Kid TV time


What do you all think is an acceptable amount of time per week for children to watch TV for? Would you say that the kids should always ask before turning the TV on?


Growing up my mom seldom let me watch Television, and I thank her every day for it. In my opinion, only a few hours a week, maximum. 2 or 3. And when that, tell them only to watch programs, not just stare at the TV. IE-instead of watching TV from 7-8 pm, they watch “Show X” from 730-8, than that’s it. Give them a book, an instrument, baseball cards, the radio, music-I could go on.

I don’t have kids, but I have strong feelings about how much they watch TV. My neice and nephew, sadly, watch way, way too much of it.

::getting off his soapbox::


Very little.

Send them outside to play,sign them up in sports,give them a book to read,go camping etc etc.

Tom and Jerry,Looney Tunes etc are good shows for kids on their down time in between baseball practice and swim meet though:)


i don't have kids either but I do agree the less TV the better. :)

I grew up watching taped TV shows and movies that my parents picked, (stuff that was good for all ages.) I think that's one good way of doing it. :)


My TV is off for days to weeks at a time. If I had kids, I don't think I would even have a TV.


Everything in moderation. AND yes, they should always ask if they can watch tv before turning it on.


My parents just to just park me in front of the TV and never set any limits on me as long as I got my homework done. I managed to get good grades, and maintain a social life though.

IMHO television time is more about quality than quantity. If they are watching junk, then limit it. But if they are watching good, educational programming, and managing to keep up on their grades and stay in good shape then I feel you can be a little more lax.

The best situation is something like netflix instant watch. Educational kids shows, no ads. Ads are the worst things for kids, in my opinion.


We make the TV issue very simple in our house: We just don’t have one.
On Saturdays my brother will bring his over and hook up the DVD player, or Wii. That’s about it. My son is 4 - I prefer he be doing some kind of creative play.

I’ll admit Winter is tough though.



We don’t let our kids watch tv. any more than we let them drink t-bowl cleaner. I’m no help. We used to, but were disappointed with the options. Nowadays, they’ll watch age-appropriate DVDs freely on weekends balancing that with homework and chores. So far, their focus and academics are very good.


that’s a good way to do it too. :slight_smile:


TV is toxic as pediatricians are now saying. No TV is the best but probably not possible. When our children were pre first grade we made it a point to have only one TV, a small one that was in a slightly inconvenient space. We actually got a call from a first grade teacher who simply could not believe that our daughter couldn’t do an assigment because she never watched a certain TV show! Limit watching as much as possible. Watch it with your children and comment on it frequently. Never never have a TV in the child’s room. Our kids played a lot, did puzzles, read a lot, played games and turned out to be reflective, independent minded and successful.

By the way, our daughter and her husband were looking at some day care centers. One of the “better” ones actually thought that it was a selling point to have TV Day once a week during which the TV was on the entire day and there were no other activities!! No kidding! As I’ve aged I have become more bemused than appalled at the world. Thank goodness there are enough outrages to keep the latter motion alive.


[quote="PoliSciProf, post:11, topic:192972"]

One of the "better" ones actually thought that it was a selling point to have TV Day once a week during which the TV was on the entire day and there were no other activities!! No kidding! .


Are you kidding me? That's not just bad-that's heinous!

Oh my gosh!


I don't have a TV, nor do I plan to get when when/if I get married and have kids.

I nannied and the little girl was ADHD even at a young age. I can't explain it but she was just...different. And TV made her behaviors so much worse. Plus, she often couldn't sit through an entire show and when she decided she wanted to move around there was NO warning whatsoever and things got chaotic, quick.

Limiting their computer use, on the other hand, will probably be tough for me since I'm such a tech-head.


[quote="shaun23, post:1, topic:192972"]
What do you all think is an acceptable amount of time per week for children to watch TV for? Would you say that the kids should always ask before turning the TV on?


You are the parent, and they should definitely always ask before turning the TV on.

Also, the children need to understand that they are restricted from watching certain programs.

Once you have that discipline working for you, then it won't affect their lives negatively.

