Television has never been an interest of mine. I personally could live without having a tv in our house. My husband, however, is a huge sports fan so not having a tv is not an option. Our 3 year old has never been one to sit to watch television. He would rather play in his room or outside, which is what I prefer. My 1 year old on the other hand LOVES tv. She has since she was able to sit up on her own. With both children, we monitor both television shows & amount of time watching them.
The majority of the time we kids let our kids watch shows we have recorded or things on Netflix. Mainly because without commercials, they are only actually watching about 22 mins of television. Also, so we can fast-forward through commercials because even commercials have violent/adult content. If something makes you watch makes you uncomfortable, it’s going to make your children feel 10x’s worse.
I know the calmness that comes with your children sitting quietly in front of the tv while you are able to take care of things. Believe me…I know. I would be a giant hypocrite if I said my children do not watch tv. Once my 3 year old has watched an hours worth of television throughout the day, however, the tv gets turned off. It’s time to find something else for him to do. Not only is tv a bad habit, it is linked to increased sleeping problems in children. Disrupted sleep can cause obesity & failture at school.
The first two years of life are a critical time for brain development. Television can get put before excercise, exploring, social interaction with other children, & chances to learn about the world around them.
The more television a child watches, the more desensitized to violence & risky behaviors. There is so much gore, bad language, sex, drinking, & druge use on television. Without my husband & I monitoring what they watch, they could be exposed to so much adult content before they ever start school. Right now they are able to watch things like Veggie Tales, Yo Gabba Gabba, Super Why, & Word World. There is some very educational childrens shows available. If the show doesn’t offer something of educational value, I usually don’t let my kids watch it.
It is almost impossible to totally keep your kids from everything violent & too adult. As a parent, however, I feel that it is my job to do my best to filter out as much of that as I am able to. There is so much I want my kids to learn & be able to do. If it’s a nice day, we head outside. If it’s raining, we stay inside & play. If my kids are watching tv, they are not interacting with me. We are not spending time together while staring at a television. We are missing out on some really important quality family time.
Television isn’t evil. It has some very educational & useful purposes. It also has very negative effects on our children. Like anything else, it needs to have limitations & needs to be used in moderation. There are so many things that you can do with your children other than sit them in front of the tv. A list of 75 Tv Free Activities For Toddlers is a good place to get ideas of how to move out from in front of the tv & do something fun.
Do you monitor the tv? Do you let your kids watch what they want, for however long they want?
Photo credit: She Knows Parenting