{Reader Question} Do you limit the time kids watch TV?

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Kids and TV

Reader Jen asks:  Hi was just wondering if you have a limit on the amount of tv per day your children watch and do you think it affects their behaviour?

This is such a great question Jen.  Yes I do limit the amount of time the kids watch TV, I believe if I didn’t the twins would happily sit in front of it for hours forgetting about the beautiful day outside.  They are drawn to the TV much like this little boy below, tuning out to the world around them.  Whilst Miss 6 isn’t a TV nut, she prefers to play and colour.

image credit unknown

Our TV Routine


The kids are not allowed to watch TV in the mornings before school, this is to ensure they are not rushing their usual morning routine and that we leave for school on time.

After school

I prefer the kids to enjoy time out in the sunshine, either in the pool, the backyard or find something creative to play with inside.  It’s rare for the TV to be turned on during the week, however if it does, homework must be complete and only after they have had a bath, which is usually when I am cooking dinner so it’s on for a maximum of 30 minutes.   

If we aren’t busy on a Friday afternoon, I am more than happy for the kids to relax a little in front of the TV after a long and tiring week.


The kids watch approx an hour of TV in the mornings, usually something they have recorded through the week.  We like to have a family night on Saturday’s, watching a movie or TV show we all enjoy together (at the moment it is Amazing Race).   

Computer Games

Most of the kids homework is based on the computer with tasks needing to be completed weekly.  They spend 30 minutes each, twice a week completing their tasks.  No computer games are allowed to be played, unless it’s in their homework based program.     

While the kids are at their karate lessons, waiting for each others classes to finish they play their Nintendo DS’s, games of their choosing. 

The Nintendo Wii which I also count as TV time, is not to be played during the week.  The girls really have no interest in playing it, however, Mr 8 enjoys his time on it and usually plays for max of 2 hours over the whole weekend.  Sunday afternoons we all sit down together as a family and play Wii Party, this is a really fun time together with plenty of laughter. 

Do you limit the amount of TV your kids watch? 

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Cherie Humphries on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 5:44 AM

My aunty while we were away said a child learns better if they don’t watch tv in the morning before school she watched a program and after done reading at School and could tell the children who had watched tv to the ones they hadn’t she even asked so of them. So after this discussion I have started to limit the 6yr olds tv of a morning

Caroline Falkiner on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 5:57 AM

No tv until weekend

Curly Mum October 18, 2011 - 6:06 AM

I'm not hugely strict, I don't think, but I do limit it as mine would happily sit in front of the TV all day. The TV does not go on in the morning before school, because my daughter will not get ready properly if it does and we will be late. In the evenings they sometimes watch a bit of TV right after school time with a snack (a fruit, bread and butter, or milk and a biscuit if anybody wants to know). We often watch a family show or part of a film on a weekday evening, and finish it the next day. At the weekend the TV goes on less, I think. It is off all day on Sunday as we are always out for the day at relatives' homes. On Saturday it goes on a little bit, usually if I'm feeling tired and want a bit of a slower morning, or sometimes we watch a family film in the afternoon together.
As for video games, my OH plays them all the time, and I do sometimes, so the children sometimes watch and join in where they can, but not very often at all.

Toni Coulstock on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 6:47 AM

TV when ever they want here.

Luella Mageean on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 6:56 AM

I try to limit it to play school morning and afternoon, and something (ie wiggles, taped play school, hi 5) during suicide hour while trying to prepare dinner

Home Life Simplified on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 7:37 AM

i recently wrote a whole post in defense of tv and busting the guilt parents feel about letting kids watch it… i really don’t believe it needs to be restricted in favour of always being productive with their time – kids need to chill out too and they learn, laugh, create etc also via TV and do other things in the balance. I am similar to Toni and pretty much let them self regulate. – Deb (btw different story for babies and under 2s for me, but still not off limits)

Harriet Archer October 18, 2011 - 10:04 AM

There's no formal limit to the amount of televsion that the boys watch at ours. We also have more televisions than people at our house! It doesn't go on at all on a school morning due to the 'shiny' factor. We don't get home until 5.45pm most nights, and by the time they're homeworked, fed and showered, it's virtually bed time. They sometimes have the tv on while they eat dinner, and I try for one telly-free day over the weekend, but I'm generally over-ruled by the bloke when he's home on the weekend. The kids have a Wii, which they play maybe once a fortnight – it's more a wet weather thing at ours; and they do spend some time on the computer together each weekend. They probably watch too much telly, although thinking about it – it might be on, but they're not normally taking any notice of it; and more often than not – if I turn it off or put the radio on, there's only minimal complaints. In fact, the main person to complain if I turn the televison OFF is the Bloke!

