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How Much TV Should Junior Watch?

Do you allow you toddler to watch TV? Do you set limits for older children?

My husband and I were never huge TV junkies, but once our son was born, we rarely turned on the TV.

We were (and still are) trying to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children younger than 2 have no exposure to television.

The problem is that we don’t live in a bubble. If baby doesn’t watch TV, then neither do Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes you can sneak in some TV after baby’s bedtime.

We try to stick to the no TV for baby rule, especially since every time my son sees a TV in a store or restaurant or someone else’s home, he stares at it, mesmerized. But at times like the Olympics, it means we are losing out. So we have to balance. We’ve come to a good compromise of trying to maintain the blackout, while not being too strict. On the rare occasions we do allow the TV to be on in the same room with him, we make sure it’s quality content and we make sure we’re interacting with him.

What do you do with your babies and toddlers? Share in the comments area below.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that

“parents establish "screen-free" zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children's bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.

Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

For parents of older children, do you set time limits of have certain shows or channels that are OK or off limits? What system works for you? Share in the comments area below.

samantha August 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Well if it wasn't for a Disney movie, my younger daughter would never have a quality nap schedule. I can't be in 2 places at once, so I pop in a video or educational program like leap frog and let my 2 yo watch while I get the baby settled down for her nap. than I get 1:1 time with my 2 yo, I may not be "mother of the year" but it works for us. No TV at any meals, on the weekends or before bed though. I rarely let my 2 yo watch TV before her sibling came along, but I think a little exposure helps them not be mesmerized when they see a TV, often I come down from the morning nap to find my 2 to playing with toys and not watching TV.
Shirley September 02, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Can't speak on the little ones but when the kids are in school, TV time should be limited to after school, after household chores, after all homework is done, and before the parent-imposed bed time.
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