Winning the battle of the tube

Parents share their secrets for controlling TV


The battle over the television can begin the moment a toddler learns to operate the remote control.

So we asked you to tell us how you control the television, how much TV is too much and which shows are appropriate for your children.

Here’s what you said:

During the school year, my children are allowed to watch TV before school on Monday mornings, provided they are already dressed, have made their bed and are done with their homework. The rest of the the week, the TV is off in the morning.

After school, they are busy doing homework, reading, playing instruments or playing with friends. Their lives are so full that they do not ask to watch TV.

On the weekend, we may watch a video or a few cartoons in the morning (usually on PBS or Nickelodeon), but then the boys are busy with activities again. 

Children enjoy being active and spending time with family and friends much more than vegging in front of the television. High self-esteem and self-worth is not developed in front of the television. Kim of Woodridge mom of Alex, 9, and Greg, 6

Since she can turn on the TV and work the VCR on her own, it’s tough to drag my daughter (not yet 3) away from the tube.

What I like to do is say, “We’ve seen this Arthur/Caillou/Elmo/George Shrinks lots of times before. I’m going to play with your toys.” Then I start playing with her toys—I rev a car, let the cardboard bricks fall, make the animals talk or read aloud to her stuffed panda and dog, and laugh for them and myself.

Sure enough, she comes to see what I’m doing.

When I hear her footsteps, I say, “Oh, but you’re watching TV. If you wanted to come build/play/read with Mommy, you’d have to turn it off.” Nine times out of 10, she does.  Maja of Chicago, mom of Morgan, 3

My children, I have to admit, are television junkies, but the shows they watch are not junk.

I find the programming on Nickelodeon quite appropriate. Their favorite is “Full House.” There is always a moral included in the half-hour show.

As far as cartoons, I restrict viewing to shows such as “Arthur” or classics that I watched as a child, such as “Bullwinkle,” which includes educational messages.

I know it is hard sometimes, but don’t allow the television to babysit the kids. The dishes can wait. Laura of Chicago, mom of Rebecca, 10, and Justin, 7

I totally control the television viewing of my three children. I let them know what they can and cannot watch. They’re very good at listening to me.

The shows I consider appropriate for kids really depend upon the maturity and age of the child.

My 4½-year-old and 8-year-old love Spongebob, George Shrinks and Dragon Tales.

To me, these shows are OK. They teach things to young viewers about sharing, love, and other things without it sounding too fairy-tale-ish.

I also approve of shows that are non-judgmental and that teach reading, math or other skills. Eval of Chicago, mom of Melanie, 8, Amanda, 4, and Donovan, 1


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