Avoiding TV for the first 2-3 years...? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-08-2007, 01:42 PM
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We're expecting our first in about 2 months. We plan on having the TV off until our Little One is more than 2 years old. I've got nephews that were put in front of the television from the day they were born, and all of them are slightly-to-very much ADD.

We want to concentrate on having lots of family time, making things, playing games, listening to music, singing songs, etc. (we're both creative people, a musician and an artist) I love PBS and Sesame Street, but we want to wait a while before our kid is allowed daily TV shows.

We just spent the weekend with some vegan friends, who I thought would be really into family time and stuff like that, but they've adopted the "sit the kid in front of the TV for as long as he wants" idea, to keep him distracted. Seems contrary to the kind of people they are. He watches dvd's, cartoons mostly, not regular television programming, but still, for a 2 year old, that seems a bit much.

Anyone here avoid TV with their babies? Anyone in favor of it doesn't see it as a problem?
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#2 Old 01-08-2007, 01:47 PM
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I'm not a parent so I have no advice, but why on earth would not watching TV be a problem? I can't think of a single reason why not watching TV would harm a kid at all. Sounds like a nice lifestyle.

BTW: Will you be avoiding TV yourself for this period?

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#3 Old 01-08-2007, 02:05 PM
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I rarely had cable when I was raising my daughter. She watched tv when she went to her dad's or grandparents' homes. We did have a vcr so she watched disney videos but not constantly. She read and played a lot and developed a very active imagination. She is 14 now and lives with her dad where she has tv access all the time but she comes here where we have no cable and is happy with my 'watch 1 csi episode a day rule' (she got 2 seasons for xmas)
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#4 Old 01-08-2007, 03:08 PM
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I'm not convinced there's a direct link between early TV usage and ADD, but refraining from TV is likely to be beneficial on many other levels.

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#5 Old 01-08-2007, 03:24 PM
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The APA (American Pediatric Academy) recommends zero screen time for children 2 and under and only 30 minutes a day for 3 yr olds. I know the link between early TV watching and ADD among other issues is being studied by scientists and child development folk these days. I went to a conference severay years ago where the presenter spoke about a clear link between TV watching at a very early age and ADD, but that was some time ago and I don't recall her sources. I think it's not a great thing for really small kids.

That being said, I also think parents do the best they can, and given the very demanding task of parenting babies/toddlers, the temptation to turn on the TV so you can have a break is great. I have great admiration for stay at home parents who have no TV for 2 and under. I would have lost my mind without it, though I did try to limit in terms of content and time.

How's that for an answer full of equivocation?
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#6 Old 01-08-2007, 03:33 PM
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my kids did not watch tv at all until well after 3. plenty of other things to do imo. they are now almost 7, still dont watch tv but have watched videos as rewards or when we get a sitter.
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#7 Old 01-08-2007, 03:45 PM
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we didn't have a tv when i was a kid, and i really appreciate it, looking back. i think we had one till i was about 3, and i watched it very little, (we had about 3 channels, lol) and then it was only educational shows. we didn't have one again till i was about 11, and i didn't miss it at all.

as a kid i spent a lot of time interacting with people, doing whatever my parents were doing, and generally being an active, nosey, busy little person- no doubt driving my parents round the bend, hahaha.

my little neice and nephew spend quite a lot of time in front of the tv and watching dvds, and the frigging tv is a nightmare for me when i babysit for them. they'll fight over the remote, scream and cry if i try and turn it off, and inbetween times, they'll either get in each others way, so they can't see properly, and then shriek and get upset and fight over that, or they'll sit, transfixed, and hypnotised, for hours- i don't know which is worse, lol.

while they're perfectly intelligent little people, i sometimes feel that they've missed out on developing and honing their social skills, and on learning to entertain themselves, from spending so much time in front of the tv.

if i had a kid, i'd be inclined to do similar to you, but to maybe keep very basic cable, and keep the tv in my bedroom, with a lock on it- just so i could watch a few shows/dvd's ocasionally to wind down. i guess you could watch anything you wanted/needed to, either on dvd on a laptop, or online/via youtube though.
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#8 Old 01-08-2007, 03:51 PM
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If you look closely at the studies it probably will mention the type of tv shows. The fast moving ones such as you will find on disney or nick......those are the ones i believe would possibly contribute to add....scenes and words move too fast for the little brains to compute,

now if you compare those shows to the baby einstein tapes for instance, or the shows you will find on the Noggin channel such as Miffy or maisy, they are slow moving and very different.

