Sunday, October 14, 2007

TV Deprived Kids

I'm pretty strict about television viewing in my home. The kids are usually allowed about 30 minutes to an hour a day (yes, collectively). And they only get that about three times a week. On most days, we don't watch TV at all. I do, however, slack up on the weekends and let the kids watch the Disney channel or cartoons in the morning. However, this past weekend it was such nice weather that I sent them all outside to play.

To my utter amazement, my two youngest girls had found a box and pulled it up to the front steps. They sat on the bottom step and were "pretending" to watch TV. They were laughing about all of Spongebob's funny antics when I stepped outside to check their foreheads for a temperature. I couldn't believe it! A beautiful day, woods full of adventure, and my girls were watching a cardboard box!!

But I decided--heck, they're using their imagination. I may as well pop some popcorn!!

What about you? Am I just an odd bird? (Actually, I already know that answer). How much is too much? And can there be too little? Do you sometimes use TV as a babysitter? I'll be the first one to profess that I do. Those few days during the week that they get to watch TV are always when things are a whirlwind around the house and I'm trying to get a meal on the table. So, share your thoughts. I'd love to hear.


Manner24 said...

I know that I let my son watch way too much TV and play way too many video games. His sister is a lot younger than him so he doesn't always like to play with her so it keeps him entertained and he loves it. I just need to know some different activities for a 9 year old boy. Being this close to winter in Chicago I know the cold weather is right around the corner and playing outside will not be an option. Any ideas.

CarrieB said...

Hi Hannah,

I found your book at Borders last night and became instantly intrigued. So much of your philosopy fits so well with my own. I look forward to reading your book, completing the exercises and browsing your site and blog.

As for the TV question: We limit weekday TV to about 30 minutes each day IF there is time. I don't allow morning cartoons, because of the distraction. If kids are totally dressed to the shoes, backpacks packed up and ready for school, I'll let them turn it on for the few minutes I need before departure.

Weekends are more relaxed. Sometimes we rent family movies and that is a weekend downtime treat. My husband was raised without a TV, so we go back and forth on whether we should just pull the plug completely. The internet is my TV. I seriously have not tuned in for 10 minutes of any fall show--no time. But I do like my internet time, blog checking and emailing--no better than vegging out in front of TV, just different.

Shannon said...

one thing I use to use more often and need to start again is quiet time in the kids rooms. I set a timer and they play in their rooms for whatever amount of time. There are no video games, computers or tvs in their rooms. At first it was difficult for my girls (they don't self-start very well). But it was very exciting as they got use to it to see how creative they were entertaining themselves. Mine are 10b,8g, and 5g.

The 4 J's said...

My daughter is 17mo and I let her watch about 20/30min in the morning while I get dressed, but it's a Baby Sign Language DVD from Baby Einstein and she's learned a lot - we've watched it together at other times. It's fun to see her so excited about it. We started teaching her sign language from about 6mo and although she had no clue at first, when she did catch on it made our lives simpler because we could communicate better.

She also gets to watch another 30min or so in the early evening while I'm preparing dinner. This time it is usually a Disney show or a British cartoon that she loves: FiFi and the Flowertots. While it's not educational per say, it is positive and the characters are some that she sees around town while shopping and this makes it fun for her.

I'm not totally against TV in small doses. Everyone needs a break from reality once in a while - I know I'd be lost without my favorite Food Network episodes!!

Hannah Keeley said...

OOH! I love Food Network, too!

Here's an idea for manner24--I get lots of jigsaw puzzles when the weather gets cold. It's an activity that the whole family can do and we can start and stop it as we please.

Also, maybe if he likes TV, let him get on the other side of the lens and try his hand at producing...could be fun!

Tawnja said...

Yes, I admit to using the tv as a babysitter, especially since I recently started college. I don't allow certain programs, and I definately (even though we live inthe Great White North-Canada)I will shut off the tv and send them outside into the yard. This is actaully one of my SHOULDS is "I should not let the kids watch so much tv". We are trying to spend more time doing family things.

Jillian said...

I don't think there is such a thing as "TV Deprived"!! My husband grew up in a mountainous area where TV didn't come through (so it wasn't an option) and he is a much better self-starter than I or my TV indulged siblings are. We limit TV by not having it, only a few videos allowed from the library once in awhile, that I approve. I've actually had pediatricians (we move quite a bit, as my husband is working on a PhD) comment on how well our children (DS4, DD2) play with each other and alone while waiting for appointments. I also think that spending more of our downtime in books rather than on shows has really increased their literacy capability. I will admit, though, that when I do allow a show from the library, I use it to my advantage to get things done around the house, so I can spend time with them afterward.

ecomama said...

I admit this is on my "shoulds" list as well. My 3 year old watches about 1-2 hours a day. Most of that is at 5 a.m because that is when she wakes up in the morning! We have tried many things to get her to sleep longer, nothing works. It is way too early to be up playing, and I don't want her waking up the other kids, so our solution is to plug in a DVD and get a bit more shut eye. During the rest of the day it is limited to a few minutes while I prepare dinner.The way I see it, if they are getting enough one on one attention, and free play, along with other activities this is not the end of the world. Although I do keep in mind that tv is not the best way for them to spend their time ,and it is off for most of the day.