From About.com’s singleparents site (I guess kids in two-parent families can watch as much TV as they want to?) comes these tidbits:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has some pretty strict guidelines for children’s television viewing.” What are these “strict” guidelines? Limiting the TV viewing of children younger than 2 years old to two hours per day, and not putting a TV in your kids’ bedrooms.
Do you think those are “some pretty stringent guidelines”? I admit that we let our son play his Nintendo DS in his room sometimes, but no TV in his room is not even an issue. I was allowed to get a TV in my room when I was old enough to pay for it myself (hello, Bar Mitzvah cash.)
Then we get to the advice on how to actually limit viewing hours.
- “Don’t use the TV as background noise. Only have it on if someone is sitting down watching a specific program.” Good advice in general, frankly.
- “If you have TiVo or a DVR, record a few of your child’s favorite shows and allow him or her to view them at specific times during the week. Once they’ve been watched, delete them from the recording device.” Clearly these people don’t have children, or if they do, they don’t have TiVo. In my experience, kids want to watch the same things over and over again. Not necessarily right away, but there are definitely repeat viewings of favorite shows. If we only watched everything once, why do so many folks buy DVDs?
- “Avoid using TV for winding down. Instead, read a book together or allow your child to listen to an audio book.” Again, reasonable advice.
- “Provide a TV viewing chart for your children, and teach them to plan out the shows they’d like to watch during the week.” This one seems weird to me. Isn’t this sending a message that television is so important it needs to be scheduled as an important part of your week? Admittedly, we’ve been spoiled by having TiVo for the kids’ entire lives, so planning is a non-issue (as are commercials.)
- “Finally, choose your child’s television programs carefully, and take the time to preview shows together. Talk about what you like about certain shows, and what gives you caution about the shows you do not care for.” I’ll take this a step further and say that you can and should watch shows with the little ones, especially once they get old enough to understand what the hell they are watching. For example, there’s an episode of “The Brady Bunch” where Mike tells Carol, “If I caught one of my sons playing with a doll house, I’d send him to a psychiatrist.” My mother was right there to point out the sexism of that line.
How important is the TV in your house? Any “strategies” for reducing screen time, or do you just shut the damn thing off?
Kids Open Lemonade Stand to Pay for Cat Surgery (see what happens when you turn off the TV?)