Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kids and TV

The topic of kids watching too much TV always seemes to be a perennial favorite. I got to thinking about it again because Danielle at Danielle Bean has asked readers of her website to tell her how they and their families handle television viewing.

I feel very fortunate that my children are not big TV watchers. I've never felt compelled to set limits on TV - at least not in general - there have been days when I've had to say 'okay, now turn it off'.

But then I wonder - am I just lucky, or have I been doing something right all along? The first thing my husband and I did regarding TV viewing was more an economic decision than anything else. We don't have cable. We don't have satellite. We don't have Dish TV. Not even Basic. We have a big antenna.

Once, before we had children, when trying to decide if I wanted to get cable or not, I looked at the cable schedules to see what I would watch - the reruns of "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Waltons" looked interesting - but I couldn't see paying that kind of money to watch 20 year old programs. So, we didn't get cable.

So, what do our children watch with no Nickoldeon or Disney Channel? They watch PBS. When they were little it was "Sesame Street", "Barney" and "DragonTales". Then "Arthur" was a favorite - and now "Cyberchase" gets their attention.

But, you know what? Most of the time they'd rather play together or read.

And I like to think that has something to do with our parenting as well. In our house, TV is not our primary form of recreation. We read. We listen to the radio or CDs. Occasionally we sit down and watch a show, but the TV is not usually on. It only goes on when there is something specific we want to watch. My husband and I each have one show we generally like to watch (which we tape, so we can watch once the children are in bed.)

Of course there are days when the children do want to just chill out in front of the TV, and I let them - because sometimes I want to do that to. Doesn't everyone?

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