Raising Davis: Do our kids watch too much TV?

Davis could spend all day
going from Wizards of
Waverly Place to video games
and then ask to borrow my iPad
for another run at Angry Birds
or Cut the Rope. In our house, we
call all of it “screen time”.

From the time he was wee, the
TV screen mesmerized him. It
is the only thing that he can stay
focused on for long periods of
time. He wiggles around when
we sit to do homework or read
a book. He loves to dance and
sing. When we are at a park or
outside playing he is non-stop
action. But when the TV is on,
this high energy boy looks like he
has been sedated as he becomes
transfixed. It’s one of the reasons
I like watching TV with Davis –
because he slows down enough
for me to steal my cuddles!

We keep the screen time to
under two hours a day during the
week, but weekends are another
story. If the weather isn’t great
and there are plenty of things on
the “to do” list at home, screens
are harder to manage.

He has figured out that if
he gets up early, he can slip
downstairs, turn on the TV
and settle in for some morning
cartoons. Paul and I usually find
him in a sea of plush animals and
blankets watching cartoons by
the time we make it downstairs.
We figure he’s watched about 30
minutes before we even open our
eyes. By the time we eat, shower
and get rolling for the day, he has
added another 30 minutes or so,
or 50 percent of his screen time.

At some point in the weekend,
he will play at least another
hour of video games. The latest
thing for him is Skylanders. If you
have a young boy, you know this
addictive game only too well. He
also reads a website from school
that will add another 30 minutes
of screen time, even though it’s
for school. The weekend has now
added up to more than three
hours a day of screen time.

Many would argue that is way
too much time, but if we loosen
the reigns, he could easily double
it. The truth is, if we were less
flexible, we wouldn’t get as much
done around the house and Davis
would run us ragged. It seems to
work for us for now and we are
thankful that the content of the
TV and video games is harmless
and age-appropriate. I know as
he gets older, Scooby Doo won’t
cut it and this will be a whole
other article.

Meghan Bradley is a full-time sales rep and mother of Davis, 6, and step-mother to Madison and Mackenzy, 15

To read more of Meghan’s Mommy
Diaries, visit raisingdavis.com or
follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2012.

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