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Before I tell you what I have done to minimize this list ofcons in my house, we should take a closer look at what the experts have to sayabout kids and TV, and whether they should have one in their bedroom.
Is TV Bad for Toddlers?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is that children under 18 months avoid all screens, aside from video chatting.
For children 18 to 24 months, they recommend that parentswatch TV with them, and talk to them to help them learn from it.
For children ages 2-5, their recommendation is to limit itto only 1 hour a day and to ensure that it’s a high-quality show.
How Much TV Should A Child Watch?
As for children ages 6 and up, the recommendation is to placeconsistent limits on screen time, but there is no set amount of time theyrecommend.
Instead, they suggest making sure that screen time isn’tinterfering with the child getting enough sleep, physical activity or any otheressentials to health.
They also recommend that there be specific screen-free times,like meals, and spaces, like bedrooms.
Why Shouldn’t Kids Have TVs In Their Room?
The Study “Bedroom Media: One Risk Factor for Development” found that children with screens in their bedrooms are more likely to watch more TV, will be more at risk for obesity, are more likely to be exposed to video game violence and are more at risk of video game addiction.
Does TV Affect Children’s Sleep?
Another issue that may concern parents considering whetheror not to put a TV in their child’s bedroom, is the effect it may have on theirchild’s sleep.
The study “Presleep Activities and Time of Sleep Onset in Children” found that participants who had more screen time in the 90 minutes before bed went to sleep significantly later than those who had less.
Why I Put TV’s In My Kid’s Rooms
While these studies and recommendations may be enough tostop many parents from putting a TV in their kid’s rooms, it didn’t stop me.
First of all, I had no reason to worry about the increasedrisk of video game addiction or them being exposed to more video game violence.We were only putting TV’s in the kid’s rooms for them to watch TV, not for themto play video games.
I also wasn’t worried that watching TV would cause my kidsto go to bed later or that it would cause them to watch more TV.
Watching a show or two before bed has always been part oftheir bedtime routine, and it works for them.
So, what difference would it make if the TV’s they watchedthem on were in their rooms?
When the kids were younger, having them sit on the couchand watch a show gave me the time I needed to finish up the cleaning for thenight. Then once they were in bed, Icould sit and relax.
But at 10 and 12 years old, bedtime started getting later.
Which meant my relaxing time was getting shorter.
That is the reason I decided to finally let my kids haveTV’s in their bedrooms.
Because at 8:00 pm, I am off duty.
Mom is done for the day, and it’s now her time to relax.
So, now, after they have their snack, brush their teeth andget PJ’s on, they go lay in their beds and watch TV.
While they no longer go to sleep at 8:00 pm, they are intheir rooms and quiet, which means I can be in mine with a book or on the couchwatching a show, in peace.
I need my “me time” at night, and if putting TV’s in mykid’s rooms helps me get it, I am fine with that.
It’s not selfish.
And us moms need that.
How We Minimalize the Negative Effects of TVBefore Bed
But what about that con list?
What can we do to minimize any negative effects of having aTV in the kid’s rooms, so we can really enjoy our “me time” in the evenings?
Let’s take another look at that list.
There Will Be Less Interaction Between You andYour Child.
My kids rarely use their bedroom TV’s during the day, andthe odd time they do it is time they would have been spending alone anyways.
We still do movie nights.
They still play in the living room during the day.
We still eat together as a family.
We still spend lots of time interacting with each other.
They still come out of their rooms a dozen times foranother hug/more water/because something hurts at night.
There has been no impact on how often I interact with my kidsfrom having TVs in their rooms.
As long as you place the same limits on the bedroom TV’s asyou would on the living room TV, the amount of time you spend together as afamily will be no different.
It Will Be Harder to Monitor What They’reWatching.
My solution to that was an Amazon Firestick.
It’s easy for the kids to use, and it has parentalcontrols.
You can set it up so it requires a password to download anynew apps, so you know exactly what the kids have access to.
Both kids have Netflix on theirs, and I can easily checktheir viewing history if I want to.
They also both have Disney Plus, and while I can’t checktheir viewing history on that, I know that the content on it is appropriate forthem to watch.
Those are the only two apps I have downloaded for them, soI know exactly what they are watching.
If I wasn’t sure, I could also walk down the hall and opentheir bedroom doors to see.
It May Make It Harder to Enforce Screen TimeLimits.
Again, the Amazon Firestick parental controls take care of this.
Not only do the kids need a password to download any apps,but they also need the password to open any apps.
This means the kids have to ask me if they want to watchNetflix or Disney Plus.
They don’t get unlimited access to the TV just because it’sin their rooms.
When it’s time for them to go to bed, just like if theywere watching TV in the living room, I turn the TV off and I tuck them in.
Since they can’t watch TV without the password, I have no worries about them trying to turn it back on and sneaking in another episode after bedtime.
Even if we didn’t have parental controls on the Firesticks, I could always cut off their screen times by plugging their TVs into a Smart Plug and telling Alexa to turn their TVs off.
They Could Get into The Habit of Falling Asleepto The TV.
This was actually my biggest concern, and the reason I keptTV’s out of their bedrooms for so long.
I don’t want my kids to NEED TV to fall asleep.
So, I make sure that I know how tired they are when they goto their rooms.
If it was an early morning and I know that they aren’tgoing to make it to the end of a 30-minute show, we skip on the TV for thenight and they go right to sleep.
Just like we would if they were watching TV in the living room.
Watching TV Before Bed May Make It Harder forThem to Fall Asleep.
I didn’t anticipate that this would be a problem for eitherof my kids since they already were used to watching TV before bed.
But for some reason being closer to the TV did affect BigSis.
The second night of having the TV in her room she wascompletely wound up after watching her shows and it took her a lot longer tofall asleep than it normally would.
But, before I took the TV out of her room, I decided to give those blue light glasses a try.
The study, “Blue Blocker Glasses as A Countermeasure for Alerting Effects of Evening Light-Emitting Diode Screen Exposure in Male Teenagers” showed that these blue light blocking glasses can lessen the impact that using LED screens before bed has on our ability to fall asleep.
I also put a salt lamp in her bedroom to help keep her relaxed.
Both of these worked.
While I was skeptical about the blue light glasses, theyhave been so effective for Big Sis, I ended up buying a pair for all of us towear in the evenings.
6 months later, we haven’t had any problems with having TVin the kid’s rooms.
Neither of them watches any more TV than they did before.
They still go to sleep good.
And I get my free time.
Most nights the kids are done their bedtime routine and arewatching a show by 7:30.
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Not only did I get to keep my free time in the evenings,but I gained an extra half hour of quiet time to finish cleaning.
TV in the kid’s rooms = more self-care time for mom.
And that benefits all of us.
Are there any other pros or cons you can thinkof for TV in kids’ rooms? Do you allowit in your house? What age shouldchildren have TV’s in the bedroom?
Let me know on my Facebook post, and don’t forget to follow me for more posts on peaceful parenting to see what else I learn on my journey to live a healthier and happier life.