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Maybe Some Television is Okay for Toddlers and Preschoolers

by Amanda on September 8, 2009
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),3 – 5 years (preschooler),Pop culture

soundofmusic1 How much television is appropriate for a toddler or a preschooler to watch in one day? Over the last 2 years on The Mom Crowd we have had many discussions about new preschool television shows and inappropriate content in movies, but we haven’t discussed how much TV is okay. I bet that a lot of us let our kids watch more TV than we care to admit.

My husband and I have discussed how much television we will allow our 2 year old daughter, Annabelle, to watch. While discussing the issue we both agreed that we both watched a lot of television growing up and we turned out okay. We were both fit kids and didn’t grow into slothful adults. So for now we are not terribly strict on the amount of television our toddler watches.

The truth is that I need help sometimes. Dora the “Sitter” helps me out a lot for when I need to shower, make dinner, or clean up the house. Frankly, I don’t think I could have transitioned to having 2 children over this past summer without Dora. While I nursed, snoozed a little, or dealt with a fussy baby PBS, Noggin, Disney morning shows were available.

This Summer was one of the hottest Summers ever recorded in Texas history. When the temperatures hit over 100 degrees for 50+ days in a row, you can’t go outside. While we were house bound this past Summer I was more lenient with TV watching. As the weather cools down we will be able to go outside more often and the need for television’s help will decrease. Additionally, she goes back to Mother’s Day Out twice a week in the Fall, limiting her TV watching even more.

When Annabelle can safely entertain herself and I can reason with her about her activities, then maybe I will be more limiting. Unfortunately (for my productivity) my daughter does not play well by herself. She gets bored and needs me or another friend in the room with her. She has inherited her parent’s extremely extroverted genes. It is not practical for me to play with her all day long. Instead of limiting TV to an hour a day, I try to spend an hour or two without the TV on with my little one.

We don’t let our toddler watch anything. There are certain Nickelodeon and Disney shows that she isn’t allowed to watch and I still fast forward certain parts of movies. Although, I am anxious for Annabelle to fall in love with movies, because I love family movie nights with popcorn.

When my daughter turns into a couch potato while watching TV and can play by herself without a lot of supervision, then I will revisit my TV time rules. For now I am not being too hard on myself about how much TV my daughter watches. And I don’t think other moms should be so hard on themselves either.

Did you watch a lot of TV growing up? Are you strict on the amount of TV you allow your preschooler to watch? Are you thankful when you can get a break courtesy of Noggin?

9 Responses to Maybe Some Television is Okay for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Julie
    September 8, 2009 @ 8:48 am

    I am sooo glad to read this! I was going to be the parent who didn’t let my child watch TV…until I had baby #2 14 months after baby #1! Somedays, you just survive, whatever it takes! We’ve become big fans of Noggin and Sprout…in fact, that was a topic of conversation at our kids-free tailgate party this weekend. My how life changes!

  • Comment by Amanda
    September 8, 2009 @ 10:31 am

    @Julie, oh my gosh 14 months is a short time! My hat goes off to you. Indeed, there are some days where I just make it until my husband gets off of work. I like Sprout too, but it seems to have a lot of commercials. I have been recording Thomas the Train on Sprout for my little one.

  • Comment by Christy
    September 8, 2009 @ 11:01 am

    I’ll admit it.. my kids watch tv :) We stick to PBS and Playhouse Disney, and of course, dvd’s. Living in Houston, we don’t get much of a break from the heat during the summer, and we don’t have a yard where the kids could go run and play in a sprinkler… so, we do indoor activities. But even sometimes just getting out to the car and getting in and out is exhausting (for both me and the kids). But I definitely agree that people can turn out ok with having watched tv as kids! :-)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Julie
    September 8, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

    @Amanda, yes, 14 months is shorter than we’d planned…sometimes God surprises you! :)
    Another confession…my in-laws gave us a dvd player for the playroom and that’s where my older son watches VeggieTales and Cedarmont Kids. I have no idea how my mom had 4 kids in 5 years(!) without these modern ‘necessities’!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by mels
    September 9, 2009 @ 6:02 am

    I think it’s more about content than medium. There are a lot of wonderful things to be seen on the magic box (or screen). For example, your picture shows The Sound of Music. An absolutely-no-tv rule would restrict classics like that, too! And that would be sad, because TV and movie “magic” can do things to inspire imagination…. I don’t think anyone can honestly claim never to have had his or her imagination or intellect inspired by the moving pictures. It’s what (and how) you watch that’s important.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Marsha
    September 9, 2009 @ 9:50 am

    First, I love that the girl in the picture is watching Sound of Music!! We have always let our daughter, now 4, watch tv. We only have one child, but it is still nice to have her watch tv while getting work done around the house. We rarely let her watch it alone, and we are usually watching her favorite shows with her and talking to her about them. Honestly, she has a great vocabulary and picks up on a lot of reasoning skills, some of which I think she picked up from watching some tv. We do limit it and make sure she plays outside a lot, etc. She watched more during the summer, now she started Jr K five days a week, full day, so she will watch less.

  • Comment by Amanda
    September 9, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    @Christy – for real. getting out in 100 degrees with 2 kids is a lot of work. I have to be prepared mentally & physically to do it. I am thankful cooler weather is coming!

    @mels – Hi! I agree a strict no TV rule would be sad. There are so many great classics. I re

    @Marsha – the girl in the picture is my daughter. I was surprised to find that she loved the Sound of Music even at 2! I agree – I don’t let our little one watch it without one of us nearby and we stick to her favorites.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    September 9, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

    Quality over quantity!

    We’re not real strict about the time our kdis watch because we know they’re watching quality PBS programming.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Brianne
    September 11, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    I think I watched a good amount of TV growing up. And I was always active and loved to be outside. Not so much into video games and we did not have a computer until middle school. I don’t think I am very strict with TV but I keep it under control. There are days when the TV doesn’t get turned on until the kids are in bed and then there are days when we were big couch potatoes! The TV saved my life when I was pregnant with my second child and morning/all day sickness was getting the best of me. Thank god TV was there to entertain my daughter! I am strict on what they watch. I love Playhouse Disney! I hate commericals, especially ones that are not even kid related. Although I don’t neeb my kids seeing every new toy out there, I rather them watch that then some anti- depression medication one. PBS is good and they have some good shows on it!
    All in all I am thankful for TV and so are my kids!

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