What do your kids watch on TV?

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I am in a bit of a quandary. I feel like I need to let almost 8 year old Big Girl expand her tv viewing choices, whilst balancing the desires of younger brother, and also a need to protect her from some of the stuff that is considered children’s tv but is not what I would like her to watch…

At the moment, we are very firmly stuck on CBeebies with the occasional foray into CBCC or Channel 5’s Milkshake (I cannot bear the almost continual adverts and the pester session of “I want that, I saw it on the TV”, apart from that,  the TV presenters on Milkshake are THE MOST ANNOYINGLY perky people, I have to drink a lot of coffee to prevent me from hurling the remote control at the tv, when we watch it)  and I feel like I have held her back, and that she watches a lot of tv programmes that are probably a bit babyish, partly because it is easier to let her watch stuff with her brother, and partly because I have NO IDEA what is out there, that is suitable for an almost 8 year old to watch. We are very conservative when it comes to TV and what our children watch and what we watch as a family, in terms of movies, and tv programmes but I don’t want her to feel like she is a nerd at school because all her friends are watching something and she isn’t, if that makes sense? I also don’t want her watching tv alone in her room, whilst her brother watches something else, all the time, so finding things they both can watch, but also things she can watch as a special treat, when she has a friend over and they want to watch tv, or when her brother has gone to bed, or for a playdate, are my mission. I feel a bit clueless, frankly. 

So this is an open post, asking for input. How do you balance tv watching between siblings of different ages. What do you let your children watch, at what age. What is appropriate for an 8 year old? What programmes do you enjoy watching with your children, and what do you allow them to watch “unsupervised”? 

Feel free to comment….


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One comment on “What do your kids watch on TV?
  1. Nina says:

    My eldest child’s always been more sensitive to ‘scary’ tv than his younger brother. An example of ‘scary’ = the inexplicably petrifying Highland cattle in Postman Pat! So the boys sort of ‘even out’ in terms of what they feel comfortable watching. Popular common ground at this stage is factual tv eg Deadly 60, Finding Stuff Out, Horrible Histories, Newsround – which i feel are a pretty safe bet to walk away from and not supervise too closely. They’ll often compromise & choose a programme each and if one is not interested in his brother’s choice, he’ll go and does something else until it’s over. I save “free choice tv” (within reason) for when a sibling is out on a play-date or doing homework in another room, at which point we agree a set time of individual activity. I do limit TV time, some days they dont have it at all & it goes off if it’s aimed at a much older group, eg tween-coms which sneak in to programming on generally younger commercial tv stations. I ask them often what they like about what they are watching and what they think they are gaining from it. I think they’ve started to appreciate the difference between useful and ‘mindless’ tv. Having said that, i do let them watch ‘mindless’ stuff sometimes, i think its important for social purposes that they know what Power Rangers are for example… but happily, they do choose other programmes over those after a short exploratory phase. It’s possibly trickier to find common ground with children of different genders? probably once our baby girl (currently too young for the goggle-box) wants to watch Night Garden and her brothers want to watch Star Wars or whatever, I will have to rethink it all again at that point!

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