So this whole “TV” thing is always in the forefront of my mind, especially as Big M gets older and seems to be taking more of an interest in “watching something” … mostly one of the dozen Disney VHSs I picked up at a garage sale, but, at times, it’s a cartoon on either Treehouse or Disney Junior. On occasion, she also enjoys “watching” songs on YouTube.
When Big M was a baby, I did a lot of research to determine whether or not she should be watching TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two years old not watch any television. They mostly discourage TV viewing because it interferes with play time, exploration, and interaction with adults, essentials in a young child’s development (kidshealth.org).
I am proud to say that I successfully kept Big M away from television for the first two years of her life. This decision was very intentional. Many times, I found myself thinking, “How bad can it be?” or “Jeez, it would be nice if she would watch something for awhile so I can get something done.” Then I would conduct my research again and remind myself how important it was to keep her away from the TV. Now, this isn’t to say that we do not have a TV in our house or that it was always shut off when Big M was around. I simply avoided putting her in front of the TV to watch something.
Without television to entertain her, Big M spent her time with us … reading, making crafts, going outside, or playing. I didn’t mind this. In the first year of her life, I was home to be with her. In her second year, I was back at work, which meant she spent 9-10 hours a day with someone else. I wanted to spend the time we had together doing things together. The only pitfall to using this model was how long it took Big M to learn how to play on her own. Now, I can’t be sure if her inability to play on her own was just an age thing or our own damn fault for playing with her too much. But … I digress.
Back to the “viewing” issue. As I mentioned earlier, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two years old not watch any television. From two to four years old, the Academy recommends only one to two hours of quality programming (kidshealth.org).
So at two years and nearly 10 months, Big M is “allowed” one to two hours of viewing time. Now I am not entirely sure that these Disney princess movies fall under the category of “quality programming” (that will be a subject for another post), but I do set limits on how much TV she watches each day, keeping the two hour maximum in mind. Some days we watch way less, and some days we likely reach our two hour maximum.