come to hate with a passion - I associate that awful, smiley smiley Jenny woman with very early mornings. Then, just as I think things can't get any worse, Hi 5 comes on.........


Claireandrich · 13/02/2003 19:16

DD adores Tweenies and will sit and copy all the actions during Songtime. She is only 10 months old but loves singing and dancing. So, yes we do watch some children's TV if we are in during the day but I do sit and watch with her and we join in and singalng, and chat about what we see.

I really don't think it's that bad if it is an active thing, not just sat there. And we lots of other stuff too - Tumble tots, swimming, reading, playing, the park, and 2 days at nursery.

I refuse to feel guilty about a lot of stuff like this now. I think we get told so much conflicting 'advice' nowadays if you followed it all we'd end up sat in a room doing nothing.


Sweetypie · 13/02/2003 19:20

On Radio 2 the other day... they compared Tele/videos for young children as the electronic nanny... I thought that was good


elliott · 13/02/2003 20:23

GeorginaA and others, if they're not actually watching the TV but playing and occasionally glancing at it, why does it need to be on? Just a thought.


Bozza · 13/02/2003 21:06

I think I'm incompetent. I never remember when TV is on. Of course we are rather deprived and only have five channels but I have so far managed to catch the early morning Teletubbies a few times, Noddy once and Bob 3 times - 10 programmes in 2 years! DS also watches Thomas/Bob videos but only one episode a day max and often not even that.

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