Monday, June 8, 2009

The Boob Tube

I don't know about you, but we love T.V. around these parts. Growing up, T.V. time was family time in my house. The television was on all day long, and I'm not exaggerating. We watched Saturday Morning Cartoons, Scooby Doo, You Can't Do That on Television, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, M.A.S.H., Bosom Buddies, Dukes of Hazzard, 21 Jump Street, and I could go on and on.

Nelson also watched a fair bit of T.V. growing up as well. They actually watched T.V. at dinner. His parents still do. In truth, Nelson is a little bit in love with T.V. to this day. He will watch anything at any time. And, when he's watching T.V., he's like in a trance and it's nearly impossible to interrupt him. Even during commercials. ESPECIALLY during commercials.

Given all of this, it was never a realistic expectation around these parts that we'd be keeping Oscar away from T.V. until he turned two. In fact, he started watching, really watching T.V. at around 16 or 17 months, when I was a million years pregnant and unable to play with him like I used to.

During this time, until Miles was about two months old, Oscar watched a crap load of T.V. I basically let him watch whatever he wanted. And I did not then and still do not feel bad about it. I could not play with him, it was too cold to go outside, I had a wee one.

We've really weaned off the T.V. these days, though. Danny is back so he has someone to play with. I'll let the boys watch a morning or afternoon video if they are particularly squirrely and it's raining or too hot, or if they are cranky and tired. I let Oscar watch a movie in the evenings while I prepare dinner.

But we don't have any T.V. RULES, per se. I am particular about what I let him watch (yes to Sesame Street, Micky Mouse Clubhouse, and Handy Manny; but no to Sponge Bob, Barney, and the Wiggles) but not really about the amount. He plays significantly more than he watches T.V. He's social and verbal and active. I'm actually pretty lax about it because I find the bigger deal I make of these types of things, the more he wants to do them. At the same time, I do not want him becoming a T.V. addict or a couch potato, so I am careful to make sure we don't have the T.V. on all day long.

I'm wondering about other parents, though. Do you have T.V. rules at your house? How many hours do you let your kids watch? What shows are permitted/not permitted? Did you/are you waiting until your kid is two to indroduce the tube?

Really, I just want to know how I measure up.


Cameron said...

No spongebob!?!?! The horror!!!

The wife is pretty strict on it, I, however could care less. We have a selection of Disney movies that they can watch, plus the boy likes Elmo and Thomas The Tank Engine.

So, the wife tries to limit it to an hour a day, me on the other hand, no more than 10 hours, give or take ;)

Becky said...

Yes, we're a TV household too. Hank has a solid two hour period in the morning, after we get up, when he's eating breakfast, playing on his own, and watching Nick Jr. or something we've Tivo'd. This is my utterly necessary coffee-drinking and internet-surfing time. I will defend it to the death!

Heather said...

I remember having no restrictions when it came to TV as a kid...but I try really hard with Gia to not have it on too much. I play music instead...but she watches about 20 minutes of Play With Me Sesame in the morning while she plays in her playpen so I can clean up the breakfast mess...then at night she watches an hour before bed or either Ne Hao Kai Lan or Play With Me Sesame. I have a second child on the way and have a feeling the tv will become the new "babysitter" during those times where I need to breastfeed the new baby and just about anything else that I need to do.

crazylovescompany said...

Well, it's too soon to tell, we haven't given it too much thought yet. I think you do what you've got to do and as long as the kids get exercise and go outside to play, there's a balance. I love Becky's comment, I know what she means about her own time. I'd defend that to the death too. Ask me again in 6 months.

Sprite's Keeper said...

The tv is limited to disney channel and sesame street for the most part, but the disney movies are choking the breath out of me! I've guestimated Sprite's viewing to about 2 hours a day, so I think she's alright, but I refuse to let her see Spongebob or Pokemon or whatever crap my 9 year old neohew likes.

blissfully caffeinated said...

Before I had kids (what we refer to as "the golden years") I always said that I wouldn't let them watch TV. I now weep and/or laugh hysterically at my own naievete. Because, first of all, my husband and I love TV. I can't sit around and watch it all day, but at night I definitely like to get a couple of good TV watching hours in. So how could we have thought that the kids wouldn't notice that pretty glowing box that so lovingly hypnotizes us every evening?