Be strong when they try to beg, whine, or complain how mean you are.

One hour a day seems like a good amount of time. The rest should be spent outside playing active games and getting good exercise at the same time.


My daughter who is just about 2 years old watches approx 45 minutes a day and it's only Sesame Street / Elmo's World.

We don't have it on much otherwise in general. Wife and I watch about 1 - 2 hours a week, which is why we still have & use free tv.

Here are some interesting stats............


I never had a limit on tv growing up and my home at two TVs, one family tv and one in my parents room. That being said, I would rarely watch TV. I would watch alittle TV in the morning before school on weekdays and then after school I would always be outside playing until it got dark, or doing homework. At night I probably watched about 30 more minutes or so of TV prior to going to bed. I did so many other things that were 'constructive' or that required socializing/exercise that my parents didn't care that I watched a little TV or didn't feel the need to put restrictions on it. There were probably a handful of occasions on rainy days or something like that (pre-internet time) where I spent excessive time in front of the TV and my parents would have me do something else, but those days were few and far between.

If you get kids doing fun and interesting things, TV will naturally become an after thought. As an adult, I now own an amazing HDTV and I barely ever watch it. I probably watch 30 mins of TV a day at most.


Growing up, I had no real limits on the amount of TV I could watch. However, the amount of TV I could watch was linked with how many chores I completed. One chore = 1/2 hour of TV. I managed to rack up a lot of potential TV time, but I mostly just played outside. I think a good moderator for when children get older is to not have cable, or to just have basic cable where you still get PBS, History Channel, and the Discovery Channel. When I was little we had bunny ears and the only station that came in clear was PBS, so I have fond memories of watching the Magic School Bus and eating cereal on Sunday mornings with my sister waiting for my parents to finish getting ready to go to mass.


The more you forbid something, the more desirable it appears.

When our two daughters were growing up, we didn't limit TV. They were allowed to watch it as much as they wanted to.

Funny--they didn't want to watch it. They knew they could watch it anytime they wanted, and knowing that took away the craving.

That being said, I think some of you are really being extreme.

I agree that little ones under age five shouldn't spend more than a hour a day in front of the TV (Sesame Street, or Mr. Rogers, or one cartoon video, etc.). It's not a good way to develop the life skills needed.

But there is still a lot of good stuff to enjoy, especially if you use videos or DVDs. My kids LOVED Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman while they were growing up, and now that they are on their own, they have Dr. Quinn Watchathons when they get together.

When they were little, they loved the Riders in the Sky show, and we own the videos--excellent children's entertainment that encourages children to sing. We just attended a Riders in the Sky concert a few months ago--these guys have been together as a group for over 30 years, and they're still delightful.

When she was a baby, my younger daughter didn't nap during the day (she slept 12 hours straight at night). So while her sister was napping and her mother was resting, she would watch Dumbo. She never bothered her sister, and seldom bothered her mother during this time--it was her personal "rest time" during the day. She must have watched Dumbo everyday for a year. It really helped shape her personality. If there is anyone being made fun of, my daughter will jump up and defend them. She's gentle and motherly and loves children and love elephants! In college (St. Louis), she used to go to the Zoo and sit in front of the elephants and do her studying.

Surely none of you see any harm in Dumbo?

For a while, ABC was doing the "Family Friday," featuring all those fun family shows like Family Matters, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Step By Step, etc. Usually our family spent Friday afternoons and early evenings at the ice skating rink participating in a club. When we came home, we would order pizza and all sit down together to enjoy these great family shows. The girls really looked forward to it, and loved Steve Urkel!

My husband grew up on Star Trek and is still a huge fan of not only the orginal show, but the spinoffs. I think these are great shows for kids, although you have to filter the "evolution" stuff a little. But not much. Great for developing an interest in science.

Certainly there are lots of other things to do besides watch TV. But after you've done all those fun things, what's wrong with gathering in front of the TV?! It's fun and cheap!

