Show of hands: who never lets their under-2 children watch TV?
Now, who only lets their over-2 children watch less than two hours of tv a day?
I didn’t raise my hand either time.
There is a quote going around the internet saying, “your kids won’t remember their best day of TV.” It’s supposed to be motivational, I suppose, but it sounds preachy, judgmental, and guilt-inducing to me.
If you’ve read my posts before, you probably know that one of my biggest sources of mom-guilt involves letting my kids watch television. From the mom-forums online to the daily recommendations by pediatric experts, I feel like I am failing my kids if I let them watch television. I feel like I have to entertain them all the time or they won’t remember all the quality time we spent together. I won’t remember all the quality time spent together.
But here’s the thing. When I look back at my childhood, I absolutely remember watching television… and some of those are my fondest memories. Snuggling up on the couch with my mom watching Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Summer vacation and Saved by the Bell with my older sister. Sabrina the Teenage Witch while eating Bagel Bites with my little sister. On vacation from college, staying up late watching movies with my dad.
While I agree with moderation in television, it doesn’t always deserve the bad rap it gets. Last week, when my husband was on a business trip and my daughter was sick, you bet your butt we had a Paw Patrol marathon. And it took everything in my powers NOT to feel guilty when we hit the third episode in a row.
While I tend to reserve TV time for snuggles or when I’m trying to get myself ready for the day, there is nothing wrong with putting on some Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger at your kid’s request. And while I do aim for less than two hours daily to subdue my mom-guilt, some days I just cave to the tube. And that’s OKAY.
Moms, we’re all doing our best. You know how I know? Because you are on this website, reading this article. You clearly care about your kids. Maybe you are not the type to take your kids outside to play every day (I don’t) and maybe you are not a Pinterest-perfect organized play mom (I’m not). Maybe you let your babes watch two episodes of tv every morning just so you can go get ready and pee in relative peace. Then after naptime, you might put on another show because they wake up like bears. Moms, that’s FINE. Don’t be like me and tirelessly calculate every minute the television is on and try to figure out, “well did they actually WATCH that episode? We weren’t even in the room.”
Oh my goodness, stop. Are your kids happy? Are they fed? Are they interacting with you and others? Do they play and imagine well? Are they polite? Are they learning? Do they know you love them?
Then you’re doing great, Mama. Because whoever said that kids don’t remember their best days of tv, maybe they’re trying to encourage you or give a polite reminder to play with them or maybe they are just being preachy. I don’t know. But I do know that I will never forget watching Castle with my dad, Blue’s Clues and TRL with my sisters, and Winnie the Pooh with my mom. And for the days of TV I have forgotten, well that’s fine, too. I’m happy and kind, pretty social and pretty smart. TV didn’t ruin me or my relationships and an extra episode watching Doc McStuffins won’t hurt my kids.