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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:
Gwynie · 14/02/2003 11:46

Also wanted to add that DS watches videos for the most part of his 'TV' viewing - I would not subject him to 'This Morning'

Clarinet60 · 14/02/2003 15:15

I really think our generation beats ourselves up over bringing up children. Our parents and grandparents just got on with one piece of housework after another while the children were left to amuse themselves. And here we are worrying if the tv is left on too long and worrying if we're doing too much housework in front of them, etc,....... we should just give ourselves a pat on the back really for being as good as we are. No wonder older women laugh at us for making such heavy weather of it all.

Clarinet60 · 14/02/2003 15:17

I sometimes subject DS to This Morning. It's half an hour of his programmes then half an hour of mine, if suitable. Share & share alike, that's my motto, otherwise you can end up with little prince syndrome.

Clarinet60 · 14/02/2003 15:23

In case I sound like a lax mother, I paint, cook, model or garden (sometimes all) with DS every day, and take him to plenty of playgroups and ballplay. I also use TV and mumsnet for myself (and him) to unwind to, and a much happier and more relaxed mum I am for it, too. I gossip with my friends when we are at their houses or mums and tots, or play with him as I see fit. Sorry, I'm rambling, but I feel we're getting a bit obsessive. We live in a great country and usually, we don't live in fear of being blown to bits and usually, we're not starving. Those of us who have healthy children are lucky and grateful, so Television-scmelivision, IYKWIM. Chill out about it and worry about something serious.

anais · 14/02/2003 21:35

I certainly wasn't suggesting that anyone was a lax, but personally I feel it does matter. Of course you shouldn't beat yourself up about it, but I really don't think we know the effects that it could have in the long run.

I am not proud of the society we live in - I don't think there's much to be proud of. I think there are certain aspects of the way we parent that are haing a negative effect on our children and therefore our future. Of course I'm not saying an hour of tv is breeding criminals, just that I think it's a small part of the problem. I could go into what I see as some of the other problems, but this isn't the place and I don't suppose anyone would be all that interested

lou33 · 15/02/2003 11:43

I think it also depends how many children you have too. It's a lot easier to keep one entertained than 2, 3 or 4, when you also have food to prepare, laundry to do, hoovering etc.....

lou33 · 15/02/2003 11:46

Having said that I do think a lot of programmes fro children are becoming too full of suggestive references. Today dh and I have banned Dick and Dom in da bungalow, because I walked in and heard a throw away remark about kids not beating their sausages! I know it sounds amusing to adults, but not amusing for kids to hear imo, and that is who the programme is supposed to be for.

Clarinet60 · 15/02/2003 12:00

In case my last post made me sound like a raving patriot (I'm far from that), I meant that comparatively, most of us (all of us owning a PC) have a lot to be grateful for. Most of the world is too poor to own a TV set, many are starving and some are about to be blown up. So worrying about how much TV our children watch is a luxury really. Better, perhaps, to think about how much time we spend with them, even if it's time spent doing other things while we're with them, and enjoy the time we have together. Nobody knows how much of it any of us will have, so to spoil it worrying about that seems a shame. Just being in the same room together is lovely and precious to a child, even if you aren't doing much. It's easy to forget that.
The fact that we click onto this website in the first place suggests that most of us are concerned about parenting and don't think we have all the answers. That alone puts us streets ahead of most, in the history of the world's parents, so perhaps we shouldn't sweat the small stuff.

GeorginaA · 15/02/2003 12:55

Well said Droile. I have to say that I think poverty and parents who don't give a s* are probably a lot larger factors in crime than whether your 2 year old watches Dora the Explorer...

Have decided to try and make a real effort to limit TV to the 1.5 hours telly that's "normal" in our household to get cooking done/relax in the evening together, but if I have to put the telly on because we've got viewers coming around that afternoon, I'm not going to stress too much! Am going to try and do small bursts of necessary chores done while he's awake more as well so I don't end up like a headless chicken when ds naps...

OP posts:
anais · 15/02/2003 20:30

Yes Droile, good point. I do think it matters, but certainly in the great scheme of things it pales ito insignifcance. I'm a worrier, but I would certainly not condemn anyone as a bad parent because their kids watch a couple of hours of tv - I'm sorry if I implied that in my last post. When I posted last night I was in the middle of a debate on another website about another situation which I feel very strongly about. I guess I projected some of my feelings about that over here.

In comparision with a huge part of the world we are incredibly fortunate, and you're right, we shouldn't get hung up on little things like this. Life's too short.

GeorginaA · 15/02/2003 21:03

Anais, I know I'm not Droile, but I didn't think you implied that

I'm a worrier too, so I understand where you're coming from. I do try to focus on the good things when I can though, it's just not always that easy is it?

OP posts:
Clarinet60 · 15/02/2003 22:22

It's cool anais, I didn't think you implied that either.
I'm a worrier too, but I tend to think that TV is one of the nicer things in life. I worry about starting school, especially after some of the horror stories I hear about bullying and the stifling effects of the current crazy curriculum. I worry about whether me and DH are going to stay the course and what effect it will have on the boys if we don't. I'm going off the point even more now, so I'll stop!

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