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August 08, 2007



I thought you would get a kick out of that NPR story. I thought "duh", too and I don't even have kids.

My mom just put me in the playpen with toys and put on some music and I was pretty happy. As a result, I could sing (carry a recognizable tune) before I could talk.


Etienne and I are not TV goers. I haven't owned a TV for 10 years and the only series we've watched are Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, both on DVD or through I Tunes. We were adamantly against having our kids watch TV, until my mom got Gab Baby Einstein- DVDs that could play on our computer. When we saw that he liked it, we justified ourselves by saying 'it's educational'. Then, once that wore off, the free time we enjoyed having because Gab can sit for 2 hours watching TV did not wear off and then it was Dora. Etienne read the articles about kids under the age of 2 not watching TV, we felt guilty about it, but we continued. It was like a good drug.

We are not good parents in that we both really enjoy our own activities and have a very difficult time involving our kids in our activities unless we just don't do our activities at all and focus on their activities. We have been better lately, but at times we've lacked patience. We also don't have a yard, so getting Gab to find and focus on an activity for more than 5 min. without crying for our help is sometimes difficult. We are looking forward for when he and Louise can play together! But, we are also his parents, and we should be there to show him how to be creative in his activities.

About a month ago, we took TV away from Gab all together. He was becoming passive and I really think his sleep pattern was affected by his watching television. It was difficult for a couple days and he walked around aimless, but then we saw a night and day difference. He found activities to occupy his time, he was more active in his communication, he even slept better and longer.

I do admit that this week, when I've had the kids by myself for 6 days straight night and day, I have resorted to a couple Disney movies because I needed to pack for our trip or get something done when Etienne wasn't there to help me but at every other moment (and there were lots of them) when I felt the urge to put on TV just so I could get a couple knitting rows in or actually carry on a phone conversation, I instead picked up the keys and headed out the door to the park or to discover a new place in Paris with the kids.

We have found that Gab loves to walk and can walk for hours discovering things and that is a family activity we can all do together. Also, the Leappad activities are wonderful and educational. Gab got some music CDs for his birthday and those, plus books, are becoming replacements for TV. I am also trying to be better about involving him in my activities like watering the plants. So, even if you aren't the school teacher type to find activities, there are several alternatives out there for your kids to do.

The one good thing about the TV is the language. Growing up bilingual is not always easy and since the DVDs were only in English, it did allow him to pick up on a lot of words he otherwise wouldn't have picked up on. But, it's not for that that we'll go back to TV! Now, it's only for special occasions.


Thanks for sharing your experience Andie. The change in Gab (and you) without television is really interesting. Is Lousie interested in tv?

I think movies are ok every once in awhile. I think it is the regularity that gets dangerous.

It's funny because I am "the school teacher type" when I am in the classroom. I am quick on my feet at coming with creative and spontaneous activities for my students but with Felix I think it is harder because after work I am usually soooo tired. My brain just doesn't want to function anymore and I go into auto-pilot mode. I definitely aim to get more sleep this fall which probably means less time on a computer!


Miss Lous isn't interested at all in TV because we haven't shown her anything! We aren't going to make that mistake with her because it was exactly at her age that we started watching Baby Einstein with Gab. Louise also has other entertainment with Gab around, so that helps.

I can come up with lots of things for the classroom, but for older kids at junior high and high-school. For smaller children, the creativity just isn't there. You've given me lots of great ideas for Gab!


We are getting rid of our TV since Julien and I don't watch it anymore. Max does get fascinated with the "tv" on my computer when I'm watching a movie for myself. I can see he follows the images. But I think I will keep him away from the TV for as long as I can only letting him watch short things like Sesame Street. I hope to be able to get those on DVD because I grew up watching that and I'd like Max to have the same thing.

I am a big support of constructive distraction. Even at this young age, I find ways to distract Max when he's upset or hungry and I'm not in a situation where I can feed him. The silliest things just come to my mind and they work. I love your idea of basket of distractions in the kitchen. I will keep that one filed away to use later. I would love to get Max in the kitchen at a young age and have him help me mix and set the table together. I remember doing those things with my mother when I was young and they are some of the fondest memories I have. And it's a good distraction from the TV. :)

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