Education, Kids

Screen Time

September 19, 2012

Sigh. I’m thinking about banning TV Monday through Friday. Diego is not happy.

Just had a conversation with a dear friend of ours over dinner: “Embrace technology”, seems to be Jay’s motto. He fills us in on the latest “thing” (this guy knows everything and is much more hip than us) plus he gives us recommendations for the best kid apps out there and he doesn’t even have children! Jay is a great uncle though and I trust him 100% when it comes to educational games that come in a screen. I am all for embracing technology too and feel really fortunate to offer my boys these educational gadgets.

But how much is too much screen time? With my iPhone, Jose’s iPad, the Playstation, our computer, Diego’s Leap Pad, and the TV…wowsers. Of course, we have time limits, not everything is used in one day but because we were a bit flexible over the summer I feel like all Diego thinks about is TV! He wakes up in the morning and wants to watch, then getting dressed becomes a battle. When he arrives from school he wants to watch and because he is tired he just falls into a screen coma that leaves him even more exhausted and cranky. PLUS…Santi at 21 months, wants to watch too! I didn’t have Diego doing this much at his age. I’m torn because the screens give me flexibility to finish up dinner, feed the baby or ahem…check my iPhone.

What to do? Help!! What are your rules for screen time during school days? Would love some advice.

Your friend,


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  • Reply Nina September 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Hi Betty,

    My husband and I were never big on TV; in fact when we moved, we didn’t bother hooking up cable since we hardly watched. So by default, my almost 3yo doesn’t watch TV (even if he wanted to haha!). I think not having watched TV has helped him not really glorify it. For instance, we went on a trip a few weeks ago, and my husband turned on the TV and put it on a cartoon show. Sure, my toddler looked at it, but he was more focused on coloring or fiddling with a watch. So it’s kind of nice to think that, at least for now, he won’t be addicted to the TV even if we had it on in the house.

    As far as other technology, though, I am a HUGE computer and iPhone user, so this takes a bit of strength for me to turn off. Right now, my rule is that if it’s not work-related, then I’m not on my computer. Even if it looks like my toddler is doing fine coloring and I could technically go on my computer, I do my best to read a book or do something I’d like him to mimic instead. I don’t always follow this rule, and sometimes check in on my blog even when he’s right there next to me lol. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often.

    As far as getting dinner ready, I found a great trick that works. I just pull up a chair next to the counter, and my toddler knows that he can climb on and “help” and watch me cook. I also talk through my cooking as if I was on a talk-show with him: “Now we add the salt,” haha.

    Good luck; I have no experience on what to do when your kid is already wanting to watch a lot of TV. My gut advice would be to find an alternative to TV time that is even more fun for him, like playing a game or kicking around a ball; any activity that you know he’ll enjoy and that you’d much prefer he do than watch TV.
    Nina recently posted..Preschool: yes or noMy Profile

  • Reply Karen September 20, 2012 at 5:34 am

    My 6 and 8 year old have “Friday night movie night” and that’s about it for TV! They get computer screen time (1/2 hour per day) only if all homework and chores are done. (they are able to accomplish this 2-3 times a week!) alternate activities: lots of arts/craft materials and play time. I admit they did watch more TV when they were smaller, so perhaps when you’re kids are older and have HW it will be easier to control. However, TV and computers are privileges that they have to earn. We don’t even watch too much TV anymore, so I guess they see if we don’t do it, they don’t get tempted!

  • Reply Maria September 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Hi Betty,

    This is a struggle for me as well. Just like Diego, Daniella wakes up and wants to watch TV. And getting her to brush her teeth or get dressed becomes a negotiation session daily as she just MUST watch this commercial, or hear her favorite song in the whole world. She loves the iPad, iPhone, VReader and our most recent acquisition the Wii. I think that as long as children aren’t watching inappropriate TV, playing inappropriate games and you implement a daily, let’s say 2 hour, time frame in order to play or watch TV you’re ok. I think we emailed months ago and I spoke to you of my challenge to get Daniella more interested in Spanish. I make sure that when she is watching TV or playing games that they’re geared to build her Spanish vocabulary or educational in general. I’ve noticed that with educational ‘stuff’ she’s become more inquisitive, has been yearning to read much more and has learned alot. I know your kids are involved in alot of extra curricular activities so I don’t think that a little TV will hurt. Between soccer and ballet/tap during the week and our outings on the weekends Daniella really only watches about 10 hours of TV per week. I think in life everything is about moderation! So let them watch a little TV and then maybe you can make it a topic for dinner on what they learned from a certain show?

    Take care,

  • Betty
    Reply Betty September 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Thank you Nina, Karen and Maria for your replies. I love the variation of advice. Interestingly enough, I just went to Diego’s Back to School night last night and the teachers handed out a list of apps that are educational and at the same time they reinforced the importance of play. I came to the conclusion, like everything in life, it is about balance. I will probably limit tv to evenings (after homework is done) to 30 min and a little bit more flexible on the weekend. But I also think that he should be able to choose what screen he will get to use for those 30 minutes a day. I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck and thank you again!!!
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  • Reply Maritza September 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

    With Giuliana I do 30 minutes during the week. Karina on the other hand watches too much tv with my in-laws while I’m at work. Good thing it’s educational tv, like Barney :). On weekends. I let them watch a little Saturday morning cartoons the way I used to when I was a kid. Sometimes I join them :). It’s true like you said, all in moderation. Have a fun weekend, especially with the hubby :). GO BEARS!!!! Xox

  • Reply Yvette S September 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

    We allow more tv time on the weekends if we are home. Especially cause mommy needs to do laundry or clean up her casa! 🙂 During the week they sometimes do watch like about 30 min. They can choose tv or the Itouches right before the lights are out for the 30 min. That does depend on their behavior and if we can get the bath/showers done before 7:45.

  • Reply Nancy September 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I wish sometimes we did not have a tv, but that would be torture for my husband since that’s what I think he loves most, my kids unfortunately took after him and they enjoy watching tv with him as well, I take adventage when he is at work, I pretty much banded tv from the girls n school days and weekends they allowed I wantch as they did all their choirs, baby I allow him a bit more just when girls are in school, because I need a nanny here and there off and on, and I personatly enjoy watching a bit before I go to bed bu it could get pretty adicting that is the resin why I would Prefer not to has a tv.

  • Betty
    Reply Betty September 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you all for the feedback! After one week…I have sooooo much to tell!!! Look out for a follow up post! xoxo
    Betty recently posted..Wordless Wednesday-Model and ImitateMy Profile

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