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February 28, 2007

WHY PARENTS LOVE TV

Lauren Young

Well, I’m clearly not the only person turning on the TV to keep my toddler son occupied. I just saw an online poll on BabyCenter.com that validates the existence of Dora the Exploder. (That’s what my hubby calls her). Among 6,459 parents who responded to the poll when I last checked, 97% said they use TV or a video to catch a break, and more than half of them do it at least once a day.

The top reasons respondents say they are using TV as a babysitter: Cooking dinner or Housework. It’s not like we are all in the other room watching “Ellen” or “SportsCenter” and eating bonbons. You can vote and check out BabyCenter poll results here:

http://click.babycenter.com/b/?le=7VTe&me=CYe4&pe=8wNqFO&t=1

Although I use TV as a crutch to get me through the morning routine—I often turn it on for my son when I’m in the shower—I still feel guilty about its role in our household. When my son wakes up in the morning, often his first words are: “Watch TB.” (sic) I’m always trying to figure out new ways to distract him from the television. But sometimes it’s just easier to turn it on than argue.

If you fall into this camp, check out an interview I did with an interesting children’s media expert here:

http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/archives/2006/05/kids_tv_the_boo.html

What do you do when Junior is parked in front of the Boob Tube?

01:13 PM

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My 17-month-old son watches the 14 minutes of Sesame Street that Elmo is on (7:40am-8:54am). So far, that's it. It's not so much that I am strict about it; it's the only thing he's ever really been interested in when the TV is on (and he really only watches when Elmo is in the picture, or when babies come onscreen). I'm sure this isn't a scientifically sound, but I kind of believe it's because we have the TV on a lot... with nobody watching. It's kind of like background noise. The habit started because the dog was barking at slight sounds during the day when we were working. The TV muffled sounds and kept her company (I dunno about the second thing, but I'm guessing). So it's just kind of on. And my son's never been interested in it (save for Elmo). I think he sees it as a kind of furniture. It's just there. It's not a novelty, so to speak.

So what do I do for those 14 minutes? I put on my makeup and iron my clothes for work. And, usually, I sit with him and watch for a few minutes.

Posted by: Jennifer at February 28, 2007 01:41 PM


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