I allowed my kids to watch baby einstein, noggin, and some pbs shows.i still do. not just sit in front of the tv for indefinite periods but for small increments of time. if you choose the tv viewing appropriately they can be quite stimulating to little brains in a good way. just my 2 cents.

and everyone needs a minute to distract the baby, and i always found those baby einstein dvds or tapes to be invaluable.
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#9 Old 01-08-2007, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Coney View Post

Anyone here avoid TV with their babies? Anyone in favor of it doesn't see it as a problem?

I do not have children, but I think it's a wonderful idea to keep them away from TV. Rock on!
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#10 Old 01-08-2007, 04:34 PM
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I would like to raise my children as TV free as possible. I hate seeing little kids planted in front of the TV. Whenever I see that commercial for that Leap Frog video game thing for BABIES where they have like a 6 m/o baby on his father's lap in front of the TV, I totally FREAK OUT. That is SO not necessary. Anyway... my biggest concern with my own kids is that I'd like to get a cosleeper when they're babies (mind you, I am nowhere near having kids atm), and I can't sleep without the TV on (trust me, I've tried, it's not pretty). Though I suppose when they're that young, they wouldn't be watching anyway

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#11 Old 01-08-2007, 04:59 PM
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We raised my oldest without TV until he was 2. It really wasn't difficult because my husband and I never watched TV until after he was in bed. Once he turned 2 we began to allow him one 30-minute show per day. We don't get cable, or good enough reception for even non-cable channels, so all he has to choose from is his DVDs (Blues Clues, Mr. Rogers, and Fraggle Rock). I like that he has never watched TV commercials and I plan to keep it that way for awhile! Now my kids are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, and my 1 1/2 year old will occasionally be around when my 3-year-old is watching his show, so he's not as purely TV-free as my oldest was. However, now the rules have changed for my 3-year-old, he can have one hour of "screen time" which includes computer time and TV time, and lately he's been spending his whole hour at the computer. So the TV is on only very rarely in the daytime at our house, maybe a 30-minute show once per week.

I totally get why some parents let their kids watch more TV. It's nice to have them occupied and out of the way so you can relax or get stuff done. I think it is very easy to abuse it and let them watch WAY too much. That's why we have very concrete rules about screen time. If he's on the computer, we set a timer so we don't accidentally let him stay on there too long.
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#12 Old 01-08-2007, 05:41 PM
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Way to go! I think raising kids as TV-free as possible is great...I don't get why some people think its like child abbuse or something, hahaha, up until modern imes kids didnt need TV to survive!

Anyway, my niece and nephew: ALL they do is sit in front of the TV and watch either shows or DVDS ALL DAY!!! no joke! they go through 5 or 6 movies a day it breaks my heart to watch them just sit there hypnotised, not enjoying their childhood! Oh and my nephews weight is ballooning (im pretty sure hes very overweight, maybe even obese) and my niece who is naturally very thin is starting to get chunky...all they do is sit there and of course that makes them ask for food...I get so mad at my sister but she just gets mad at me if I say anything! Sometimes when they are over I turn the TV off and the kids quietly start to play with their toys and playing pretend games and actually using their little noggins, and I get so happy...then my sis walks in and pops in a video and Im just like "WTF?!?! They were having FUN and they were being QUIET! They didnt ask to see anything!"

Anyway, growing up I watched very little TV. We didnt have cable and even if we did, I MUCH prefered to be outside playing! So thats why i get sad when I see my niece and nephew because at that age I remember just being outside all day, playing with my cousins, rolling in mud, climbing trees, playing school, house, bakery, etc. Oh, hahaha, and I watched the power rangers occasionally (like once a week maybe) so we would have pretend games last for HOURS AND HOURS about us being the power rangers and oh my gosh it was FUN! My imagination was so vivid, we thought up the craziest secnarios and just acted them out all day. So I do get sad when I think about how kids these days arent doing any of that...

So in conclusion, hahha, I think it is the best thing a parent can do for a child, to limit their "screen time".

novel over
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#13 Old 01-08-2007, 09:56 PM
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I grew up without television in our house until I was in my late teens. I honestly never missed it or felt 'deprived'. Even now I can't usually sit and watch lengthy shows or movies.

