Movie Night!

I am not sure how it happened, but Penelope has turned into a TV fanatic. She begs me to watch it, pretty much all day long. She calls it Sis, I guess because you sit down to watch it.

When I first started letting her watch TV, a little after her first birthday, it was only 30 minutes a day. We are now up to 2 hours a day! She wants to watch a full episode of Sesame Street or a Disney movie. And honestly, if we are traveling or going out to dinner, it’s more, because we will take our portable DVD player with us.

She will sit on the couch, by herself and not move.ย  I usually will sit with her and do work on my computer, or do laundry or dishes.

I feel like a jerk for letting her watch that much TV. I have a friend, who has a child the same age as Penelope, and her toddler has never even seen TV. I wish I could be like that. Sigh. But it’s just too easy of a way to get things done around the house! When I wasn’t working at home, I can see how I didn’t rely on it as much, but now that I working part time from home, the TV is like an instant babysitter.

I do see the negative impacts of it though, I can see her getting over stimulated or grumpy after watching it sometimes. And it’s like she is not as easily entertained by other things now. She used to sit and play with her toys, by herself, for an hour and now its more like 20 minutes.

I am going to do my best and keep it balance, but it is hard. Peter and I love TV. We love to watch movies and shows together. We are big fans of HBO shows. It is a thing we do to relax and spend time together, I know it’s not real time together, but I do think it is bonding. We will talk about the story plot and the characters, etc.

Usually once a week, we all watch TV in the evenings together. A Disney movie or a nature show.
I love to cuddle with her and eat popcorn. We also like to take her to movies. She does great. She can usually last over a hour, if their is popcorn involved.

How much TV does your child watch?


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  • Mallorey
    August 12, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    My daughter watches far too much tv as well. She usually watches about hour and half to 2 hours a day. Lately she has been obsessed with Buzz (actually toy story, but she just calls it Buzz). And we are working on potty training, so we give in a little more to keep her confined to one area.
    We also sometimes do weekly movie nights.
    Don't worry about it too much! You do what you need to do. And that is okay!

  • carO__
    August 12, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    It's funny you bring this up today because we were JUST talking about it in our house. I limited it at first but then it started to become 30-45min in the morning while we were getting ready to leave the house and 30 min at night while I cook. It's the best babysitter and with educational shows I don't feel as guilty as I would if he was watching Sponge Bob.

    Something we are starting to notice that is HORRIBLE is how he is relating watching TV with eating a snack. It's got so bad where he THINKS he's hungry and wants to eat JUST because the TV is on. I guess it's a way to relax but I DO NOT want him mindlessly eating!

    Last night- we love HBO too! What shows do you all like? We LOVE TruBlood ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mamastiks
    August 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Usually 2 hours total, and I do not think that is too much. My almost 6 year old was speaking clearly in full sentences by 18 months despite all the tv rotting her brain. ๐Ÿ™‚ her vocab has increased (as has my 3 year olds). We watch educational, princess movies, and, yes, sponge bob

  • Cassandra
    August 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    I of course can't remember where I saw it, but there was a study discussing how it's only important to limit TV/Computer stuff under the age of 2 because that's when they're developing their play skills. You're already seeing the effects of that by her not wanting to play by herself. Addie isn't watching the TV but she is showing an interest in things that move on the computer screen and wanting to play with keyboards, mice, and TV remotes. Zach and I are exactly like you with the TV watching and our best discussions have been about plots, characters and actors. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong in watching a lot of movies/TV or being on the computer as a teenager or adult, but children are easily obsessed with things and will ignore healthy development activities in order to keep watching. Probably best to just play it by ear.

  • Alicia
    August 12, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    My 2 year old probably averages 2 hours of TV a day. For the longest time she wasn't interested in it, which I loved…but now she begs to watch Diego and Dora. I am with you, it's a good distraction for her while I'm trying to get things done or just sit and relax, but sometimes I do feel guilty that I'm letting her watch "too much" TV.

