Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TV...Is it all bad?

We all have moments when we question our parenting. Since welcoming our second child, I have been doing this a lot.

There comes a time when we all fall into what I like to call survival mode. Whether it is due to a hectic schedule, new family members, or just pure exhaustion, all parents come to a time when they go against their better judgment and not make the best parenting choices.

One thing that I feel strongly about is allowing Stella television time. I try to be very conscientious about how much time I allow her in front of the television and what she watches. I want television time to be something that is a treat and not the main activity she turns to. Instead I try to keep her occupied with crafts, playing outside, reading, etc. Many of these activities require a parent to join in.

Because I am now taking care of a two-week-old boy in addition to Stella, I am not able to play with my daughter as much as before. While the hubby does his best to step in, he is not always able to. I have found that I have allowed Stella more television time than normal, especially when I need to turn my attention to the baby.

It is no secret that kids pick things up from television.

I was sitting with Stella the other night watching one of her favorite shows and feeding the baby. I was talking to Stella about what was watching on TV and it surprised me how much she had learned from the show. She was able to participate and give all the correct answers during the interactive parts. When the show was over, I asked her a few things about what she had seen. It turns out that she learned some good stuff (the episode happened to be about dinosaurs). This got me thinking; does television always have to be a bad thing?

There are about four shows that Stella is allowed to watch. We record a few episodes and leave them on our DVR and she picks from those when she gets TV time. I feel that all of the shows are age appropriate and have some type of educational component.

It turns out she had learned some things from these shows.

Why should children be any different than adults? We learn things from some of the shows that we watch, especially on channels like Discovery or the History Channel. Our children can gain some useful knowledge from the television, as long as we are monitoring what they are watching.

I know that television should not be the babysitter. I also know that we all have a time when allowing our kids a little time in front of the tube is the best that we can do. Instead of punishing ourselves about it, why not just make good choices when having to do it?

Here's my recommendation: Research the shows that are available to your kids and limit the TV programs to ones that focus on learning skills. If your child is older, have your daughter or son choose from channels that are educational. If possible, record shows on the DVR so that there is always something appropriate for them to watch.

I don’t feel great about letting Stella sit in front of the television, but I know that I can control what she sees. By learning how to limit what and when she watches, TV time doesn’t have to be a bad thing for us or our kids.


  1. Thank goodness for DVR - We use the DVR for her shows - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Bob the builder, Thomas the Train & Doc McStuffins - then we choose when & what she gets to watch. I have to say some do have value & some are just mindless - as a parent, we need to choose for them. There is a great cartoon called Dinosaur Train that is very educational - I learned a lot about dinosaurs and they even have a real paleontologist that talks about the dinosaurs that were on the show that day - pretty cool.

  2. It is so tricky! But it sounds like you have a great plan!

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