My oldest had no TV until she was about 3, (when her sister came along and I "needed" distraction for her on occasion). Even now, my teens get less than an hour a day unless it's a special event or the Seahawks are in the playoffs
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#14 Old 01-08-2007, 11:41 PM
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For most of my youth up until I was 13 or 14, we either had no TV or one network station that usually had too much static to watch. I feel that I became a much more well-rounded person who did much better in school as a result.
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#15 Old 01-09-2007, 08:47 AM
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We will be getting a tivo when we move, so we can record any shows we want to watch once the kids are in bed. The tv used to run for the noise factor (I grew up in big family-always noisey) but now that our 16mth old has started to notice the tv, it is gone. There are only about a handful of shows on tv that hubby and I have watched and approved of of her. We'll be going the tv as reward route. Some of the shows out there are really creepy (cartoon network) or just not the same (elmo took over sesame street). I see nothing wrong with no tv. Our's wouldn't sit through a show right now for anything. There are too many other things to play with and get into (like laundry baskets) and, oh, outside and the playground are wonderful. She prefers those things and I prefer to keep it that way I did use the baby einstein when she was little to get 20min to clean the house or shower, but since our 2mth old won't sit to watch, we just have to find other ways!

Good luck! There will be people who always feel they have the right to tell you how to raise your kids. You just take it all with a grain of salt and do what is best for you and your's.
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#16 Old 01-09-2007, 10:25 AM
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we are also trying to raise our daughter as tv free as possible...and anna will not be watching programs/dvds until she is 3 or so...

btw...i hate those leapfrog commercials, too...and the "educational" video games?!! akkk!!!
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#17 Old 01-09-2007, 01:23 PM
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I was one of those NO TV FOR YOU UNTIL YOU'RE 3 mommies. By the time my ds was almost 2 I PRAYED that he would want to watch tv. He really didn't. I think because I'd been so strict about the NOTV thing for so long he wasn't interested in it. All I can say is THANK FREAKIN' GOD he decided to like a few shows during his 2 to 3 year... I was finally able to shower without a child talking to me the whole time. I was able to go to the bathroom by myself. I was able to wash a dish without having him in the sink...

If I have another child I will not be quite so "no tv". I think before the age of 1 1/2 no tv should be the rule. But after that.... it's just so nice to have a moment in which I'M NOT THE CENTER OF HIS ATTENTION! And not all shows are evil. DS knows a lot of spanish words/phrases fro watching Dora and he revels in the lazytown gang and eats up their good exercise and no junk food advice.

I was a sahm too. I think Had I been working the no tv would have made more sense...
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#18 Old 01-09-2007, 01:35 PM
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I definitely support your no TV decision. I don't have kids, but I believe I would adopt a similar approach with my own. I think it's really important for parents to sit down with their kids when they do watch tv, so they can explain things to them. I once did a research project about the methods companies use to target children. Since young children don't know the difference between fantasy and reality, they are very susceptible to advertisements with fun characters (think of McDonald's commercial with Ronald McDonald, Grimace, etc). I would be strongly in favor of children only watching pre-recorded shows without commercials until they are old enough to understand what they are seeing and not be so susceptible to the corporate 'brain washing'.
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#19 Old 01-09-2007, 02:03 PM
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My son is 2 1/2 and has no interest what-so-ever in TV. I'll take that as a blessing. His cousin on the other hand....lovvesss TV! And his MaMa has no problem ploppin him down in front of the tube all day so she can have free time.
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#20 Old 01-09-2007, 02:05 PM
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I think it's a great idea to keep them away from the tv until they're 3 or so.
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#21 Old 01-10-2007, 04:13 AM
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Personally I don't think watching TV has anything to do with ADD. How else would you get families where the kids watch the same amount of TV but one child has ADD and the others don't? I believe its genetic. I think there are plenty of good reasons to limit TV for children but ADD is a real disorder and although ADD-like symptoms can probably result from excessive TV use (poor behavior due to lack of social skills) that is NOT ADD.
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#22 Old 01-10-2007, 04:33 AM
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I don't know about the correlation between tv-watching and ADD, but I think going TV-free is a good idear.

My niece watches a lot of tv. It absolutely mesmerizes her. If you want to get her to do anything, you have to shut the tv off. My brother watches all his movies and tv shows in front of her. I went to my mom's a couple weeks ago, where my bro was staying for the holidays (they're from NY, we're in MI) and he was watching Jackass 2. His response to "What the hell are you doing? Why do you watch that stuff around her?" is "She's gonna learn it someday."

