Television is a constant source of conflict in our house. Unfortunately most of that conflict is between me and my husband, who aren’t on the same page when it comes to screen-time. He works in TV and grew up in front of it, playing toys while his older siblings watched their choice of films. TV barely features in my own childhood memories, meanwhile; I was always too busy playing on the street.
There are fairly strict parameters around TV time during the week, when I am boss. The 4 year-old watches @40 minutes, mostly after Montessori. The two year-old often, but not always, joins him; he is fairly choosy about what he likes.
The repetoire is also fairly rigid: a rotation of Puffin Rock, Dora The Explorer and Diego!, with the occassional dose of Max and Ruby if I am feeling generous. We will, very rarely, watch a Jackanory or some Barefoot songs after dinner, or a film if someone is sick.
At the weekend, however, the 4-year-old is constantly looking for TV. My husband is a lot more lenient and they will watch various iterations of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, old B-movies from the 60s, Countryfile, David Attenborough. Basically anything my husband fancies watching, the 4-year old is happy to join in.
To give credit where credit is due, my husband is a very active viewer. A cookery show is an oportunity to chat about spices. Time Team becomes a discussion about Ancient Rome, which is often followed up in their table-top games later. I understand the educational role that TV can play. I also appreciate it as an artistic medium (and hope to add some film reviews to the blog soon). But sometimes a Saturday might involve more than 2 hours of TV (rarely consecutive hours, but still). I feel it is too much for a 4-year-old and disasterously habit-forming. I also hate having to deal with the 4-year old’s tantrums when the TV goes off (something often initiated by me).
I would love to know what rules you have at your house when it comes to screen-time. And I would really really love some recommendations for high-quality kids programming, which seems thin on the ground.