The Backyardigans and Dora are banned!

I was one of those annoying pregnant moms that swore up and down "my kids will never watch TV," until the day I realized that if I ever wanted to shower again, I'd have to turn on the TV.

We started out slowly, only clicking on Noggin for a half-hour in the mornings when I needed to get ready to get out of the house. Then it became another half-hour around dinner-time prep. Soon they were also watching 15 minutes before bedtime ...

And on and on it snowballed ...

We crossed the Noggin line and started allowing some Boomerang and Nick. This summer, we reached a record 4 hours a day, mostly movies that my husband put on so he could get some much needed work done around the house. TV was a lot cheaper than a babysitter ... but the damage was great.

I'm so not judging parents who let their kids watch all day. If that works for your child, great! I just know that too much TV is really bad news for my tots:

  • It turned them into addicts -- no matter how much they watched, they kept asking for more;
  • It was the first thing they asked for when they woke up in the morning;
  • They became uncreative, forgetting how to make up games and play with their favorite toys;
  • They bothered me more when the TV was finally off -- "Mom, I'm bored, I don't know what to do!"
  • Behavioral problems. Constant bickering, hitting, and moodiness during high TV days.

We're cold turkey now. It's been three weeks without any electronic media and my kids are happier, more cooperative. They are using their imaginations again, and discovering their toys once more. We've started reading chapter books, a little bit each day to keep them hooked for more.

I'm sure it won't last forever, but because of yesterday, I'll relish it for as long as we can.

Unprompted by Mom or Dad, the kids took all the pillows and blankets in the house and made a gigantic fort around the couch. They played inside for hours, totally ignoring the big black screen in the corner. This is what it's all about!

Do you notice any negative effects on your toddlers from too much TV, or can they watch for hours unfazed?

Written by Cynthia Dermody for CafeMom's Toddler Buzz


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