Today’s Debate Topic
Do your kids watch television, and if so, how much? And is it wrong to use the TV as a babysitter sometimes?
Maria Weighs In
My kids have watched TV since they were babies. I know this is not optimal or even recommended at all. I also know that there are oodles of shows and DVDs marketed toward babies, and that while I knew all along I wasn’t going to be “educating” my kids with them, I knew they’d give me 20 minutes to make dinner or breathe. I’m not making excuses, but it is what it is.
There are days when my kids watch what I consider to be way too much TV. There are days when they never turn the TV on at all. Now that my six-year-old plays video games, that definitely complicates the equation. He’s only allowed to play on weekends and when he does, he really binges. The little one doesn’t watch as much TV, but on weekend mornings I’ll let him veg for an hour or so while I snooze.
I think giving kids unlimited access to TV is unreasonable. That’s where I draw the line at too much. But I also know that if you’re conscious of the risks and thoughtful about how much TV the kids are watching, you’re not utterly failing your kids. I also think it depends from child to child. I think we made a mistake by letting our older son watch X-Men cartoons. He started thinking that violence was funny, and I wish we hadn’t hit that stage too soon. It’s all about the process of learning what works for your child and family and what doesn’t.
I’m not going to be the first in line to criticize a parent for letting the TV do the babysitting once in a while. There’s no substitute for activity and reading, but television isn’t the equivalent of giving your child poison. Find a balance and find what works for you.
Say It Like You Mean It!
Do you let your kids watch TV? Do you use TV and DVDs to “babysit” your kids once in a while? How much is too much?