  • Stephanie
    August 12, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    @Mallorey, well that makes me feel a little bit better than 2 hours a day is not too far out of the norm.
    @carO,That is what we do too, an hour in the AM and hour in the PM. We have not gotten into TruBlood yet, but we love Big Love, Entourage, Californication, and Treme.
    @Mamastiks, that makes me feel better, thank you!
    @Cassandra, Penelope loves to look at photos on the computer too. She says, Babies! She likes to look at pictures of herself. She is totally obsessed, I have got to try and limit it somehow.
    @alicia..yes, the guilt. its always there isnt it?

  • alden
    August 13, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    P watches less than an hour of TV a day in very short bursts. like, 5 minutes of youtubed mr. rogers in the morning while I check email/fb on my phone. Maybe an 8 minute "episode" of kipper the dog on instant netflix while I am trying to nurse V down for a nap. Another 8-16 minutes of kipper before evening bath. I also have relied on TV for transitions, like when we are about to leave the house and V is upset and P has decided this is an excellent time to raid the diaper bag. 5 minutes of youtube. I have found I have not had to do this lately because P loves to vacuum so I just tell her we need to vacuum before we can leave the house, LOL!

    P used to watch an obscene amount of TV shortly after V was born. I still feel guilty about it because I did notice that when she watched "her stories", lol, she did not budge at all. She still locks into the TV, which one reason I limit it. I know some kids that have the TV on all day but it is background noise to them and they are playing with their toys and not watching. This is not the case with P. I had to create a huge pull the plug campaign in my own home to get to the limited screen time we have today, even going as far to cover the TV with a blanket because the TV went "night-night". Now we rarely use the big TV and she watches everything on the computer.

    I carefully screen everything she watches because I think many kiddie shows actually reinforce negative behaviors. I choose very slow, simple shows for her. She loves Mr. Rogers and Kipper. I have found that some shows overstimulate her. I personally would love for her to watch some yo gabba gabba because I think it is totally fresh, but it is like sensory mountain dew for P.

  • Samantha
    August 13, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    I have to admit that I'm one of those moms that has the TV on for background noise. My 2 year old usually doesn't notice it and we play and read like normal, unless Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on. But I feel ok with that because he is now noticing things that he has seen on Mickey and he points them out to me before I can even show him. I love that. And Mickey is a good way to keep him with me while I'm nursing our newborn. I say do whatever works for your family. Also, I just found your blog on Pintrest and I LOVE it!

  • Anonymous
    November 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    What kind of popcorn do you all eat? In the picture it looks like bagged microwaved popcorn but I thought for sure you wouldn't give your child that with all the chemicals in the bag linning and the microwave dangers.

  • Stephanie
    November 14, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    @Anonymous…we usually eat an organic bag kind or I will do some on the stove top with oil or bacon grease, but we had a random non-organic bag in the house that night for some reason, probably something my husband got for himself, and we ate it that night. We do the best we can and are certainly are not perfect!

  • Lanette
    February 4, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    We have been blessed with 4 children & like all families have had trials & definate ERRORS….but there have been a couple of times unintentially that we have made huge successes in our family…one of those times was we decided that once our daughter entered Kindergarten that SHE would have no TV during the school week only on the weekend nights that she didn’t have school the next day, this was an amazing change for our family… husband and I would have “needed” it had we just cancelled cable & this we saw as a “good” parenting choice for our new schoolager, but of course if she can’t watch it then no one can so we just ended up not watching it at all, my husband and I would still watch our favorite things with DVR later at night if we wanted, but eventually stopped “needing” it and now even we watch less than 2 hours a week. The other thing we did was took the tv out of our living room…we just have some comfy seating and our computer….we kind of did this to with the intention of getting another tv as a replacement, but when it never came we didn’t miss it and now it’s our reading room……my 1 year old will “read” & play with books for hours in our living room (she’s never watched tv), we ask our children about their days & they answer…and I’m not talking “good”, it’s good answers like “so and so hurt my feelings today or “we did this in art class today and can I show you how to do it” , I’m not saying that those questions can’t be asked with a tv on, but it’s been the best unintentional parenting we’ve done!

  • Julia
    November 12, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I know there are a lot of people who depend a little too much on the T.V. to keep their kids attention. I donโ€™t see anything wrong with cuddling up on the couch with them and watching a show or movie, but I think people should definitely spend time doing other things as well. Sometimes I use the T.V. as background noise when Iโ€™m babysitting while helping my niece with one of her many puzzles.