TALK BACK: Balancing TV Time

It seems like many of us are trying to balance the pro's and con's of tv in our family life. A program here or there can allow us to take a shower, prepare dinner, or clean up while our kids are occupied. I also credit Sesame Street with my son's early reading skills. But at the same time, research is showing the ill-effects of too much "screen time" on young children.

How do you budget tv time in your house? Where is the tv located? Do you have one in the children's rooms? What about in your own bedroom? Are you happy with how much tv you watch, or would you like to make some changes?


  1. I would love to get rid of the tv altogether. I am strict with it, but the sad truth is that I really rely on it, too. My kids are allowed to watch 2 shows per day. The morning show is how I shower in the morning, and the afternoon show is how I cook dinner. But they may only watch the shows I have pre-selected. That is one reason I love Tivo . . . it allows for more control over content.

    There is a tv in my son’s closet but it is not hooked up to cable and only plays VHS. We rarely ever use it - it’s mostly for if we have guests and want to show a movie to the children in a seperate room. We don’t have a tv in our bedroom because I would be so tempted to watch tv instead of talking to my hubby at night!

  2. We don't have TV, as in cable or any channels at all so our TV is limited to movies that we have or borrow from the library. I always have a few Sesame Street, Dora, Little Bill or Backyardigan DVD's around from the library and I allow the kids to watch one video a day (not movie, but educational video). So, that is about 30 minutes of TV a day. Now that it is summer though they aren't doing that much TV watching since we are outside swimming most of the day. Getting rid of our TV was the best thing we did. We only have one in the family room and have gotten rid of the others we used to have (in our room and the kids' play room).
    On Saturday morning though the kids can watch as many movies as they can fit in before 11 and then the TV gets turned off. SOmetimes we might watch a movie as a family on Sat. nights too.

  3. I feel so similarly to you, Kristen! I feel like I am the TV nazi in our home and my typical goal is for the kids to get two 3o minute shows per day - one in the morning and one after naptime. There have definitely been times where I have allowed them to watch more - say when I am flat on my back with stomach flu, etc.

    We only have a TV in our family room and I have kids' shows tivoed (Little Einsteins and Big Foot Monster Trucks are the shows of choice right now). We have a DVD player in our van and it is reserved for long trips or emergency situations - but, I try to budget that time into their 60 minute quota.

    The one thing I am sure of, is that on the days where my kids watch too much tv, they turn into very poorly behaved creatures. You can almost see the mush happening.

  4. My girls watch about an hour or two a day, usually first thing in the morning when I'm trying to wake up, and in the afternoon either before nap or before dinner. I agree with Kristen; the DVR is awesome--I can control the content and they don't watch commercials. We also have made Friday Night Picnic and a Flick an institution in our house.

    Young children's programming has come a long way since I was a kid--in addition to Sesame Street, I credit Blue's Clues for a lot of my three year old's language development. We also love The Wonder Pets and The Backyardigans, because the music's catchy and the vocabulary is pretty sophisticated. My biggest concern is the overwhelming lack of quality content for kids over 5. I think that's when I'm going to be more hardcore about limiting their viewing.

  5. Growing up we were very limited in our TV time, and there was a period of a few years where we didn't have one at all. I never have the TV on during the day (there is only one, in the family room). If I were living alone, I probably would have it on for only my very favorite show, 24. But my husband likes to have it on after he gets home from work, but after the baby has gone to bed. It will be hard to say how much TV time I will let the baby have as she gets older...

  6. I only have a 9 month old so I haven't had to really think about TV time allowance yet. However, I do want to share my daughter's new favorite show with you- "Signing Time!" It is an adorable show on PBS and teaches ASL (American Sign Language) to children of all ages. Even my six year old nephew enjoys it and I myself have learned about 50+ new words!!! They say it cuts down on frustration with communication at a young age! I LOVE IT! My daughter already knows how to sign "milk" and "please" when she actually MEANS it! Very educational and fun! (I used to be a third grade a stay-at-home mom.) Just thought I would share! Check it out! By the way, I love your blog! My friend, Kara Townsend, is the one who told me about it! God Bless You!


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