TV for the under two’s

Oh TV! That blessed time waster and entertainer of the masses. I will be the first to admit that I like to watch the old boob tube, and there are some programs I would not give up easily. My husband and I try to limit our viewing time (except for sports!), and have in the past only allowed ourselves 3 programs each week. I like to believe this is a relatively healthy attitude to TV watching. So does our baby get 3 programs a week too? No way!

We have a total TV ban for our (nearly) one year old. She has never actively watched a TV program in her short life. There was one day, when she was about 3 months old, that I cracked and put a kids show on. She turned away and cried out for a cuddle. The TV has stayed off ever since.

‘Oh you are SO mean, TV doesn’t do any harm. It’s good for them’. The amount of times I have heard this. People are very upset at my decision to have a TV free baby. For some odd reason this simple household choice, gets a huge negative reaction from family and friends. But do you know what? The research shows that TV DOES do harm to the developement of under two’s. It’s not good for them at all! And am I really depriving my daughter? Hell no! Do you know what my baby gets instead? She gets me! I sing, I dance, I entertain! We interact and play together, and sometimes she even plays by herself! No TV required. I think is is a much healthier way to raise my little girl than plonking her in front of the TV, and the research agrees with me.

‘But how do you get things done’? The truth is I don’t know any different. And things do get done. I work, I cook, I clean, and things still continue as expected in our house.

The link below is a nicely written article in the NY times about the recommendation of no TV for under two’s. What is really surprising, and more challenging to our household, is that fact that background TV and computer screens also affect babies. Now I am pretty fond of my tech toys, and we often have the TV on at the weekends (again, the sport!), so this has really got me thinking. From now on there will be no TV during the week, unless it is one of our three shows. We will try not to watch together, so one of us can play with bub in another room. The biggest challenge for me is limiting my phone, iPad and computer screen time. So I am giving myself two slots a day to check emails, Facebook and blog. There is nothing more important to me than raising my daughter in the most healthy way possible. So if that means unplugging, I’m there. I even suspect this might be good for me too! Wish me luck!



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5 responses to “TV for the under two’s

  1. Dwan I agree with you. They don't need TV. Zenon was two and a half by the time he watched TV. Even now they still don't watch much TV. Never in the mornings before school, or after school. It is kept for weekends and holidays. Though I still keep a time limit on it. As well as monitoring everything they watch. They only watch ABC2 4kids, and chosen DVD's. I have a no super hero rule, and we also limit any gender based Princess type stuff. The no super hero rule is because two wrongs don't make a right and the kids know this. No Princess/Barbie stuff because it does not teach girls to empower them selves and see them selves as equals.

    Kid need to learn how to play on their own, learn through imaginative play (though your girl is a bit too young to expect too from yet).

    I love that my kids will play outside on their bikes, or in the yard with natural stuff, hide and seek and many other things. I have seen the result of kids that watch too much TV and play video games… they get bored easily and don't know how to think for them selfs….
    Good on you Dwan… your doing the best for your girl!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree…as you know ๐Ÿ˜‰ From about age 2 1/2-3 we would watch PlaySchool either in the morning OR afternoon. We watched it together until she was happy to sit and watch (and interact! They ask questions, do activities, tell stories, make craft) and I would have a blessed 1/2 hour to myself. We did this until she started school. No other TV. DVDs on the weekend sometimes. Hasn't harmed her. She doesn't “miss out” or not know what the other kids are talking about. At 12, she watches NO TV, quite happily. It's not a “rule”, it's just how we live ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Klaudia

    I commend you for going down this path Dwan and how great that your hubby is supportive of this (although I don't know if that came naturally for him too..). I too would prefer to not include TV but I'm not so lucky with my husband having grown up with TV running at breakfast, lunch and dinner…. As much as I'd like to change this, it would not be fair to if this notion is not mutually shared. With that said, we make sure Oliver does not physically sit in front of the telly – he actually doesn't care about it (yet). Luckily my hubby has succumbed a little and we can enjoy our dinner without TV. I'm all for a balance in life and even if I can't shield Oliver from watching TV I can do many other things to encourage a healthy development and a love for outdoors. When the time comes where Oliver will want to watch TV I will have armed myself with DVDs of shows and cartoons from our childhood. At least some piece of mind knowing that he does not have to be subject to some of the inappropriate kids shows from today.

  4. Simone and Beckstar, I really have to thank you two for being such inspirational mums for me to look up to. You have both walked this path first, and your ideas in these comments (and many other conversations) are a constant source of support and knowledge – thank you! I will be taking some of your ways and including them in what we do when Bub does start to get older.
    Klaudia, I can assure you that things are far from perfect in our house with the TV, and while hubby is willing to try harder it requires lots of patience on my behalf. He also grew up in a house with TV 24/7, so is used to its noise as company. If he is not actively watching it now, I just turn it off and turn up the radio. He doesn't complain (after all he wan't watching it) and its easier than nagging. On the weekends he watches every sport going, so I have just had to make peace with that. I don't think any of us are ever perfect at these things, but if you try and be aware and proactive than that is the best you can do. I know what an amazing mum you are, and I know that your boy is getting the best start to life ๐Ÿ™‚ interestingly the research says that some selected educational TV after age 5 can be beneficial to a child's development (there was no info available on ages 2-5).

  5. Pingback: Surviving a really awful day | the naturopathic mum

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