I'd Rather Have A Messy House Than Let My Toddler Watch 2 Hours Of T.V. Per Day

old school television
I love to use old television photos in my posts about T.V.

Okay, nothing against Bethanne.  In fact, I’m a little (okay, a lot) jealous that she gets so much done.

I’m clearly NOT Type A.


Before I get started on this topic, I want to be clear. My kids do watch DVD’s occasionally. Lately, the older one watches about 20-30 minutes of Winnie The Pooh every night while I put the younger one to bed. So, I’ve experienced the blissful solitude that happens when my kids are engrossed in a television show. It really is magical. They sit there and they don’t move. They’re entranced. You actually feel like you can do stuff, like you have your own life for however long that program lasts.

But even though I know what that’s like, I can’t fathom allowing the T.V to be on every single day for two or more hours just so I can do the breakfast dishes and work. I know I’d probably be a better blogger and have more readers if I sat them in front of the T.V. and worked, but it’s a sacrifice I just won’t make.

This means my house can be very messy…dirty, even.

Laundry often doesn’t get folded for two or three days.

I step on a lot of Cheerios. Some of them are stuck to the floor.

My personal blog is often neglected. What’s that? You noticed the last entry was on 1/27?

This means except on days I’m lucky enough to have a babysitter (like today, yippee), I use my time after they go to bed or while they nap to work, write, and clean-up the kitchen. That stinks sometimes. It really does.

But the truth is, I really think too much television is not good for kids. That look they get when they’re watching is kind of disturbing, actually.

Yes, the AAP’s recommendation of “No Screen Time Before Two” plays a role in my lack of daily tube indulgence, but also, I feel my own personal experience plays a part as well. Here are some things I’ve noticed about T.V:

1. I was watching an Elmo DVD with them the other day. It wasn’t flashy or crazy or inappropriate, but I was counting the seconds between cuts. There was a maximum of eight but more often about three seconds before they moved the camera to another position or scene. It was starting to bother my eyes, actually.

2. When they watch T.V, they aren’t doing anything else, and children learn by doing.

3. If they are doing something else, like playing with a puzzle or trains, then they’re distracted by the T.V every few seconds as they look up at the big blue box on the wall.

4. I watched tons of T.V. As a kid. I mean tons (I was a latch-key kid). My mom says I learned to read from Sesame Street and Electric Company. Okay, yes, it’s good I learned to read, but hopefully, I would’ve learned to read another way, if not from T.V. I’m glad I remember Grover’s “Around, Over, Under, Through” song with such fondness, but I could’ve been playing outside a lot more, that’s for sure.

5. My husband watched very limited amounts of T.V when he was a child. Suffice it to say that he gets more done than the President on a daily basis. Me? I’ve got major ADD (self-diagnosed). Can I connect the dots from television or lack-there-of? Not in any official way, but I know I wish I watched less and did more as a kid. I don’t want to feel that guilt about my kids in the future.

As a couple we do watch some shows (right now we’re obsessed with Downton Abbey) but we don’t have cable and the television is rarely on, except for sports, sometimes. I have opinions about that, but that’s for another post.

So, while I will continue to use the television in small amounts, and in emergency situations (i.e. when I have had it up to my hairline), I hope that television can remain a “sometimes” activity (as Elmo might put it) in our household.
Meanwhile, it might be a few more years before I have any sort of life again. See ya then, okay?

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Photo via Flickr

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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