Too Much TV!?

They call me the TV Nazi at our house. I refuse to let my boys sit for hours like zombies planted in front of the boob tube. Therefore I am the bad guy a lot around here.

I’ve had a number of fights with my oldest that have ended with me literally pulling the plug on our old living room set. He would sit and watch TV all day long if I let him. And he would be perfectly happy doing so.

But I want him to get up and live. In my opinion, TV should not be used as a baby sitter or replacement for physical activity or cognitive stimulation.

Yet even I was surprised by a handout the doctor gave me at my 3-year-old’s annual check-up. It said he should view no more than one hour of TV each day.

One hour? That’s not even enough time to sit through an entire Disney cartoon movie. So what do you do? Pop in Tangled and just when Rapunzel’s about to discover she’s the lost princess, you shut it off? Do you tell your kids, “Sorry, your hour’s up?”

I don’t know who much TV is too much and how they determine what is enough. I’m sure that every family has different boundaries set up for their household, but 60 minutes seems a little low to me.

On a “normal” day, I let my children watch about 30-60 minutes of television each morning and then up to another hour of their “favorite” shows after my oldest gets home from school.  That’s it. Every once in a while we’ll have a movie afternoon or there will be a special on in the evening that we will watch, but that’s the exception not the rule.

Keep in mind that’s what I let them watch. If they got their hands on the remote, they would watch much more.

I honestly don’t know what has happened to me. I’ve gone from the teenager who used to sit in her parent’s recliner watching soap operas while doing high school homework, to the mother who can’t stand to have her children’s brains turned to mush while watching too much TV.

My friend posted recently on her blog how she and her husband basically gave up watching television. They hardly watch television anymore. (Read about her experience here.) I feel the same way. If I were to have an hour to sit down one evening and do anything I wanted, it wouldn’t be turning on the tube.

So now I’m curious…

What are the restrictions at your house? Do you let your children watch TV whenever they want? Do you make them turn it off at specific times of day? Do they sit like spaced-out zombies, tuning everything and anything else out or is it a background feature at your house that they listen to while playing and doing other things? How much is too much?

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