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Now that my son has reached toddlerhood the time has come for me to experience first-hand what I've heard other parents discussing (or more like arguing over) for years...the never-ever ending debate: How much TV time is too much?
Here is the guilty party in question:
(Looks pretty innocent to me!)
I've been caught in the trap, constantly pondering whether or not I should allow my son to watch TV. Before my second child was born (8 weeks ago-already!) I would have instantly said, "No!" Fast forward to the present...now that I have my hands full (and I know some of you are saying, "I told you so!") I've changed my views. I mean, what harm could a little Bubble Guppies or Dora the Explorer do? As long as my son is learning something (i.e. Spanish from Dora) and is not ONLY interested in television, what's the problem?
Well, ask some of the experts...
According to studies, watching too much television has an inevitable negative impact on our children's development. One study claims that toddlers who watch too much TV are more prone to developmental delays in math, an increased risk of being bullied (for real?!), larger consumption of soft drinks and snacks, and not to mention, evidence of less involved parents.
It always perplexes my mom (who raised us in the day and age when exersaucers had wheels!) how much parents these days "have been influenced by the media to over-think everything in regards to parenting." I've heard time and time again, "When you were young I let you...(always watch TV, for example)...and you turned out fine!" (Well, I DO have difficulty in Math! Hmm...)
Being the Type-A person that I am, I prefer to allot specific tube-watching times or programs. That works for us and my son seems happy with it because as soon as the TV (magically) turns off (and the remote disappears!), he doesn't hesitate to jump off the couch and go find something else to do!
Here's what a regular day (minus the craziness!) looks like in a nutshell in my home:
7:30-8:00 - Bottle and morning TV shows
8:00-9:30 - Playtime (and sometimes push-mommy's buttons time)
9:30 - Breakfast
9:30-10:00 - Playtime
10:00-12:30/1:00 - Nap (or playtime in his bedroom depending the day!)
1:00 - Lunch
1:00 - 3:00 - Playtime
3:00 - 4:30 - Nap (or once again, playtime!)
4:30 - Afternoon snack and TV
5:00 - 7:00- Playtime (with sporadic minutes of time-out time)
What gives with this time of the day and the Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde syndrome?!
7:00 - Dinner
7:45 - 8:00 - Bath or watch bedtime videos on the iPad (
my his faves are Will.i.am, Katy Perry and India Arie on Sesame Street, plus "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (or as he calls it, "Tinkle Tinkle") which HAS to be the last song before bed!
8:00 - 8:30 - Bedtime stories and lights out!
So, after doing the math (I CAN handle this one), that's about 2 hours (including iPad videos) a day! According to the study, I've shockingly exceeded the recommended amount of TV my son should be watching (meaning he will succumb one day to bullies and consume way too many soft drinks), but you know what? I DON'T CARE! (There, I said it!)
I personally think my son gets just the right amount of...
independent play time,
cuddle or play time with mom or dad,
AND tube time!
You can google this topic until your fingers cramp up and you get carpal tunnel syndrome (I almost did!), but the fact of the matter is there is NO right or wrong!
The moral of (my) story is; to each his own! What works in one household might not work in another, and more importantly, as parents we need to learn to respect each others' parenting styles and throw judgement out the window!
What are your thoughts on toddlers and tube time?
Do you avoid the television altogether, choose certain programs to watch or leave it on as white noise all day long?