Anyway, Caroline didn't watch much until after she was two, I didn't turn it on much during the day. But now? It's a whole different ball game. The kids have the TV on a lot. They never just sit and veg in front of it, because they are busy running around, but they definitely have their favorite shows and they've completely taken over the living room TV where the DVR and all of their stored Powerpuff Girls episodes are.

Sorry for the long comment. I didn't realize I had such strong feelings stored up about TV.

Veronica said...

Your house sounds like mine. Amy watches cartoon of a morning while I do breakfast/wash dished and put laundry through. Then around 10am, we turn off the TV and it stays off until Nathan turns it on. We've got kids DVD's for when Amy is tired or grotty or the weather is crap and she tends to watch them in our bed.

But I'm not that fussed about TV. She talks, she plays, she'll be right.

Keely said...

My parents didn't get cable until I was in my teens, so I had practically NO tv growing up. But I have kind of the same un-rules as you do - I don't make a big deal about it, because then it would BE a big deal. X watches a couple of hours of PBS Kids in the morning, because he wakes up at an ungodly hour and I can't do much else. He watches the sports highlights with his father, and they sometimes have the tv on during the afternoon, but X only watches it in 2-minute intervals between playing. They seem to prefer watching 80s videos on YouTube together.

I try to limit it to educational kids shows or sports/the news. I had to put a stop to some of the movies hubby was watching with him, like Iron Man.

Casey said...

Ahh, a hot button topic! Look out, people get ANGRY about this one.

We started out not letting Graham watch TV but then at about 10 months we let him watch one 30 show a day. Then toward the end of my pregnancy it went up to two. These days he gets about 2 hours a day but most of it is because he wakes up at SIX FUCKING O'CLOCK and we need to keep his ass quiet so his sister can sleep a little longer.

These days Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on the top of the list but he also watches Blues Clues, Barney (sorry but he's learned a shitload from that stupid fucking dinosaur), Yo Gabba Gabba and the Leapfrog alphabet series.

Momma Mikki said...

No TV rules, but some pretty tight restrictions. Bailey isn't allowed any TV until the evening...which is easy to do because she's a daycare baby. She spends all day, every day playing hard with her peers and in a pretty intensive curriculum. When we get home at night, I attempt to keep her from the TV by engaging her in "dishes" (she splashes water around while I actually get something done in the kitchen or quiet playtime. This is when she'll watch TV if she can't hang. Sometimes she's just too overwhelmed from the day and needs the disconnect time. About 30-45 minutes of Barney and she's good. After dinner is outside play time - the park, the water table, sidewalk chalk, bubbles...whatever. Bedtime is at 8 PM.

Cara said...

Dude, we are big TV people, too. Well, actually, Chase is a big TV person. I might watch 4 or 5 hours a week, not including the random bits & pieces I watch when I just have to see this.

Claire does watch TV. She gets maybe 2-3hrs a day. When we get up in the morning, I am totally non-functioning, so as soon as the coffee is ready & bottles & cups are made, Disney gets turned on & they halfway pay attention to the TV/wrestle with each other for about an hour while I drink my coffee & catch up on blogs/email.

If they just aren't letting me get anything done during the day, they might get another hour or so in the afternoon so I can be in & out of the room, getting stuff done. Other than that, they usually get a little in the evenings while I'm cooking dinner. We don't eat til 7:15-7:30 most nights, so about 5:30 they get a snack so if they won't play on their own/hang in the kitchen with me, I turn on Noggin.

We used to have a DVD player in the car because all of the trips we take to visit family are a 2hr+ drive. Claire broke it a few months ago when she kicked it one too many times & the little arm snapped. We have another one around here somewhere but after a few days she didn't even notice it wasn't up any more, so we never bothered to put it back up.

Mrsbear said...

We're absolutely terrible about the TV. There are few restrictions for the most part, I'd love to say they only watch educational programming or safe G rated movie, but that's not the case. My kids generally avoid the Disney channel as a matter of taste, but Spongebob gets a lot of face time. Since the older kids usually usurp the remote when they're home, my youngest gets exposed to all kinds of PG13 rated junk. He's very bright, active, and verbal so I'm not too worried about it. I only feel bad when they're singing commercial jingles. :(

EllenMarie said...

Sponge Bob is the goddamn devil. Who the fuck decided that it should be a kid's show???????