I’ve had several discussions lately about what we let our kids watch on TV, and when.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television viewing for children under 2. I wish I could say I followed that diligently, but I can’t. One of the things I like most about Baby Beez attending daycare is that it takes a huge chunk out of her potential TV exposure. In an in-home daycare situation, I wouldn’t be comfortable making demands that the sitter not watch TV, and even if I made such demands, there would be no way to see that the sitter was actually keeping the TV off. At daycare, there are no TV’s. It’s a non-issue. I love it.
We only have 1 TV in the house (in the basement den), and we never turn it on in the morning. In the evening, there is usually only about 1 hour of “free” time between when Baby Beez gets home from daycare, eats her dinner, and goes to bed, so there is very little time for TV exposure there. All that being said, I do let Baby Beez watch TV occasionally. I have limited tolerance for kids’ shows, and I only let her watch things that aren’t annoying…this means she’s gotten to watch Sesame Street, the Wiggles, Yo Gabba Gabba…and that’s about it. Sesame Street is on at 7am on the weekends, so if we’re up then, I let her watch it. If we’re sleeping, we skip it.
I have no idea when Yo Gabba Gabba or the Wiggles are on TV, so Baby Beez only watches clips of those shows now and then on the internet. She loves the music, and likes to dance along. We don’t watch the clips often, maybe once a week.
We also have the TV on with grownup shows when Baby Beez is awake sometimes. Baby Beez isn’t very interested in TV, and most of her TV exposure involves her playing with her toys, while Mr. Beez and I catch a show. This is not a whole lot of time (we don’t have much TV watching time anyway), so I’m comfortable that I’m not inundating her with TV.
Even so, it’s hard to make decisions about the content of shows it’s acceptable to have on while she is awake. My biggest rule is no violence. No shooting, no stabbing, no fighting. I don’t even like to have shows on where people are having intense and angry arguments. I know that as she gets bigger, I won’t be able to shield her forever, but I don’t see any redeeming value in her being exposed to anger and violence.
We end up watching a lot of food related shows on the Travel Channel and the Food Channel, and a fair number of shows on Style Network or E! I also have a bad habit of watching VH1 top 20 videos on the weekend, which Baby Beez loves. She loves to sway and dance to the music. I change the channel when a video shows violent, or it gets all bumpin’ and grindin’, but since it’s VH1, there aren’t a whole lot of those.
How do you make decisions about whether to let your kid watch TV, or what shows to watch? What are your rules?