Making TV decisions for your kid…

19 Nov

I’ve had several discussions lately about what we let our kids watch on TV, and when.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television viewing for children under 2.  I wish I could say I followed that diligently, but I can’t.  One of the things I like most about Baby Beez attending daycare is that it takes a huge chunk out of her potential TV exposure.  In an in-home daycare situation, I wouldn’t be comfortable making demands that the sitter not watch TV, and even if I made such demands, there would be no way to see that the sitter was actually keeping the TV off.  At daycare, there are no TV’s.  It’s a non-issue. I love it.

We only have 1 TV in the house (in the basement den), and we never turn it on in the morning.  In the evening, there is usually only about 1 hour of “free” time between when Baby Beez gets home from daycare, eats her dinner, and goes to bed, so there is very little time for TV exposure there.  All that being said, I do let Baby Beez watch TV occasionally.  I have limited tolerance for kids’ shows, and I only let her watch things that aren’t annoying…this means she’s gotten to watch Sesame Street, the Wiggles, Yo Gabba Gabba…and that’s about it.  Sesame Street is on at 7am on the weekends, so if we’re up then, I let her watch it.  If we’re sleeping, we skip it.


I have no idea when Yo Gabba Gabba or the Wiggles are on TV, so Baby Beez only watches clips of those shows now and then on the internet.  She loves the music, and likes to dance along.  We don’t watch the clips often, maybe once a week.

We also have the TV on with grownup shows when Baby Beez is awake sometimes.  Baby Beez isn’t very interested in TV, and most of her TV exposure involves her playing with her toys, while Mr. Beez and I catch a show.   This is not a whole lot of time (we don’t have much TV watching time anyway), so I’m comfortable that I’m not inundating her with TV.

Even so, it’s hard to make decisions about the content of shows it’s acceptable to have on while she is awake.  My biggest rule is no violence.  No shooting, no stabbing, no fighting.  I don’t even like to have shows on where people are having intense and angry arguments.  I know that as she gets bigger, I won’t be able to shield her forever, but I don’t see any redeeming value in her being exposed to anger and violence.

We end up watching a lot of food related shows on the Travel Channel and the Food Channel, and a fair number of shows on Style Network or E!  I also have a bad habit of watching VH1 top 20 videos on the weekend, which Baby Beez loves.  She loves to sway and dance to the music.  I change the channel when a video shows violent, or it gets all bumpin’ and grindin’, but since it’s VH1, there aren’t a whole lot of those.

How do you make decisions about whether to let your kid watch TV, or what shows to watch? What are your rules?


4 Responses to “Making TV decisions for your kid…”

  1. Nikki November 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    We don’t have any hard and fast rules about TV here. The kids are 3 and 6 now and are able to turn the TV on by themselves. They know they are allowed Nick and Disney. They know what shows I allow and which I don’t (violent, extra annoying, scary, etc). They have school during the day and aren’t home for much TV in the evening. A lot of the time they turn it on and are busy playing or drawing while they watch. They watch no more than two hours per day during the week. I think this is high, but it’s not like they aren’t getting outside. They are very active during the day, they eat well, and they get plenty of sleep. Madilyn is reading at a high level and is incredibly artistic. Nate recognizes letters and can read and spell small words at three. We have some issues with Nate playing “guns” but so far he has only been doing that at home until I lecture him. I don’t mind them watching TV because I know their exposure is limited and monitored. If I was staying home all day with them or having them with an at home sitter, I would be upset if they were watching TV.

    Knowing you and knowing that you really enjoy movies and TV programs as a relaxing hobby, it shouldn’t be a problem that you introduce your child to TV and movies. You are sharing what you enjoy.

  2. beezuskiddo November 24, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    You make good points. I don’t usually think of movies or TV as a hobby, but I guess they are. I often feel like I’m a couch potato and spend time in front of the TV that could be better used a million other ways. I worry that someday my little one will fall in the same pattern (of course, I worry about EVERYTHING anyway, so this isn’t much value).

    I also agree with your “not annoying” rule. Spongebob is banned from our house for this reason.

    • Nikki November 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      I hope you guys are having an excellent holiday season. Are you introducing Beez to Hannukah and Christmas or are you doing only Hannukah with her? I wasn’t sure how that worked out with your extended families. I might need to pick your brain on some ideas for my classroom on a Hannukah lesson. We usually just make menorahs and talk about the lights and oil because I don’t know much more and my kids are two. haha Let me know if you have any crafty ideas that two year olds could do.

      • beezuskiddo November 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

        Aw, thanks! Same to you!! We are only doing Hanukkah in our house, but we are going over to the grandparents’ house for Christmas.
        I’m happy to help with any classroom ideas…You could always do a “decorate a dreidel” type thing, or bring in potato pancakes for the kids to try.

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