Lauren McCusker on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 10:13 AM

I dont mind putting the wiggles on or a kids movie for my son, he won’t sit and watch it anyway…some bits catch his attention but generally its just on in the background while we play. Currently i have terrible morning sickness so the tv has been on a bit more than usual. At least i know hes happy watching a few minutes of a movie while im hugging the toilet bowl.

MamaCurre October 18, 2011 - 12:10 PM

We have the NO TV before or after school rule in our house. Once Miss 8 has gone to bed the older 2 may have the TV on from 7.30 to 8.30 provided homework, jobs and baths are finished. We have just introduced no TV during the day on a weekend. We have family night Saturday which is a movie, each taking turns to choose. The first weekend was very hard, last weekend they found things to do. As it was a miserable weekend they played board games and had a wonderful time. The children have a Wii & Playstation, which only comes out in the holidays between 12 & 2. Sometimes I do think we are to strict, however the harmony in the house is the only reward I need. I was doing reading in Miss 8's class, one boy said Mrs C I wouldn't like to live with you, Miss 8 says she isn't allowed to watch TV during the week. The teacher overheard him, and said to me I wish more families would do this.

Tansy Rocco on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 3:47 PM

we don’t have a TV and my 3yo daughter gets plenty of “downtime”. She reads, plays, hangs out in her cubby, has friends over, tea parties with her toys and sometimes just lays on the lawn and looks at clouds.
She has grown up without one so doesn’t know any different. Occasionally she’ll watch a kids show on the ABC website but thats maybe once or twice a week at most.
Theres no moral or ethical reason for us not having one and others can do whatevers right for their family but we’ve just never wanted to get one…..: )

Tansy Rocco on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 3:49 PM

also, i teach kindergarten and its quite clear in behaviour and attention span which children watch large amounts of TV and which don’t. I don’t think lots of TV (say, more than an hour a day) is particularly good for kids development or attention span.

Nikke Miller on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 4:34 PM

our tv is always on as background noise but my kids are too busy tearing up the house to care..

Home Life Simplified on Facebook October 18, 2011 - 6:24 PM

i don’t see how you can make a blanket statement about which kids watch too much tv by their behaviour in class (way too many factors go into that issue) – my kids do watch a lot and also happen to be among the best behaved children, receive near straight As and have no issues with attention span. you cannot tell TV viewership from behaviour apart from perhaps seeing game play reflecting it (like all the boys running around pretending to be Ben10 – even then they could watch just that show each day) – Deb

Joanne Southwell October 18, 2011 - 6:32 PM

My kids can take or leave television which is fantastic. We don’t really have a schedule where we watch anything regularly.
Sometimes the middle child (4) will watch playschool in the morning after school drop off whilst The Country Boy (a stay at home dad) tackles a few jobs, but it would only be once or twice a week. We are more likely to put a DVD on during the baby’s sleep time on weekends, but even this is not a weekly event.

Becci October 19, 2011 - 5:20 PM

I don’t have school age children, well not young ones, but when our boys are older it will be roughly the same rules.
ABC2 goes on when the kids get up in the morning. I don’t mind them watching that as all the shoes are educational to some point.
I’m lucky that both my littlies are outside boys. So once breakfast is done and they are dressed they are outside (providing the weather is ok).
They’ll watch a bit more when they get up from their sleeps too if they aren’t outside.
We do plenty of other activities too so I am not bothered with how much they watch at this stage.