No one could ever accuse my daughters or our family of being couch potatoes. Many of you know that my daughters started figure skating at ages 3 and 5. They were up every morning at five and skating at the rink, and then they had a full school day, and then did various extracurriculars, usually active things like dancing and theater and volleyball. It was a great pleasure for them to come home and relax in front of the TV.

TV is cheap entertainment that can bring a family together. When I was growing up, some of my fondest memories are of watching certain shows with my family. Saturday night was especially precious. My dad always brought home a half gallon of ice cream and we all had a bowlful with Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Then the TV went on--it started out with Lawrence Welk, and my brother and I would sing and dance along with the entertainers. I believe that this show and Jo Ann Castle is the main reason my dad got me involved with piano lessons. And both of my parents enjoyed chatting about what the various stars were wearing, who they were married to, etc. After Welk, we would watch The Great One--Jackie Gleason, and oh! how my little brother and I enjoyed waiting in suspense and then calling out, "HOW SWEET IT IS!" My parents would laugh at us and join the fun. After Gleason came Gunsmoke, and my brother and I would take turns every week being Marshall Dillon and the villain, and of course, the villain got to be shot and die dramatically. I'm pretty certain that most Saturday nights, we would fall asleep on the floor before Gunsmoke was over.

I think heaven must be like this.

And on Sundays--it was Lassie and The Wonderful World of Disney. My mother actually had to forbid us watching Lassie, as we always cried so hard!

My brother and I were active children and played outside a lot. We had an entire troll village set up in our basement, made with boxes and various pieces of my dad's hardware, and we spent hours down there getting our trolls into various situations (tornados were our favorite).

But we still loved watching TV. And you know, all of those shows that I mentioned above are still available through DVDs.

When we got older and started going through those "teen" times, TV was often a "safe" place for the family to gather. Neither of us ever had a big rebellion, but we did have to struggle a little to grow up. I can remember sitting with my father and watching M.A.S.H. and listening to him describe his war experiences. Something about that show made him feel free to bring up difficult topics and try to teach me life lessons, and made me feel respectful of my father.

I don't agree that there's nothing on TV that's decent, although I do think that without cable, it's hard to find much of anything for children. But there are still lots of great sports on TV--the Olympics was wonderful. And there are a few family-friendly shows. (We don't have cable, BTW, and never will.) As I mentioned above, with DVDs and videos, all kinds of great family shows are available.


I have 2 boys who are 14 and 12. Our house rule is “no electronics during the school week”. Monday through Thursdays the TV, Computers, Playstation, and whatever are off unless it’s for school.

We live about 30 minutes from school, and I teach at their (Catholic) school as well. So, we have long days. We leave our house about 6:45 in the morning and most days don’t get home until 4:30 or so. They are heavily into travel soccer and that eats up 2-3 hours a night a few nights a week. So, we had to come up with some sort of rule that makes it so they have time to get the homework done while still participating in their passion, which is anything soccer! Friday through Sundays we pretty much don’t put limits on the TV or electronics, but many weekends we have tournaments, and we all go to Mass together as a family as well.

It’s not that we think TV is evil - TV has some great programming and we enjoy watching shows together. It’s that our family is very busy during the week and in order for them to get their “job” done (school) and still do the soccer they love, it’s just not feasible during the week.

That said, as a family we watch shows and really enjoy being together watching movies or shows we follow. We love to watch the Amazing Race together, and my younger son and husband are big Survivor fans. Whoever earlier said that TV sometimes can open up a less talkative child is correct - we have some of our best talks as a family when we’ve been sitting around watching TV and then after the show.

The story about Dumbo cracked me up as well, because my older son didn’t nap after age 18 months, right about the time my younger son was born. When the baby was napping, I would lie on the couch and my 2 year old would snuggle up behind my legs and watch Dumbo - every single day. It was just the right length for me to have some down time and for him to recharge. He LOVED that movie. :slight_smile:

I think each family has to figure out what works for them - and for us, we’ve got a good system going. If things need to change down the road, we’ll change.


The center was referring to showing “age appropriate” videos but this is a distinction without a difference.

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