My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

Our Babysitter Called TV


My Mommyolog Couch Potato

We all multi-task. Sam watches Elmo while eating. Mom eats while checking mail.

Yes, the TV is my friend.  Actually it’s very good friend, particularly when I need some “me time” or time to finish chores (although Sam surprised me the other Friday by getting up from her seat and saying, “You want to help Mommy with the laundry,” when she saw me wheeling out the laundry hamper — so we turned it into another bonding activity.).  I used to tell myself I wouldn’t be one of those moms who would let her eat in front of the TV either, but after several unsuccessful attempts to keep her seated long enough to eat a good meal, well….  Let’s just say I prefer to choose my battles. 🙂

Some of my mommy friends have asked for my opinion about toddler TV-watching.  Understandably we all have our concerns, since some recent studies correlate TV with ADHD (Attention Deficiency and Hyperactivity Disorder).  For one quite honestly, Sam learned to read with the help of TV.  She’s also picked up a few good lessons from programs like Sesame Street and Barney, her two favorite shows.  For instance if it wasn’t for the Barney Fun on Wheels video where they sing “Cross the Street”, Sam would actually still be running fearlessly into the streets while I desperately try to catch up with her, heart-in-mouth  (It is a big help for huge clunky pregnant me that she stops to wait and hold my hand instead as the song suggests).

That said, I’m still wary of too much TV time, and have created some self-imposed My Mommyology guidelines.  They are as follows:

1.  Spread TV time throughout the day, about 2-3 times in frequency, with a maximum 2-3 hour cumulative time per day.  If she were below a year old, it would only be up to an hour.  This also includes time spent watching video clips on the computer.  It helps to avoid overstimulation and tired eyes.

2.  It’s not given if she doesn’t ask for it.  Therefore when she doesn’t look for it, we don’t suggest it.

3.  There is no time extension, regardless of negotiation or protest (unless it is a special day like her birthday, or if it’s just one of those days when I need a few more minutes to breathe).

4.  During TV time, something else has to get done on my end, so I know that the distraction is used wisely.

5.  All shows are pre-screened prior to her independent viewing.  This is so that I know what she’s watched and can discuss it with her even if she’s not in front of the tube.

6.  The show must add value to her life (be it a wholesome fun show or an educational program).  Spongebob Squarepants is a no-no on my list.  Yo Gabba Gabba is another program I’m not too fond of, in spite of it’s popularity amongst kids.  This also implies that we don’t watch much TV either when she’s awake, apart from the news and my husband’s NBA games or PGA shows (that is another battle I would rather not engage in). Thank goodness then for the DVR and Netflix!

It sounds quite strict and limiting, I am aware of that; and it does keep me on my feet as to how to keep her preoccupied on a daily basis.  For the moment that is a challenge I’m willing to accept, because I still do believe that while TV can teach her a lot, she’ll still learn more from quality human interaction and the exposure to different activities.  I hope to God it all turns out to be the right decision in the end!

Author: mymommyology

I am the mom that I am because of my two wonderful little girls. They teach me everyday.


  1. Why don’t you like Yo Gabba Gabba? I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and watch it bec it’s usually the one on when I dress up for work and plunk Indie for a bit while I need a measly 10 minutes to pick clothes, change and think whether to put on make up now or at the car… Just curious! Liking Team Umi Zoomi, sometimes Phineas and Ferb (because of the music, hehe, but not sure if it is any good as well), Dora.

    Indie likes (loves. adores. can’t get enough of.) Count With Me Ernie. We like it too, except for the part when Ernie incessantly irritates the mouse porter (have you seen this?) 😛

    • Oh it’s definitely eye-catching, they’re colorful and they sing and all, but the characters are weird. And their names are weird too. So we just get a not-so good vibe out of it sometimes. I mean, when we’re in the Gymboree clothing store sometimes that’s the program that’s on and we have no choice to let her watch a bit of it, but it’s like there’s no value-add. Well that’s how we feel! =)
      I haven’t seen Count with me Ernie, I should look it up! wahahaha!
      Go to Indie will find so many more short fun videos!

  2. I imagine it’s really hard to find accepatable TV shows on the tube these days, even if they are marketed for kids.

    Maybe she can have “read aloud time” in place of some of her TV time when she gets a little older. 😀 whadd’ya think?

  3. My 3-yr old loves the TV, and I regret introducing it to her before showing her “My Baby/ Child Can Read” but actually, most TV shows now are really helpful, unlike when we were kids. Cartoon Network is a no-no in our house and Mika, thankfully, doesn’t like it. Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr. are loved in the mornings. TV has actually helped a lot with her speech – she probably speaks better than some other 5yr olds. It also helps with comprehension. I quiz her about what she watches and she is actually able to answer questions about the plot correctly. We try not to watch any more TV after she wakes up from her nap but sometimes, I’m just too busy!! This year, I will try to impose No TV in the afternoons and night and she can play with all these toys in the house!

    And we do watch Yo Gabba Gabba. They ARE weird but they actually teach some good values. It just seems like the writers were high while they were conceptualizing it. Haha.

  4. Patrick loves Barney and Animal Mechanicals. I let him watch Barney every night before he goes to sleep. Animal Mechanicals in the afternoon after he wakes up from his nap. He actually doesn’t like watching TV too much which I think is a blessing and a curse as well (hahaha) because if I want to multi-task, it has to be just during the time that he’s watching his shows.

  5. Really you let her watch Yo Gabba Gabba?! I guess they do have good values. They just look — off. Haha. But I do that too! Quiz her after her shows to see what she remembers. That’s why I watch them first so that I know if it’s correct or not.

    Veggie Tales is something Ren lets his kids watch. They’re supposed to be vegetables giving valuable lessons too. There’s also another one Sam likes which we catch once in a while called Super Why (Y?) — it’s a spelling animation.

  6. Very nice read Jen! And astig yung Barney show to help you cross the street ha! I also use TV as a distraction for hubby so I can do my work / chores! Hahahaha! Joke lang!!! 🙂

    I remember my mom telling me I would watch Eat Bulaga while she feeds me my lunch when I was a kid. My lunch therefore lasted the whole Eat Bulaga show. I guess that’s where I got my ka-jologan! Hahaha! Mother should have used a bit more pre-screening! Haha!

  7. Just happened today: Indie was watching TV and Spongebob came on. She got up then covered my sis in law’s eyes! She knows that it’s a no-no!!!!

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