17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


It stands for MOTHERS FOR TV. I don’t need a nanny. I have the television. Dr. Phil says toddlers should be limited to 90 minutes a day. I found this to be somewhat liberal compared to what some “experts” say about toddlers and the amount of tv they should view. According to one website, children under 2 should watch no television at all.

My first daughter, on her first Christmas received the Jay Jay the Jetplane action-figure set (even though they were for age 3 and up, I HAVE improved on giving toys that are AGE appropriate). This is because she loved the program, Jay Jay the Jetplane. Starting at 6 months, I would plop her on her blanket in front of that or other equally educational programs so that I could have some alone time. I also thought this time promoted independence for her. She would tune in and out of her show and play with her toys alone. This half hour or hour of entertainment would allow me to cook or clean or relax without her.

Then it got a little more intense. I worked in an off-broadway show for about 7 weeks or so. It meant late nights every night but Monday, and my baby liked to wake up early. I would “wake up” enough to change her diaper and give her breakfast, and then I would let her watch the Wiggles, twice (this was a DVD). This would allow me about 1 hour and 45 minutes of sleeping on the couch. She was 12 months old.

After that, when she was about 16 months old I contracted viral meningitis. After a week of quarantine in the hospital-not sure exactly WHO was taking care of her….I was home, couch/bed-ridden for another 4 weeks. During those 4 weeks I think my daughter was invited on about 3 playdates, the rest of the time, it was the two of us, and guess who watched her? Yup…Noggin. It is a commercial-free cable station that plays non-stop favorites from 6 am to 6 pm. The TV stayed on ALL DAY. This is the ONLY way I would have gotten through this very difficult time.

Now I have become more aware of tv-viewing as I have learned how impressionable she is. I try to avoid stations with commercials, so that I can avoid the “I wants”. Daughter #2 is almost 9 months old and shows little to no interest in the television.

However, I am in general not opposed to television; after all, my daughter has learned a lot from tv:

• Sign language for the word Turtle
• Armadillos like to dig
• The melody from the 3rd movement of Dvorak’s “Symphony for the new world”
• Spanish words: Rojo, Verde, Azul, Hola, Adios, etc.
• About Soccer
• Chinchillas
• Animals in general (I am NOT an animal person….and would not think of introducing animals to my daughter, unless they are on her dinner plate)
• Hanukkah
• Elephants eat peanuts (though I am not sure if this is true)
• Greek Gods
• Bert’s favorite food is oatmeal
• Running is a form of exercise

And the list goes on. Nowadays I am requiring that my daughter “earn” her tv time by first reading a large stack of books. The first time I tried this I said she had to get through as many as she could by the time the timer dinged (I set it for 22 minutes—nothing scientific behind that). When the timer went off she was actually disappointed and proceeded to finish her entire pile, making her total reading time over an hour. I don’t think that television-viewing has had a negative impact on my child. It has opened her mind to subjects that might not have entered yet, challenged her brain, sculpted her imagination, and still she loves to read, pretend, sing, and socialize. I am the new president of MFTV.

My fave TV shows/DVDS:

Max and Ruby: Some people can’t stand Ruby’s voice…I LOVE IT.
Boobah: Ladies, it will hypnotize your child
Elmo’s Happy Holidays: It is Elmo’s world, Super-sized!
Wiggles, Wiggly Safari: The crocodile hunter and his family are featured, so cute.
Disney Princess Sing-alongs: The best of the Disney princess movies, let’s face it, if you have a toddler girl, you know about the Disney princesses.
Eebee’s Adventures: The newest in infant videos….made for babies, toddlers love it too, and it encourages interactive play between them.


  • Totally agree!

    I love that book idea...I think I might have to try that one today...
    Thanks for the idea!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 1/17/2006 06:12:00 AM  

  • I would like to become a charter memer of MFTV - I'm all for it as well. Simon has learned Spanish from Dora, knows the name of practically every animal on the planet, that "allegro" means fast and "legato" slow (thank you Little Einsteins), was counting to 15 and saying the whole alphabet shortly after turning 2, and who can I give props to? Well, a chunk of it goes to TV viewing. Yes, we worked with him on all of the above but these skills and ideas were REINFORCED by good TV viewing. He only ever watches Noggin (if you haven't discovered it go forth and find) and select shows from Sprout, so he really hasn't seen most of the objectionable garbage that invades TV.

    I too am finding ways to cut down on the TV viewing, and I love Kages book idea - I'm going to try that this week.

