Saturday, September 12, 2009


when i first embarked on this journey of parenting, i had done a lot of reading and research about lots of different topics (feeding, sleep, tv, - from a variety of sources (, blogs, parenting magazines, books, talking to other moms, etc.) the more you read, the more conflicting opinions you get. it can all be mind boggling and ultimately, i've figured out that you just have to take it all in and pick and choose what feels right for you as the parent of YOUR child!

one of the topics that you hear about all the time is tv - how much is the right amount, when is your child old enough, what programs are appropriate, etc.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development. "

early on this resonated strongly with me and i was adamant about not having the tv on while kellen was in the room - even at a very young and unaware age! in fact, during my five months of maternity leave i don't think i ever turned on the tv once - even while he was napping in my arms or nursing, which was A LOT. over time, this has eased up a bit - it's hard to convince aa that a sporting event can't be on the tv when kellen is playing in the room and here is where my confession begins.

in the last few months, probably around the time the boy turned 18 months and getting ready for work and school in the morning had become more and more challenging...i started turning on the tv to buy me a few minutes! the first show i turned on for him was little einsteins - i liked the music, the art and the interaction the show has with the children - seemed fairly age approrpriate and didn't creep me out like many of the shows that are out there do! at first he had zero interest...would catch his attention for a minute tops, but because he'd never really had meaningful exposure (is that even possible!) to tv he could care less! after a few times - and i don't do it every morning - he would stay in his little chair watching the show for longer and longer time increments - we're talking 1 minute to 5 minutes...but hey, any amount of time for me to get ready in the am is appreciated! we are now to the point where he will sometimes watch the entire 25 minute show and i admit that it makes me smile to see him interacting along with the characters on the show - like when he pat, pat, pats his lap to help rocket take off - SO CUTE!

now i fear he might like his "shows" a little too much. he will pull out his little chair and ask for a show fairly often and sometimes gets upset if we don't let him watch a show. i can see how it's really easy to get carried away with tv time, so we still are very limited in our show watching. he probably gets to watch a show about 3-4 times a week and doesn't always finish the show. there are two things he will rotate with - little einsteins and a dvd called that baby, which is kid and parent friendly cover music with different visuals that kellen really enjoys (and also happens to feature his seattle cousins in a couple of the videos!). we've tried sesame street, although it's just not capturing his attention...but he does like to watch short elmo videos online! he's also seen handy manny and the mickey mouse club, but again - not super interested.

i'm guessing that once rolo gets here, it will be easy to rely on the tv a little bit more and if that is what happens, i'm going to cut myself some slack...although i'll still ensure that we are selecting good shows and not get too carried away with it. i also want to make sure that we don't use tv as a reward for good behaviour - that is not the way i would like to reinforce the tv in our house. but like all things, my views/opinions could change over time - and i'm sure the professional opinions and recommendations will continue to change, which is why you just have to continue to trust your parental instinct!

so, i'm curious...what are your thoughts on tv for your little ones? if you choose to watch some tv, do you have any favorite shows or recommendations for programs we should check out? how about online sites for the toddler age child?

also - just to opinions are my opinions and not intended to judge in any way. that is why we all get to make our own decisions about what is best for our own children!!! :)


the o's said...

i am with you all the way ang! i was totally adamant about wes not ever seeing the tv on for the first 13 mos of his life. and even now he hardly watches it, but i have borrowed some baby davinci dvd's from the library and i will admit: it's SO nice to put it on during a mealtime while he eats and i cook dinner/check email/catch up on bills, etc. my overall goal is to not have kid(s) who always need the tv or computer to be entertained or have fun. i think if they are spending the bulk of their awake time in interactive/imaginitive play, it's a huge bonus and the tv is not as big of a deal when you use it as a distraction. you are a great mom and i agree with you that you should cut yourself some slack w/ #2 coming along... those little shows might be just what you need sometimes to keep kellen happy!

the o's said...

and ps- i would bet money that all our #2's will be watching sesame street at 9 mos don't you think?! ha ha

A, J, and G said...

I think anyone who said your children shouldn't watch any tv before their second birthday doesn't have kids! i say, if it buys you some time, go for it! It's not like you're letting him be a couch potato or watch it all the time.

We turn on the TV for Grace twice a day. Once in the morning after she wakes up while she drinks her milk, and once after her nap when she drinks her milk. It's about 5 minutes each time, but it keeps her in my lap, in the chair while she drinks. Otherwise she gets distracted by all her toys and doesn't want to drink her milk. We usually watch Sesame Street in the morning and Animal Planet in the afternoon. She doesn't really sit and watch it, but when she starts looking around for toys to play with, it catches her eye long enough to keep her in my lap and finish her sippy.

Dottie said...

B and I tend to have the TV on as background noise, once having D we are better and will turn music on instead. But, D watched a little bit of baby einstein when he was younger and watches a few shows on sprout off and on throughout the week. I don't mind on days he is at daycare because they don't have the TV on there. So days like that he likes to watch a show before going to bed or when I'm cooking. Cailou, curious george, or elmo tend to be his favorites right now. If he asks for a show and its not time or he already has watched one for the day, I just say no that it isn't tv time.

I guess I'd be concerned that tv watching hindered him if he was having trouble talking, communicating and didn't have good imagination skills...all of which are there you have it. I don't think its a bad thing in appropriate doses.

Heather said...

I've started to turn on PBS in the mornings as well to buy myself some time. Hadley is still maybe watching 1 minute of it, just not interested.

I thought the same things when she was born, I did not want to have tv on at all. Now I find myself coaxing her into our room and talking to her about Sesame Street just to see if I can get a couple minutes to do my hair and put on my makeup. My how my attitude has changed!