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It's interesting that your list of activities for kids doesn't necessarily involve direct parental supervision. It seems that parents often feel that they only have 2 choices: put the kids in front of the TV or entertain them yourself. If the energy to entertain them is lacking, then the TV goes on. Kids are so overstimulated these days (in fact, adults are too) that they get used to being entertained. I think they get better at finding fun things to do the more space and time they're given. Parents shouldn't feel guilty about leaving kids to their own devices occassionally. They are actually helping them to develop their imaginations and probably their social skills too.

lucy pevensie

You've hit on something very important. We have made an effort not to entertain our kids all the time, but to let them come up with their own creative ideas. At our house, you're not allowed to say, "I'm bored." And I'm amazed at how little I am called upon to generate ideas -- I'm usually just called for supplies and snacks, of course!


I do admit that taking the TV away from children is good... however, I would argue that moderation is better. I have many fond memories of the cartoons I watched as a youngster and the playtime that was inspired directly from these cartoons. I also remember that I found common ground with the other kids at school based on my knowledge of these cartoons. This in turn stimulated friendship and better social skills. And I would argue that this common ground extends all through adolescence. Would it not be better to teach children responsibility with regards to TV, rather then simply not allowing it?


My experience with children who rarely watch tv at home is that they are captivated by one whenever they are somewhere else and it is on. It doesn't matter what's playing on it, they are compelled to watch simply because it's on. I've experienced this myself as a teenager, much to my embarrassment at the time -- I barely had a minute to watch tv, and I'd much rather read, but if I was around a tv, I was sucked into the vortex of mindless entertainment.

Most children easily learn to discern between good tv and bad tv with parental help. There is a lot of good tv, even great tv, out there -- the History Channel is one of my 9-year-old's favorites, it's amazing what they're doing. There is also stuff that's junk and worse than junk, and the discussion of why it's junk and why they can't watch it is incredibly valuable. Even my 5-year-old knows that 98% of Nick and Disney cartoons are off limits here because they portray all adults, parents in particular, as idiots or losers or worse, and I refuse to let such ideas be broadcast through our house.

On the other hand, "Wonder Pets" is completely charming -- even to me, and I'm 43 -- and we all enjoy watching it if we happen to be around when it's on. You don't have to succumb to the completely televised culture, but allowing occasional kid show viewing can be fun -- and very helpful when the little ones are too sick to do anything but lie around.

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