Mother's Little Helper: How Much TV Is Too Much?

How many hours does your kid watch a day?

Going from one to two kids is a huge leap, which I plan to detail in a post later this week. It’s been a tough transition.

It’s not so bad when Dad’s around, then the playing field is more even. But when Serge is at work in the morning I often resort to Nickelodeon and DVDs to keep Violet entertained if I’m dealing with Henry, writing, or trying to sneak in a quick shower. The guilt is overwhelming, what with all the ballyhooing about how terrible TV is for children.

It’ll rot your brain, is the common refrain. But see, the thing is, Violet is trilingual, swear to God. Sure I’d like to boast about how it was all due to my fantastic parenting but the thanks, in this case, go to Dora and Ni Hao Kai Lan. Seriously! Violet counts to ten in Spanish and is always yammering about vaminosing somewhere. Then! The other night, after we had put her to bed, we were in our bed reading when her monitor crackled to life. She was awake, speaking Chinese. I don’t know what the hell she was saying but I recognized Ni Hao, which I believe is hello, in Mandarin.

Good lord! Is that what is considered rotting your brain? A two-year-old speaking three languages? Here she is, prattling on in Chinese and Serge and I sit our big asses on the couch watching The Judds reality show. I can’t speak Chinese but I can certainly tell you what The Real Housewives of New York City are up to.

So yeah. While I am actually rotting my brain by spending time contemplating how Ramona can be so incredibly stupid, toddler TV viewing seems more like a junior high class in foreign language.  Still, I’m thinking Violet clocks about two hours a day with Dora, Kai Lan, The Bubble Guppies or that damned Fresh Beat Band.  Is that just cause for child services to break in and remove my children from the premises?

So tell me, honestly, how old is your kid(s) and how many hours of TV do they watch? Does it cause you immense guilt or is it just the way of the world now? Because if it is I’m going to take a pass on attempting any potty training and just pop in a Sesame Street DVD until she figures it out on her own. I’ve got a lot of reality TV I could be watching, you know?