    I work from home and have to be very concious of the amount of time during the day that the TV is on. Great post - thanks for making all of us think.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 1/17/2006 08:15:00 AM  

  • Ruby, despite her annoying voice, will build your children's vocabulary. My 3yo told me the other night that our dinner was "delectable." When asked where she got such a word, she proudly replied, "Max and Ruby!"
    posted by Blogger ShelahBooksIt at 1/17/2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • Oh! OoooH! OOOOOH! Can I be a member too???

    I'm in the same boat with y'all. The guilt I feel every time some righteous anti-tv study comes out is palpable. But the fact is, in our home, Noggin and Sprout reign supreme. The no-commercials thing really helps me feel like it's not SO bad- and we too have multi-lingual, symphonically tuned kids because of it!

    (Four-year-old asked me the other day if I was driving allegro or legato!)

    I'll third the book idea though- Jeffrey may be earning more of his tv time with reading now...
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 1/17/2006 12:19:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Languatron at 1/17/2006 12:53:00 PM  

  • Wow - you've only been in business for a few weeks, and you've already drawn the attention of one of the nacles most unique trolls. Not bad.
    posted by Blogger Kaimi at 1/17/2006 01:12:00 PM  

  • Yikes. Languatron, you might want to take your rantings elsewhere.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 1/17/2006 01:25:00 PM  

  • Well, having never had cable ect we have never gotten TV channels (since we've had kids) and Nephi is 4 and we own probablly 5 kids dvds. Nephi loves books on tape though (expecially the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne) and that is when I can have some down time because he is captivated by listening to the book. Also he and Anwen play independantly and together quite well and that makes it easier for me to get stuff done too.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 1/17/2006 03:00:00 PM  

  • Just to make sure you don't think I am a goody two shoes though, I agree that there are a lot of great kids shows. We just got Nephi the Leap frog dvd about letters and words and he learned all his phonics in about a week. He also has some german cartoons and is really picking up german.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 1/17/2006 03:05:00 PM  

  • I stopped feeling bad about kid TV programming when I was sick with pregnancy #2 and I realized that a)my two-year old daughter was much, much happier watching TV than unsuccessfully trying to get me to play with her in a lively manner, and b) I was much happier, too. It was a good temporary solution.

    And you know what? That girl is now 8 years old. She's survived just fine, is creative, athletic, and loves to read. She still loves TV, but doesn't usually have much time to watch anymore, so now it's an occasional treat (school, homework, basketball and friends fill most of her waking hours).

    I only wish I could get my two year old boy hooked (he will watch Dora the Explorer or Here Come the ABCs, but only five minutes at a time).
    posted by Blogger Allison at 1/17/2006 03:12:00 PM  

  • ...Tracy M, what is Sprout?
    posted by Blogger Allison at 1/17/2006 03:13:00 PM  

  • Sprout is PBS programming for kids 24 hrs/day, instead of just the mornings. I'm not sure if it's available everywhere yet, but I love being able to put on Sesame Street or Bob the Builder when I am trying to get dinner ready- it's a good thing.
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 1/17/2006 03:46:00 PM  

  • In the NYc area the similar station is Kids13 which is channel 714 on Time Warner Cable in NYC. Daughter #1 just finished Bob the Builder and it is 7 pm EST
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/17/2006 04:01:00 PM  

  • For a family that technically has no TV, Jacob knows a surprising amount about television shows. We spend a lot of time at Grandmas, with her digital cable and 700 plus channels. She even gets Sprout ON DEMAND. Yeah, it's intense.

    Still, even though I do let Jacob watch more TV than he should, I do agree that TV should be handled carefully, and all of the benefits that were mentioned from the TV could be equally gained from a good book, and some time spent googling some interesting subjects.

    Of course, that would mean that you would have to actually be involved in the whole process, which is pretty much impossible when you are puking and sick, etc, etc. TV can be a life saver, no doubt, but I still think it has to be handled very, very carefully.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 1/17/2006 04:47:00 PM  

  • My grandchildren love Baby Einstein.
    posted by Blogger annegb at 1/17/2006 06:29:00 PM  

  • Heather,

    For a family that technically has no TV, Jacob sure seemed to be watching a lot of Scooby Doo a few weekends back! :)

    (It's amazing how much wiggle room that word "technically" gives you. Technically, I'm not blogging right now. Technically, I'm rich and famous, and Angelina Jolie keeps asking me on dates. Oh, and technically, I'm not awake at 1 a.m. looking at a blog, rather than finishing up my Powerpoint slides that I have to have ready for class _tomorrow_. Err, today, that is.)
    posted by Blogger Kaimi at 1/18/2006 12:39:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Languatron at 1/18/2006 01:35:00 PM  

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