Tansy Rocco on Facebook October 20, 2011 - 2:03 PM

of course there are a lot of factors but we also know those factors so we take that into account of course.
I think some parents would be surprised at the amount of things teachers can see manifest in their children through simple activities and every day things.
To say “you cannot tell TV viewership from behaviour” seems like an equally “blanket statement.
I’m also surprised at the amount of parents who try to tell teachers about children and behaviour when most teachers spend their working life surrounded by children from all sorts of backgrounds, learning abilities and skill sets. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we are talking about.

Jmefoti October 24, 2011 - 8:30 AM

I have done a fair bit of research in this area as I have foster children who have been bought up by the tv. most educators I have spoken to can tell with marked difference the children who have watched tv before school and those who haven’t with no positive outcomes being listed at all foe children who have watched TV. I have seen huge differences in interest in books and use of imagination between TV and Non TV watchers the latter being more intersted in creativity and an ability to play for longer periods of time without the “I’m bored” statements coming out. We have restricted TV time which also includes non educational computer time as well. The wii is only for standing up type sport games inour house and has to be more than one person playing at a time. We have a vast dvd collection of good old shows to combat the mindless story lines that are apperaing more and more in modern day TV.

kookie October 26, 2011 - 1:10 PM

We do not have TV on before school, the few times I have let them have it on, they dont get ready for school. And after school, homework, tidy up & a good run around outside before I let them turn it on. And again, on those few occasions I have turned on the Telly after school, homework/chores dont get done 🙁
I let them watch a few hours in the morning on a Saturday morning & a movie on Saturday night, but thats it – otherwise they are glued to the set all weekend.
For us, the proof is in the pudding… TV literally hypnotises them and they dont contribute to anything in the household, including communicating with us or each other… I would rather have some rules that they will whinge about (probably until they move out LOL) than allow them to be zombies!

Mummy.KG May 30, 2012 - 10:36 AM

I have a son 2.5years with speech delay, TV and Ipad is used in our therapy. As it gives the child a visual, they hear the word and experience the word. And we talk about what is happening in the show ect. You just need to make it into an education experience for the child/children and when a the shows your child is watching think how is my child going to benefit for watching this.

Samy_savva May 30, 2012 - 10:43 AM

Miss (just turned 4) has all of sudden taken an interest in Television. It only took me a few days to figure out rules were NEEDED. So no TV of a morning during the week however she is allowed to watch it of a morning on weekends (this is also good way to reinstate the days of the week). 

Generally no TV of an afternoon however being pregnant and working part time, getting home and cooking can be a drama so ABC4Kids is allowed on once in a blue moon on weeknights. 

She does LOVE watching movies so she watches maybe a movie a week but this is random and certainly not a given. 

Sally Strang May 30, 2012 - 2:08 PM

My girls (7&10) watch TV on weekends and Friday after school. No TV before school and only occasionally on Mon to Thurs if I allow it… They always ask first and generally on the weekend, they decide after an hour to switch off and go play instead.

Helen al Hariri May 30, 2012 - 2:22 PM

TV rules are a challenge, my 8yo boy is an addict, to all screens things, even if I’m still limiting it to abc2. Generally no tv b4 school, or in pm till after homework etc for him and miss 6 but he gets it all done…. I’m slacker with the 2 preschoolers for days we are home, and miss 2 is an addict too! But I put my foot down sometimes, depends how busy I am to be honest.

Lubna Yasar May 30, 2012 - 2:48 PM

yes my kids are TV worms…but now thanks for useful tip..I will follow wish it will be helpful to me..thanks again

W0111018 May 30, 2012 - 4:46 PM

There is no TV in the mornings in our house.  In the afternoons it is on after they have had afternoon tea and showers.  Miss 4 watches while Mr 8 does his homework.  Then they have a shared session until dinner time.  Usually they are in and out of the TV room and the play room so it is not constant.  I am far more concerned about the content than I am the total amount of time.  Weekends it only goes on at night time – we are generally far too busy to watch during the day.  Our house rule is no electronic games AT ALL during school term – NINTENDO DS, Wii, Playstation etc.  They are only allowed out for school holidays and then we have a timer set for 40 mins.  They are allowed one session in the am and one session in pm only during holidays.  


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