Note: before someone flips out about the "hell" usage, my brother is deaf (which has no bearing on his parenting skills, mind you) so unless she's watching, she's not going to learn what I say to him.
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#23 Old 01-10-2007, 05:05 AM
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I am not yet blessed with children, but my experiences are:

Personally I had little interest in TV as a child as I have a very active imagination and found it overstimulating. My brother was completely obsessed by it though, and still is. People are different; we both had free access but I wandered off and my brother sat there for hours.

My best friend's family had no TV in the house and she was CRAZY for TV and videos and desperate to watch it when she came to mine. She felt excluded from conversations on TV programmes at school and she now adores TV as an adult, I'm sure because she feels she was deprived of it as a child!

I worked in a nursery a few years ago and the kids were adorable but exhausting to keep entertained! It shocked me greatly the first time we sat the older ones in front of a video briefly and they fell completely silent and under its' spell. They were different children. I suddenly understood why parents get tired and use TV to have this effect- to get some respite.

All the above actually leads me to summarise that maybe a little TV isn't a bad thing for kids, especially older ones. However, I instinctively feel uncomfortable about it. My mum's a primary school teacher and we both notice how different the kids are who have had more adult interaction to those who are just sat in front of the TV from the beginning. Those children with no TV or a very small, regulated amount seem noticably more creative, imaginative and articulate as they read more and interact with their parents.

My personal choice will be no TV until children are at school, then a regulated, planned amount to prevent them feeling out of touch- also, there are some good programmes out there for kids these days which can be very educational!
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#24 Old 01-10-2007, 08:24 AM
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I wanted to add to my previous post that we have NOT had tv in our house since September (due to financial stressors)... my ds could care LESS!!! He watches videos every now and then.

I'm the one that is going nutso w/o tv!
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#25 Old 01-14-2007, 08:24 AM
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I'd like for my children to be TV-free for their first few years, when I was younger I didn't care for it much and still don't, I was much happier with a book or out playing with friends. Sometimes I combined the two But I worry I'm going to inflict my personality on my children, like how I don't give away my favourite books when I was younger so I can keep them for my kids to read. Then when they're here they have a mother who doesn't want them to watch TV but read and go and play instead, but that's just not how they are.

But I guess I have several more years to think this one over.
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#26 Old 01-14-2007, 10:45 AM
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I am a stay-at-home Mom who has planted my 2 kids in front of the TV whenever possible for a break. It's a mixed blessing, and I'd say TV's pros and cons depend on the temperment of you and your child.

My daughter has *always* been extremely needy, demanding and malcontented (since an infant). She also has never been a "good napper," and TV has always been how she unwinds and rests instead of nap time. (My son, on the other hand, has a happier disposition, naps well, and sometimes plays independently, so he's gotten a lot less TV.) Meanwhile, I am an introvert and also firmly committed to never spanking my kids (trying to "work with" my kids as often as possible to resolve problems rather than "doing things to" my kids to enforce behavior). The combination of 2 preschoolers, one of whom is a "difficult" child, my introversion, and my intensive parenting choices for dealing with "bad" behavior makes motherhood very draining for me. If I don't get some down time, I simply get very irritable and cannot function well with the children. TV helps a lot in this regard. When they watch TV is when I recharge my psychological battery, shower, clean the house, make necessary phone calls, etc.

Meanwhile, the kids pick up on a lot of good lessons from the quality programming (on TV and video--I only let them watch commercial-free tv). Some of the shows today are great, with problem solving, active female characters, good values being taught, etc. My daughter knows, for example, about rare animals and igloos and all sorts of other interesting things from TV that I have not had an opportunity to teach her in "real life." At age 5, she can also read a couple of dozen words and do some math (and knows all letters, letter sounds, numbers, etc.) because of the fantastic Leap Frog videos.

On the down side, my daughter demands a lot of TV and it's a fight constantly to limit it. She even wants TV when her friends come over to play, and will sit for hours if allowed, planted in front of the tube. My son really started picking up language once he became interested in TV, but he too is becoming increasingly couch-potato-ish.

What I have done is put the TV in the play room (and only the playroom has a TV) with all the toys. I don't think kids should have TVs in their rooms. I've also put uncomfortable chairs in the playroom (no couches for my couch-potatoes) to generally discourage family TV consumption. Often, the kids will play while they watch TV. When they ask for TV, I will sometimes make them look through the house first for a "more fun things to do." If we can't find anything together in their small fortune of toys that they'd rather do, I let them watch their shows. But, usually they come across some fun toy they'd otherwise forgotten existed and play for a while.

