The TV experiment…

Do you worry about the amount of tv your children are watching?

We got stuck in a bit of a rut over the summer. Both boys were watching too much tv and ended up arguing on a daily basis over whose turn it was to watch what.

It’s predominantly our fault really for letting it get to that stage but they are very spoilt with “on-demand” tv. We have TiVo with Virgin, Netflix AND Amazon Fire TV. Quite simply there is just too much choice!

Mr H and I decided to conduct a little experiment. With E being back at school and M now in nursery two mornings a week we started consciously limiting the amount of tv the boys were watching.

We don’t tend to put the tv on in the mornings during the week as we are always rushing to get breakfast into them and then out the door for the school run. The tv would be switched on after school so I could get on with preparing the boys dinner. It would be switched off at dinner time but then be back on again until it was time for bath and bedtime. This would mean around 3 hours or so of TV a day. (Obviously, they were not glued to the tv this whole time but it was on in the background and they were forever asking me to change the channel)

For the last few weeks, however, I’ve not switched the tv on when we got in from the school run and the boys have happily got on with playing with their toys or reading books.

Most surprisingly they have not asked for the tv to be switched on either. I was amazed!!!

It’s meant they have actually enjoyed playing together and have not argued half as much.

We have now successfully reduced their tv watching (during the week) to an hour each evening and we only have the tv on when dinner is finished and E has done his reading and homework. I cannot tell you how much more productive this has made them both.

The TV experiment is here to stay.

Do you limit how much tv your child watches?


  1. Cardiff Mummy Says

    Good to hear the TV experiment has worked so well for you. My children don’t watch a great deal of TV to be honest. Like you say, if you don’t switch it on, they just get on with other things on their own accord. Although sometimes I will direct them towards an activity. Today after school, I suggested we made flapjacks, or I might leave out particular games so they see it when they get home from school and they think it’s their idea to play with it. That said, there are some days I am so grateful to be able to put the telly on for them – if they’re overtired or fighting with each other etc it is a lifesaver!! #brilliantblogposts

  2. Joanna McCaffrey

    Well done for having the courage to cut the cord! My boy is only two, but from the beginning I have consciously avoided putting on the TV. We only ever watch things if I’m unable to look after him – really unwell (only happened a couple of times) or too shattered because of pregnancy (only a handful of times). It terrifies me to see him mesmerized and lost to the world when he is watching.
    One of the reasons I have decided to adopt no screen rule is my childhood friend. They were only allowed to watch TV if they told their parents what and why they wanted to watch, so we are not talking cartoons. All three kids in that family have lots of interests and are able to keep themselves productively busy. Unlike most of their TV addicted peers.

    • That’s great Joanna – I think your approach is really interesting. For me, I think everything in moderation. I wouldn’t stop them from watching TV altogether as I do think they learn and pick up things from TV (age approporiate of course) I have a friend who never let their child watch tv when they were younger and now whenever TV comes on they are mesmerised and you can’t take him away from it! x

  3. We need to implement this in our house 🙂 we’ve started having CBeebies on as background noise almost and apart from it being a bad habit, I’m sick to death of Mike the Knight being on repeat in my head! Mim x #brilliantblogposts

    • Ahh Mike the Knight!! I always seem to have Twirlywoos in my head!!! I think that was our main problem though Mim – it ended up just being on in the background alot of the time and there really was no need for it!

  4. Nat/Unexpectant M...

    I think it’s really interesting actually that often TV is a habit rather than something kids particularly want. If I turn the TV off Oliver isn’t bothered at all, I think it’s just because I grew up so used to it. He will often just find other things to do, but for some reason *I* rely on it way too much. I need to start switching off more often!

    • I completely agree Nat – it is something that becomes a habit. I have to say we do relax this a little more on the weekends but we usually try and watch something together as a family x

  5. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    We have the TV on a bit too much, often just so that I can get something done. But, I do find if I don’t switch it on, they all find something to do really quickly! #brilliantblogposts

  6. We said we weren’t going to do tv, except educational things like baby sign, until much older, but we have ended up with it on & toddler loves it, so we watch too much. Though they are always running around playing at same time, not just sitting watching. We do turn tv off an hour before bed though so the blue light isn’t damaging quality of sleep. We should try to cut down. #KCACOLS

    • I think the difference for me is that because I have two boys that now play together they also have each other to distract themselves. I can see this would be much harder if you have a toddler and a baby! x

  7. Just testing the comments

  8. We had the same issue at home. We used to have the TV on all the time and it was a lot of the time just as a background. About 4 months ago I literally stopped switching on the tv and my girls didn’t even care at all. They just carry on playing with their toys. Bella (5 years old) used to be in front of the TV 24/7! It was too much so now I’m happy that she doesn’t need it anymore. Although now, we have a different problem: her Ipad and youtube videos!!! Let’s hope we can change that too. Thanks so much Maria for linking up with me at #KCACOLS and I hope you join me again next Sunday!! 🙂 xx

  9. mommyslittleprincesses

    That’s fantastic! I really need to switch team tv off at meal times maybe my girls would actually eat instead of taking around five minutes to put the next fork full of food in their mouths. Xx

  10. The only time my two watch television is if it’s pouring with rain outside, or we’re watching a film as a family. This sin’t me being strict or limiting it lol they just aren’t that bothered about it, and most of the time they’re outside playing and I only see them for meals. They have so many friends on our street that they’d much rather be out riding their bikes etc with them which I love, but of course its because they’re older and can go off on their own a little 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

  11. Helen WonderfullyAverage

    I always feel guilty about how much TV my little boy watches. He knows that he gets to watch Thomas after breakfast so goes, “choo-choo” to let me know he’s finished eating (he’s 18 months, it’s actually pretty cute). I definitely try to limit it the rest of the time though, I only let him watch more TV if he’s really tired late afternoon. He has picked up a few signs from watching Mr Tumble (he’s a little slow with his speech) so it’s not all bad 🙂 It sounds like your experiment worked well with your boys #KCACOLS

    • TV has been great for my boys to learn about the world – I don’t think you can go wrong with Cbeebies! Over the summer though they were definitely watching too many cartoons etc and we needed to nip it in the bud!

  12. After reading this before I attempted to cut down on our tv watching – let’s just say I was very unpopular very quickly and it didn’t last long 🙁 I’ll keep trying! Mim x #ParentingPicks

    • Oh Mim – I think its much harder to do when you have a toddler and a baby as toddler can’t play with baby yet! My boys play together and come up with all sorts of games when the TV isn’t on! I’m sure it’ll work once baby is older x

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *