April 6, 2012

On TV

There was a time when I watched a lot of TV. I actually grew up with a television in my room (gasp!), although it was just a tiny black and white model with a dial and I didn't watch it that much. Still the idea of TV was very natural to me and I often had it on in the background while I worked or studied during college and grad school.

In architecture school most of my friends were too cool for TV, preferring to spend their little free time reading yet more about architecture while indulging in copious quantities of coffee and cigarettes. When I first met Big Smith and learned that not only did he have a few interests outside of architecture (seeing live music, enjoying the outdoors...) but he also had cable, I knew he was the man for me!

These days though we don't watch much TV. I actually often find it grating to hear it buzzing even in the background. I refuse to upgrade to a flat screen so we still have a two thousand pound unit that I bought a decade ago, and I like being able to keep it in a cabinet so that I can pretend it doesn't exist. I guess I've kind of turned my back on the my old pal TV.


There are shows though that make me happy to play couch potato for a while, right now the top of my list is Mad Men. How I love that show! The clothes, the sets, the cars... why can't we all just live in the 1960s forever?! (well... I mean with better vegetarian options and equal rights and all). I'm also a fan of Breaking Bad and Portlandia and sometimes I just want to indulge in terrible Bravo shows or cooking programs. Zoning out in front of the television cuddled up with the husband can be a great end to a long day.

So I feel like TV is good for me in moderation, but I'm still on the fence when it comes to Little Smith. So far he hasn't watched any television... none. I know it can sound pretentious when I say I don't let my kid watch TV. It's just never on during the day so it doesn't occur to me and he doesn't seem to miss it, although I am noticing that he's the only kid in his little playgroup without a crush on Elmo. I know a few mom's who are completely against letting their kid's eyes glance at a screen and others who prop up their iPhone in front of their kids for every meal. I do think whatever works for you is probably just fine... no judgment!


I'm just not sure where I am going to fall on this one. Yesterday we actually watched Fraggle Rock for about 20 minutes from Netflix on my phone for the first time. Little S was definitely into it, although he did want to pace around and watch from different angles the whole time. My cousin swears her very smarty-pants six year old got so smart from all of the educational programs she watches... but there's still part of me that wants to resist exposing my little guy to all the programming and marketing and flashing lights and colors, even if he's a bit slower with words or counting because of it. We'll probably land somewhere in the middle eventually, but I'm kind of enjoying not hearing the sound of some of those (annoying?) kid's programs for just a little longer.

13 comments:

  1. This is a tough one for sure. We fall in the 'balance in all things' category when it comes to television, but I am much more discerning in the presence of our little guy. I'm pretty anti-commercialized kids shows (yeah, I know how pretentious that sounds) as it seems to teach children to love tv and character products instead of actually teaching them anything, but I digress. As always everyone has to do what works for their family, but so far keeping the television to a minimum has worked well for us. I can't see us completely ditching it as we also love our AMC, HBO, and the occassional Bravo show.

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  2. Yeah, definitely a tough one.. I think in moderation it can be good.. the overload of technology today scares me and it REALLY scares me for my future children. I definitely will be on the conservative side when it comes to the amount of time spent with technology!

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  3. We have a love/hate relationship with tv around here. We do let the littles watch a bit every day, but keep it to pbs. I know, tv is tv. I myself love tv, especially mad men! So glad it's back on!

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  4. Mad men! I haven't watched a single episode but for the style and everything, I've vowed to catch up on all past seasons and get into it :) As for tv for the little one, she doesn't watch much except on the rare occasion we have people over watching a game, mostly football. So really, the only thing she watches is sports.

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  5. I think this happens to all families.
    We used to use the TV ads to feed the kids. Well they used to sit mesmerised looking at the ads and that was the time when we used to do the feeding.
    Not a good idea but that was it.
    First time here :-)

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  6. We have a television, but no commercial or cable TV signal. Westley's screen entertainment comes from Netflix and DVDs—and it's wonderful!

    In terms of "annoying kids' shows," here's my recommendation as a former filmmaker and current parent: don't put something on for your kid that you can't stand (even if it's ostensibly "good for him")! YOU should also enjoy the TV your child watches, or at least believe it's good quality. Yes, there will come a time when he goes to school and learns all about things you weren't ever planning on introducing him to, but in the meantime, you have total control of the media that comes into your home!

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  7. You will find what works best for you and your son eventually. When my kids were about this age, I had TV in the kitchen and in the living room. My previous job in Europe required me to watch TV constantly to be aware of what's going on and be on top of things. Over the years I developed a skill of multitasking, while playing with kids, I also absorbed information from the TV. I don't think it effected them too much, for them it was just a background for all the games we played and books we read. But we had one strict rule: no TV while eating. Now we don't watch TV at all, we don't even have a cable. All we have is Netflix live streaming. And I can see what kids are watching: mostly Discovery, History and Travel documentaries. Son also loves science and technology. Good luck! And happy weekend!

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  8. I was firmly in the No Television For Children category - until I had kids. And needed a babysitter while I made dinner. It's crappy, but it's the truth. Sometimes there just isn't enough of me to go around, and putting some Yo Gabba Gabba on for them while I make dinner makes things a lot less stressy for me, which ultimately means that I am a lot less snappy and weepy.

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  9. We have not owned a television for nearly 8 years now, so we don't even miss it. But when people come to visit us, man oh man do they notice! Like for Thanksgiving when my brother was all HOW AM I GOING TO WATCH THE GAME!!!! but there are other ways now. Andrew and I watch a show nearly every night after the kids go to bed (on one of our laptops) and I occasionally let the kids watch Sesame Street online while I am in the shower. But what I've noticed is that the more screen time they have, the more whiney they become. Hm. All in moderation.

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  10. i think at the end of the day it depends on how much tv they watch and what they watch. i get to the point that after being up since 6.30am and it's 5.30pm and olive hasn't had an afternoon nap, the tv goes on for 1/2 hour and we watch appropriate for her age kids' tv. it's mostly for my sanity, but i don't think it can really harm her (i hope!) moderation is the key.

    i've never watched mad men, but have wanted to very much. i've also just started watching breaking bad and really am enjoying it.

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  11. some days tv is what makes dinner making possible. others things flow and we dont need the distraction.
    would watch fraggle rock anytime though! x ashley

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  12. Ahh! We love Mad Men and Breaking Bad over here too! We do it all via Netflix though because we swear we'll never get cable. BUT, I have let and do let my boys watch certain shows - especially when I plain and simple just need a break. I grew up with almost no t.v. (we didn't even have one for a while) and my husband grew up with all the t.v. he ever wanted so I'm hoping our dudes will land somewhere in the middle too. ;)

    xo
    cortnie

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  13. Thanks so much everyone for your great comments! It's so helpful to hear what works for everyone else as we find a balance for what works here.

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