Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Too much TV??

We've all read the articles. TV before the age of 2 is a no-no (or at least suggested to be kept at a minimum). Supposedly it makes their brain work differently...or something like that. Here are some articles about the negative impacts of TV:

ScienceDaily - Toddlers & TV

MSNBC - TV may hurt Toddlers' attention spans

And of course BabyCenter in all their wiseness - TV Watching guidelines

Okay enough with all the negativity right! I mean after all, I watched plenty of TV growing up and I'm a normal behaving person! On the other hand, I talk too fast and my brain processes way too much information at certain times (usually after a glass or two of wine). Are those negative behaviors or signs of a shortened attention span? Probably. Is it because of TV...I doubt it.

Back to the reason for this post. I used to be secretly proud that my son (now 3) was never really interested in watching TV. He would much rather play with his trucks and toys than watch anymore Mickey Mouse or Handy Manny (I have a secret latin crush on Manny by the way).

I was able to turn the TV off shortly after 8 am and could watch whatever I wanted without it being dedicated to Disney or Nickelodeon. Now, let me clarify, I do not judge a mom for using TV as a babysitter! Whatever works! I had plenty of times when I wish I could just entertain him with a movie or cartoon so I could get something done.

And then....about 2 months ago...little man got sick. For about two weeks he battled a nasty cold and earache. It was heartbreaking to see him so tired and hear him tell me he was tired and cold. He watched a lot of movies. Well a lot of one movie really, Nemo. I love Nemo. It's an adorable and visually pretty movie! And we watched it...over and over and over. And continued to watch it, over and over and over for another couple of weeks past the illness. And then, fortunately, he changed gears. A different movie. The "Birdie Movie" as calls it, UP to us mere mortals. Another absolutely adorable movie that I really enjoy. Yet, after about 14 days, 3x a day, anything can get redundant. Then it became the "elephant movie" (Horton hears a Who). And most recently, it's the "dinosaur movie" (Land before Time episodes) This is the one the makes my brain bleed! The songs and the voices of those little dinosaurs....aaaggghhh! So yesterday I worked really hard to move him on to....BAMBI!! And I succeeded!

As soon as the movie is over....he lets me know he wants to watch it again. Sometimes he just lays on the couch and watches it, sometimes he plays with it on in the background (we can't turn it off). My questions is....what is this doing to his brain! Should I be concerned? Will he ever want to just play without the TV again! (We've tried cutting it off...I mean it's too the point where I have to go to my room to watch my shows if we are trying to get him calmed down before bed) He throws a fit! I know, I know. I shouldn't give in...but with a 5 month old...I prefer to keep the fits to a minimum.

So what do you think! Any advice on cutting the TV down? Or teaching him that he has to share the TV with mommy and daddy! How much TV does your kid watch in a day?

1 comment:

  1. hmmm.. good question! I'm really like you - proud that my son doesn't really care for tv. However, we do put on a certain song dvd for him once a week (usually sunday afternoon). I sort of made a promise to myself that I would only allow it once a week for a half hour and no more... Ok now time for a confession: The other day, he was refusing to eat his dinner and it's really important that he eats since he's lost weight in his last checkup so I decided to try a distracting method, and my distraction was - the dvd. Let me tell you - it worked! he ate a great dinner! I'm not proud of this and by no means think this is a good idea and it only happened the one time. But I do foresee this happening again. I strongly believe that children should not be spending time in front of the tv but sometimes, it just works! and I guess this now goes back to your question on how to limit the amount? my son is younger than yours so I find that I can usually distract him with another toy or book but I'm not sure if that would still work with a 3 year old. Maybe it's not so bad that he's spending time watching tv now especially since you have an infant to take care of... have you considered maybe signing him up for afternoon activities? some kind of a toddler music/gym class?
    Oh and one last thing about the "brain" issue with watching tv at a young age. I'm not sure what it does to the child's development but I do know that tv can end up wiring up the brain so that it makes it harder to fall asleep...
    To make a long story short - keep us updated on what you decide to do. I'm sure it'll be worthwhile info for all moms...