Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Television... my kids... the truth.

Although I'm loathe to admit it, the TV is on. What can I say?

I had this conversation with a friend of mine the other day... Do we use it as a tool? You bet. Are we proud of that? Not really. But, the concensus is that we can be great Moms with the help of the TV or unpleasant stress-cases and keep it turned off.

When I'm in a non-negotiable position (e.g. breastfeeding/tending to our second child, preparing our super-healthy, wonderfully flavourful meals) the TV keeps our daughter from putting playdough in the fireplace, or testing the cat's neck for weaknesses (what is it about kids and putting their little hands around little necks?).

Between being food and making food, we're looking at about 1.5 hours a day. Let's call this "Mom's sanity viewing". We can probably add another 1/2 hour for just general "enjoyment viewing".

The math is not overly encouraging, I know that. I think can feel the judgement oozing through the screen. But, hear me out:

1. We're watching kid-friendly programming 95% of the time. God knows how many times the kids have been in bed for an hour before my husband and I realize we're watching those strung-out Waybaloo's doing meditation-yoga to morning trance. The other 5% of the time, I'm embarassed to say, we're watching the Food Network (you think I'd be a better cook) or Sex And The City. I know... but I can't help it. Hand to God, my two-year old has likely seen the entire, what, 6-7 seasons at least fifteen times, courtesy of Cosmo TV. Not so much worried about the effect it'll have on her vs the effect it'll have on my son (who's on his third go of the series).

2. We are at an out-of-the-home activity five days a week (music class, dance, gymnastics, sportball, art & swimming) so she's being exposed to a good variety of non-TV-related stuff, as well. And, weather permitting, we hit the local park one to two times a week.

I don't want to start bad habits, however, and I fear it's starting. For example, she no longer wants to go to her respective activities if it means turning off the TV. The conversation goes something like this:

Mom: Let's go, sweetie... get your shoes on. [Turns off TV]
Daughter: Noooo... don't turn it off, I'm watching that.
Mom: Nope... we've gotta get going or we're going to be late for <insert activity>.
Daughter: No thanks, I don't want to go to <insert activity>, I wanna watch <insert program>.

She eventually joins me after the final threat to leave without her. I fear the day she says, "Yup... you go ahead, I'm good here."

Additionally, she can almost turn on our TV! This may sound pretty straightforward, but we require three remotes to get it fully up and running (receiver, cable box, television set). It took me a few months to get it, so the fact that she's almost there is a little concerning. The PVR can't be far behind, and we're starting to worry about her cancelling some of our programs in favour of Peep and the Big Wide World.

Finally, it's only been two weeks since she's been home from daycare full-time and I'm already getting anxiety about her television habits. Winter is coming and activities aside, we'll be spending much more time inside than out.

So, cast me from the Mommy Blogosphere if you must, but first, please send me a list of things you do to keep your kids occupied when you need a little time for yourself (i.e. time for other family members). And, please don't include puzzles, books, dress-up, playdough, colouring, dolls, dancing, chasing the cat, climbing stairs and tidying, because they no longer hold her attention the way that crazy Mr. Noodle does.


  1. Give her the Swiffer Vac. Keeps Autumn occupied and the noise soothes Rayne. Win win.

  2. I love your blog! I have been at home with my four year old since the get go. So yes, I do use tv as a tool. I think of it as absolutely necessary, as far as completing chores that are never ending and sometimes, guiltily for quiet. It can be quite tasking to have a four year old with an expansive vocabulary ask you questions ranging from landmarks to where is daddy. No judgement here, just applause from one mom to another. Good job! Whatever it takes to keep your child and you happy and sane! :)