As if you don’t have enough to judge yourself about (hello, secret stash of chocolate), moms feel notoriously guilty about letting kids watch too much TV. But take heart: there are scientifically proven times that TV time is positive for your children. (And by scientifically proven, I mean that I made them up in my head.) I’m a mom of three kids under 5, okay, so in at least some ways I am superhuman and you should listen to me.
Here are 10 times that TV is the best thing for your little angels.
1. When you’re sick.
Can you really be expected to come up with engaging and creative child-centered activities when you didn’t get any sleep last night because you were hacking up a lung and your sinus cavity is filled with what your toddler calls “green yucky”? No. So turn on Daniel Tiger while you try and find the Neti pot.
2. When they’re sick.
Everyone knows the best remedy for childhood illness is chicken soup and DVDs. Also, uh, actual medication.
3. When you’re on winter break.
What else is there to do but watch hours of back-to-back My Little Pony episodes? What do you mean, “go outside”? It’s cold out there, and you have a delicate constitution.
4. When your in-laws are visiting.
If it’s a choice between hearing your mother-in-law sigh about your kids watching TV or about how they run around like wild animals, you’ll take the former. Especially since then you don’t have to hear about how you did the time-out wrong.
5. When you’re on deadline.
Can you believe that your boss thinks that “work from home” actually means “work from home”?! You thought it was generally acknowledged that your work from home days were supposed to be times you took the kids to the dentist and played Candyland with them … slavedriver. Oh, well, here comes Superwhy to save the day. Again.
6. When your house is really, really dirty.
You know those cute pictures of kids trying to help out when Mom is cleaning? Why don’t your kids ever do that? Instead, one is scared of the vacuum and the other cries when she sees the laundry basket. (Kind of like you, now that you think of it.) Anyway, pop on some Caillou for some uninterrupted QT with the Swiffer wet jet.
7. When you and your husband are feeling amorous.
Wait, don’t people do this? You neither, huh? I thought it was a “thing.” Phew, glad I’m not the only one who finds awake children to be the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac.
8. When your child-free best friend has a really hilarious story.
For some reason, she seems to think that when your children caterwaul like angry spider monkeys in the background of your phone conversation it means she “should really let you go.” Foolish creature, doesn’t she realize that cacophony is just the default sound in your home? Anyway, a half hour of Dora won’t kill them so that you can pretend you have a social life again.
9. When the baby has woken up more than three times at night …
… or even just more than once if previously she had been sleeping through the night, or if one of the wake-ups involved pee or vomit. This is the mathematical combination that allows you to let the kids zone out in front of Tangled for an hour and a half. Trust me. I took a math class in college.
10. When you just want to cut yourself a break.
Listen, you can only do so much. If you need a minute to catch your breath, there is no harm and no foul in putting your angels in front of the boob tube for a bit. And if anyone criticizes you, just raise the volume on Frozen and let it go …