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Why I Don’t Limit TV Time

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10 Responses

  1. Well I’ll be your first commenter on this topic 🙂 We love TV here. I watch it, the kids watch it, we watch it together, etc. However, I do set limits on ALL “av time” (audio visual). They are not allowed free access to tv just as they are not allowed free access to the fridge. They are not allowed any video games on school nights and on weekends, they get 1 hour of video game time. I strictly control what they are allowed to watch and it’s generally PBS and documentaries. No commercials (thank you, DVR!)

    Life is too short to be plugged in endlessly and I don’t buy into the original premise that Cheeseslave had that kids will automatically start self-limiting themselves when given carte blanche to watch TV or play video games. I know ZERO children who are school aged who would let themselves STOP playing/watching spontaneously–including my own.

    Just my .02!

    1. You instigator you! 😉 I thought Ann Marie (Cheeseslave) brought up a good topic that many parents struggle with. My thoughts behind it don’t line up with hers, but I wanted to address the reasons why TV is okay in our house. Video games are only educational preschool games that she plays a few times a week, so that’s never an issue here. There are exceptions to every rule (like no TV) and it’s nice to not feel like an island when making difficult choices.

      I agree with modifying screen time for kids who will just zone out all day and definitely monitoring what they all watch. We don’t even watch the news here. Katie is sensitive to negativity, and I don’t see any need to bring it in the house. Personally, I don’t enjoy hearing about all that’s wrong with the world on a constant basis either.

      In our case, Katie has always moderated her own TV time because she actually does. She gets a chance to rest and fill her head up with ideas for play, and then she’s off acting out new scenarios for the next couple of hours. For the children who are able to do this and for those who have special circumstances, it doesn’t cause the same problems that it does for many other kids. She still spends time doing art projects, playing with toys that spark her imagination, reading books, and learning about the world. It doesn’t cause nightmares, stifle her imagination, stunt her social skills, or affect her learning capacity.

      It’s good to remind ourselves that the rules our society puts into place are not right for everybody all of the time. Studies that ‘prove’ this or that can always be disproven and need to be taken with a grain of salt. Always research your issues and apply them to your own situation. My recommendation for everyone: Do the best that you can for your children, and you’ll be in good shape!

  2. As someone who has been fatigued for 2 full years or more, I feel this post. I have released myself from worry over this issue because I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t be supermom. I’m sick, my kids are sick, and we must do things differently. And my Micah man learns a lot from the TV, too!

    1. We always have to give ourselves permission to do our best and let things go when we need to. You have made a giant leap forward on your healing journey so feel good that you are doing something about it!

  3. I had read cheeseslave’s post, and while I agree with her conclusions for her family situation, I come from a different situation– I have a ADHD foster daughter, and when she watches tv, it does not turn out well. She seems overstimulated– demanding, bored and cranky. Her younger sister has no such problem, however, it isn’t worth the fight to allow one to watch and not the other, so no one watches tv regularly in my home. I have not seen a child that can self-limit on tv, but I’m dealing with hyperactive, neglected kids.

    This is not to say, we never watch tv– there are days that the only way I can get dinner done and still be sane is two or three episodes of “My Little Pony” for the girls, while I cook– I’m HUGE on monitoring what they watch. Netflix is a god-send.

    1. Janet, I commend you for taking the girls into your home! We will be starting the adoption process in a couple of months (based on desire not fertility problems), and it warms my heart when I hear of other parents doing the same. Katie is very excited to get an older sister. 🙂

      It sounds like you definitely made the right decision for your girls. I think your situation is far more common than mine, and it makes me aware of some things that I should keep in mine with our household changing. Hopefully, Katie will be fully healed by the time our family grows but I know we will still have to make many adjustments.

      Thank you for sharing your story. I have such great readers!!

  4. There is a lot of stigma when you admit you let your kids watch a good amount of tv…but I think it is silly. My boys play together and come up the most complex games and plays and role-playing and often the story structures are things they learned from tv, books and video games. Their minds are full of ideas and questions. They have seen things on tv they will never be able to see in real life…the world is a little bit smaller because of it. Awesome. Plus, my oldest has health issues similar to Katie’s and he also tires easily…the mental break he gets from a funny s how or learning quietly about animals from Wild Kratts (he thinks he either wants to be an artist or work at the zoo because if things he has learned from the shows we watch) can be the difference between being able to focus on homework later or just asking to go to bed because he is overwhelmed. Also, for years he had a really hard time with expressive language and the shows he watched with his brothers gave him something to talk about…they are very close and part of it is their common language of superheroes and Curious George antics and games about animal characteristics and on and on….thank you, tv! We also play at the park, read books, do art stuff…etc…but TV matters to our family.

    1. Wild Kratts is Katie’s new favorite show! It’s a great jumping off point to learning about animals.

      I love hearing how TV has actually helped your son. Using it as a tool and understanding how your child interacts with the shows can make it a very rewarding part of learning. Sitting them in front of Spongebob for hours…not so much.

    1. We love audiobooks! Thank you for the link.

      The point of TV for us is that TV is not engaging. That’s what my daughter needed to let her brain rest from overstimulation, though that sounds counterproductive.

      She now has days where she watches TV if she’s not feeling well, but her TV viewing has decreased rapidly now that her healing has progressed. I leave screen time up to her, because she can moderate herself, and she only asks for it if she needs a rest and then is back to playing most days. Her shows are still properly geared toward her age group and mainly center around PBS and Disney. She’s also a huge fan of cooking shows and loves the Barefoot Contessa. 🙂

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