It's hard to keep a child completely away from a TV, but how long is it OK for your toddler to sit there watching? Our mums reveal their child's TV habits...
How long should your child watch TV for?
"TV is fine in short bursts," says health visitor Annette Maloney. "For pre-schoolers, 20 minutes to 30 minutes at a time, once or twice a day, is about right."
"Using TV to give children a little rest time is fine, but don't have it on most of the day. It can be useful to defuse difficult times of the day, such as if they’re fractious or waiting for dinner! However, toddlers will benefit the most if you watch with them, and involve them in chats about what they’re seeing," explains Annette.
So that's the expert view. We asked you for your opinions on toddler television watching...
"Kids under 4 should be allowed a maximum of two hours of TV a day. It should be educational, as their brains are like sponges. At this age, they need to be kept occupied physically and mentally, and TV is hardly going to do that for them."
Carlene, 36, mum to Kyran, 2
"I don't like my son watching much TV – he can learn more from real life, plus all the bright images and loud noises can be a bit over stimulating."
Lauren, 39, mum to Eddie, 14 months
"If you take TV away from children completely, it could make them want to watch it more later in life!"
Bethany, 34, mum to Euan, 17 months
"My 5 month old loves watching the colours and movement of TV shows and listening to the music. But children shouldn’t be left to sit in front of the box for long periods."
Sharon, 41, mum to Jake, 13, Lizzie, 7, and Rachel, 5 months
"I don't think there’s anything wrong with letting your tot watch a bit of TV. The only way I can sneak to the toilet without my 11 month old crying because I've left her is by sitting her in front of CBeebies!"
Colette, 24, mum to Heather, 11 months
"My daughter and I watch Fifi and the Flower Tots once a day, but I think it's also important that she learns to entertain herself with toys. With an equal balance you can't go wrong."
Loretta, 25, mum to Jemima, 5 months
"I don’t know what all the fuss is about – television is a part of our culture and there’s loads of good stuff on it. It comes in handy for keeping the kids entertained while I’m getting lunch or dinner ready. After all, mums need a break, too!"
Theresa, 28, mum to Jamie, 5, and Roisin, 17 months
"My son, Baxter, watches DVDs rather than the television. Because I can control what he’s viewing, he’s not exposed to all the TV adverts. Plus, we can put it on pause, and the learning elements in the stories can be watched repeatedly."
Angela, 47, mum to Charlie, 29, Kate, 20, and Baxter, 4
"For toddlers, it should be half an hour per day maximum, but as I’m suffering from severe morning sickness I have to say that’s gone out the window! I’m at home with my 23 month old, and CBeebies has been my saviour, as I’m struggling to do things with him. However, I’ve noticed a marked difference in his behaviour, and will be returning to little or no TV when I'm able to."
Karen, 31, mum to Scott, 23 months
well my two are screwed then!
My tvs never off, i cant bear the quiet when im home alone with them, bad mummy!
The only thing that cools off lolas clingyness or a bad mood is mickey mouse club house, jack loves it too.
But if im leaving it on for background its babytv or cbeebies, depending on whos up.
Clearly im a terrible mother, but jack rarely stops to watch it and plays happily, f he stops to watch big cook or me2 maybe balamory hell curl up with me and chat about it, theyre not tv addicts because i like having it on instead of silence and theyre both developing just fine!!!
We have tv on all day.They don't sit in front of it,they pick and choose what they want to watch.They regulate their own telly.My children have the freedom to choose what they do with their time.They are just children.Often it's on in one room,and they're busy playing somewhere else.
Hasn't done any of my kids any harm.I have a ten year old who taught himself to read numbers by 2,and paperbacks at 5.He's also described by his teacher as a human calculator.I have a year 3 daughter doing year 5 and 6 work at school.My 6 year old is currently reading The Secret Garden,again without the school's help.My 2 1/2 year old could count to ten at 17 months,she now reads the alphabet.
TV is a part of their lives.They love Peppa Pig,Iggle Piggle,Upsy Daisy.
Yes the TV is a sort of babysitter.If I have a job needs doing a clingy child is happy with her telly friends.We do watch the adverts,sometimes they ask for things,doesn't mean they get them.
I've got no problem keeping the tv on i do have to have it off some of the time though only so much cbeebies i can take but thanks to it i can sometimes get jobs done around the house, and it has helped dan's speech, but he doesn't watch it constantly he plays with his toys or in the garden. i don't see what the big deal is about kids watching tv provided they are getting outside and haing a good run about as well
i feel TV is essential for getting stuff done,my boys are a bit like Jo's they play with toys when it's on,in fact they don't actually sit and stare at it for more than 5 mins,they find something else to do.
They have the freedom to watch or ignore,and that DOES NOT make you a bad parent,it makes you a multi-tasking practical parent!
Also TV can be handy for help with colours numbers etc......
The minute they have a nap or go to bed,it's off-replaced by stereo!!!! Love my music more than TV !!!!!
jack only stops to watch when my laps free, and its something he likes.
i dont turn the tv off i just switch over for music, too lazy to get up and mess around sorting cds, by the time im done choosing one would be awake!
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