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This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Alison Lee. She asked our writers,
“Do you allow your children to watch television? If yes, how much and what kind of TV programs?”
Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…
Ana@StumbleAbroad of Indonesia writes:
“We are very lucky to have very limited commercials on the kids’ channels so whenever Evan (my 2.5) year old watches Disney Junior or National Geographic he’s not at all drawn to the toys. We watch TV with him and change the channel if we think it’s inappropriate for his age (violence) or too scary (creepy animals). I try to put movies for him in Spanish so he practices the language, too. El Rayo McQueen is very funny in Mexican Spanish!”
Carol @ If By Yes of British Columbia, Canada writes:
“We had a no TV before age 2 rule, in accordance with the recommended guidelines by pediatric associations, although we made exceptions occasionally for watching sports with his father. Now that he’s two we are starting to think about letting him watch children’s programs, but he saw one episode of Sesame Street and didn’t seem to learn anything from it, so we’re not in a rush.”
Elizabeth Atalay of Massachusetts, USA writes:
“Before having kids I swore I would not let them watch T.V., and then I found myself with 4 kids and no nanny to occupy them when I tried to do simple tasks like washing the dishes or making dinner! I found that T.V. could be my friend! I think Sesame Street can be truly educational. So yes I do let them watch, and they have long grown out of Sesame Street, but I think in moderation, and as long as it is what I consider appropriate I don’t stress about it. I still use it to my advantage, on the weekends they can watch until they wake us up! It is fantastic to finally get to sleep in again on occasion.”
FireCrystals of India writes:
“My son is 2.5 and he doesn’t seem to have a preference for watching any TV programs – unless you count advertisements as a form of program. He has a few favorite AD jingles – on hearing which he will rush from any corner of the house to the TV.”
Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
“TV! How I hate you!! It causes so much conflict. However, it is a really great way to increase their exposure to English. My son (7) loves TV, but my daughter (5) fights with him over what to watch. Basically, I let them watch TV or a DVD when it is convenient for ME. My husband is rarely home before 9pm, and sometimes it’s all I’ve got to fall back on. How much they watch depends on what else is going on. Today was thirty minutes. Yesterday was close to two hours (Rainy Sunday!). The rules are – they can watch TV in the morning after they are ready for school and have done their daily English lesson with me. (They never do this in a timely manner so they only watch TV in the morning once a month or so.) In the afternoon, the may watch TV after homework is done, but they must decide and agree ahead of time on what they will watch, and I have final veto power. The decision process often turns into some other kind of play.”
Jacki of Paris, France writes:
“Prior to moving to France, we didn’t have TV except the Netflix movies we had streaming through our TV and whatever DVD’s we had. Now that we’re in France, we only have the movies we own on DVD and I’ve noticed the few times we see cable T.V., my son’s behavior becomes more aggressive. When we come back to the states, we won’t have television.”
Kyla P’an of Massachusetts, USA writes:
“We didn’t allow T.V. until age 2 and then only very selectively. In fact, it wasn’t until earlier this year that our 6yo discovered that there are stations beyond PBS (public broadcasting station, the US equivalent to BBC). Total TV time in our house is between 3-6 hours a week. My husband and I watch almost none. I wrote on this topic a while back but all of my feelings still hold true. Check this article which I wrote.”
Lady E of Indonesia writes:
“I don’t have TV, but I do let my 5 year old son watch videos and I download programs for him as well. Like many of the other mothers, it helps me significantly to have something to occupy my son’s time and divert his energy when I am trying to get something done, or have a conversation with an adult. I am grateful to not have a TV, though, as much of what is on is not child friendly, even when on children’s network! I also just had a horrible mishap: I let my son watch a Youtube clip from a cartoon that he loves (Krypto the Superdog!) and I walked away for a minute, only to come back to find that he had searched for “plane” on his own. What he found was a video of a plane crashing, and now that is all he can talk about. I know my son will eventually be exposed to a lot, and will need the skills to cope, but for now, I am happy to have tighter control over what he views. He lives in an innocence bubble where he doesn’t see violence, roots for the good guys, and loves shows that teach valuable lessons. I wouldn’t mind keeping us there for as long as possible!”
MamaMzunga of Kenya writes:
“Despite the fact that we don’t have a TV, our son at 3.5, gets to watch a 30 minute show (on the computer) depending on if he’s behaving himself. It’s the most effective carrot and stick we have, and we use it shamelessly. (I sometimes wonder if we would increase this if we lived in a colder climate)”
Meredith of Nigeria writes:
“We do have a T.V. and during the school year, they watch T.V. for only about 30 minutes each evening before they go to bed. We alternate and my son (7) will pick a show one night and my daughter (4) the next and we all watch together. Right now , it is between Ninjago and Princess movies:) During the summer is a bit more tricky as there is not as much of a set routine, but I try to limit it to about 1 hour to 1.5 hours over the course of a day in the summertime.:) We split it like 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes at night.”
Purnima of India writes: “We did not allow T.V. until our son was 2 years old. After that we let him watch for half an hour, but not every day. Now he is 6 years old, and he watches T.V., on days when we have nothing else to do. Like some other mothers have already explained, we decide on a day to day basis. When his father is at home on Sundays and other holidays, he prefers playing with his father. And on regular days, we have school’s homework, projects and stuff happening. We live in a good neighborhood where there are a lot of kids, so they also get together and play. T.V. is secondary.”
Polish Mom Photographer of California, USA writes:
“My daughter watches a lot of cartoons and kids shows on PBS. I like them for they are mostly educational purposes. She watches it each morning for a few hours.”
RoxIsBrilliant of Nevada, USA writes:
“My 6 year old son is allowed to watch TV, but it’s usually cartoons on PBS. Lately we’ve been trying to stay away from TV – mostly because I hate commercials. We watch movies instead. All types of movies. I want him to love them as I always have.”
Ruth Wong of Singapore writes:
“My boy is turning three and it’s only when he was about 2.5 years that I started letting him watch some cartoons on TV. Sometimes, it could be documentaries about animals or nature. Even then, I try to limit it to about half hour each time and it’s on alternate days. But when we do on TV to watch some programs, he would watch too. However, it’s more the advertisements that catch his attention. Honestly, I find myself wishing more and more that it might be better off for the family to be without a TV! We can then spend time on other more meaningful activities!”
Tina of Truly Rich Mom of Philippines writes:
“I wrote a lengthy article on this topic for a local parenting website earlier this year. I interviewed some moms and “experts” :). The links are here and here.
As for us, we DO allow our kids (6 and 3) to watch TV but try to limit it to 2 hours a day (TRY being the keyword). However, they usually watch pre-selected children’s DVDs that are either educational (though this is subjective!) or values-based . Some of my top picks for DVDs are the cartoon series by Max Lucado (Punchinello and Hermie), Cherub Wings and Saints Stories by St. Paul’s Communications.”
What about you… How much TV time for your kids?
And do you have a question you would like to pose to our WMB writers? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what they have to say.
– World Moms Blog
This Saturday Sidebar column has been compiled and edited by our World Mom, Purnima of India.
Photo credit to Polish Mom Photographer.
World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.