So, for us, TV is definitely a mixed blessing. I did want to say that the research shows a several-fold (if I recall correctly) correlation between TV and ADHD incidence. But be careful, because the overall risk of ADHD is very low to begin with -- increasing it many-fold still results in a very low overall incidence of ADHD. It's like drug companies touting that a certain drug reduced your risk of a rare disease by 500% -- say the risk of the disease is 0.005 percent to begin with. Now your risk would be 0.001 percent with the drug. Not such a big deal, even though 500% reductions sounds impressive.

Hope these thought and experiences with TV/no-TV help you decide.
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#27 Old 01-14-2007, 02:10 PM
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my husband and i are discussing this issue as an aspect of becoming parents.

we do not have cable or tivo, though we do have a dvd player and vhs player. we are considering learning how to tape shows, so that we could watch them later if we wanted. i think that this would be a good skill to have.

but as it is, i do not watch many shows. perhaps 1-3 hours per week total. sometimes more, someitmes less depending upon the week.

so i think that TV free--for me--won't be a problem, nor would it for the child.

i do see the issue about needing some time, so my DH and i have discussed:

1. both being WAH parents so that we're always around when the other wants to shower, as well as when i'm 'working' he's watching the kid and while he's working i'm watching the kid;

2. if we're both WAH, then it would be helpful to have someone come in and do weekly cleaning for us (major stuff, as i can handle the day-to-day stuff) as i've found lots of WAH moms and dads saying that they can't get it all done--kids, work, and housework--and they think that a 'parent helper' to occupy the child would be a good idea, which it is somewhat, but i feel that i'd rather spend that money on a cleaning person so that i enjoy the kid, rather than having to do the cleaning. i mean, i'm spending the money anyway, might as well do what i like (hanging with the kid) rather than what i don't like (cleaning--though i do like cleaning, but i like other things more);

3. considering bringing in a 'mommy's helper' for a few hours a week so that DH and I can have 'alone time' individually or together. we havne't quite figured this part out yet--or what our needs may be. but, even if i am staying home while the caregiver is there, it's nice to occassionally have a bath or something.
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#28 Old 01-14-2007, 06:14 PM
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I have discussed getting rid of cable with my DH but he's a bit resistant to the idea. We almost did it this past summer. He didn't have it when we met but now's a bit addicted (he's a news junky). I'm thinking of having part of the house partitioned from our child, like a basement or an attic that will have a tv in it where the child isn't allowed to go. Don't know how feasible that idea is.
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#29 Old 01-14-2007, 10:33 PM
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I'm a stay at home mom of a 3 yr old and a 7 month old. Before having kids I always thought I'd keep tv as far away from them as possible. However, around the time my oldest turned 1, I went from working at a daycare (where my daughter went with me) to being a nanny. The kids I cared for were very needy, and I found myself plopping my 1 yr old in front of Baby Einstein videos while at work. Shortly after that, I put on a Wiggles video to see if she'd like it and she loved it. She would "dance" and "sing." I thought that was ok, because I really thought it was the music she was into more than anything. I soon noticed that, while other kids often zoned out in front of the tv, my daughter would really interact with it or she would just go on and play with something else and not really pay attention to it. At home we only had PBS, no cable, but we had some videos too. We recently got cable, and I actually am glad, because she has learned a lot from shows like Blue's Clues and Dora. She loves having the tv on, but she still doesn't sit there for hours staring blankly, even if I let her. She does however seem to do that when she's tired. When I was working as a nanny, I had a lot of trouble getting her to nap, and she would often relax in front of the tv. These days, it's not too much of a fight to get her to turn off the tv, but she does resist. However, she is also very active, very friendly and very open to new experiences. So, in her case, I don't think it's too much of a problem.

However, my 7 month old loves tv already, she has since she was a newborn, and that I have a problem with. If my oldest is watching tv, my baby will sometimes have trouble nursing or playing. She's too distracted. That is when the tv has to go off. I can foresee a bit more of a problem with her in the future. So, like someone else mentioned, I also think it depends on the child. I don't think any harm comes from not allowing your child to watch tv, but I also don't think it's all bad. And sometimes, we do need a break!
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#30 Old 01-18-2007, 11:06 AM
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I think it's great to keep kids away from the tv period. They need to develop their imaginations. I think it's way more important for them to spend time playing with mom, dad or siblings. There is so much to do in this world, why waste time watching the idiot box? We keep a craft corner with all kinds of goodies in it that the kids can occupy themselves with, among other things. I say keep kids away from the tv as long as possible!
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