How Much TV is Too Much for Your Child?
The Tewksbury Moms Council discusses the issue of the "Electronic Babysitter."
The Tewksbury Patch Moms Council is made of of moms throughout the community from all different walks of life. Each week, the moms tackle a different question posed by readers of Tewksbury Patch on issues of life, family and motherhood. This week, the Moms take on television. Well, not the entire industry (that's a topic for another day), but the question of how much is too much.
How much TV is too much TV for a child?
Here's what the Moms had to say:
Lisa Spinelli-White -- IMO, for an infant, more than a few hours, 3-4, of background tv per week is too much. Older kids I'm not sure yet...
Jennifer Shpritzer -- We think that anything in moderation is fine! We generally let our 3 and 5 year old watch two shows a day, usually in the afternoon, which probably amounts to 50 minutes a day. Some days the TV never goes on, other days they might get to watch a third show. My pediatrician talks in terms of "screen time," not just TV time. Time in front of the TV, computer, and video games (handheld or otherwise) would count. My pedi says to limit screen time to 2 hours a day, but we personally tend to come in under this number. Again, everything in moderation!
Linda Rowe -- Personally I am NOT a big fan of TV or video games. When my children were growing up, they were encouraged to go outside and play rather than be in front of the TV. My kids played in the yard, swingset, rode their bikes, roller blades, and played outside with other neighborhood children. During the school year, TV before school was limited. Only after eating breakfast, and doing whatever was expected of them before the bus could the TV be turned on. After school it was homework and sports activities. One show after shower before bed was all that they watched. We didn't allow video games in the house until my oldest was in 2nd grade. I know many of today's children are in front of Playstation by age 4. How much is too much is up to each individual family to decide.
Sue Panilaitis -- According to the AAP, children under age 2 should not watch any television, while pediatricians recommend 1-2 hours a day for over 24 months. That said, we currently have no access to TV and our 6 kids suffer no adverse effects, only benefits. In fact, we have found that it helps significantly with the “gimmes” as they aren’t swayed by commercials. Without media influence, stereotypical roles or risky behaviors are not reinforced or suggested, and my kids have time to develop social and physical skills. They have learned to entertain themselves, resulting in creative thinking which has carried over into the educational setting.
Maryann Fezzuolglio-Frisella-- Oh, you mean the electronic babysitter?? It's just my opinion taking into consideration video games, too, I say 3 hours is too much. Honestly, when mine were little we had a schedule when they got they watched TV, never eat in front of the TV (yeah right), then planned activities for the day. We probably did about 2 hours a day, now practically none, too busy with sports.
That said, we do have a “screen time” allowance. Kids can earn computer or video game time through logging minutes of reading.
Maureen Castiglione -- It's funny you ask this question, because one of my "From the Heart of a Mom" columns was about this subject. The AAP recommends no more than one to two hours of quality TV and videos a day for older children and no screen time for children under the age of 2. My children do watch television, but we limit the time, and make sure we know what they are watching.
Lisa Broderick -- We do watch TV/movies in my house. My younger son (3) is not really interested in more than a 30 minute show, so he is easy to keep well below the "2 hour max" AAP recommendation. My older son is 6 and does love TV, Wii and the computer. On his days off from school I do limit him to about 1 hour max in the morning of TV and then in the afternoon he is allowed about an hour or so (depending on the weather! ) of computer time or Wii. That said, there are also some days when the TV never goes on. Like a previous poster said, all in moderation.
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