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What’s On My Mind Monday #Daycare and TV?

Well, I delayed writing this today because I didn’t really have one specific thing on my mind and I had no idea what to write about. That all changed about 10 minutes ago. I have a lot to say now.

The daycare that we send LA to while we are working has a webcam that we can log online and look at when he’s there. I love this feature and since I’m telling the truth here, that’s the primary reason we have him there so we can check on him when we want to. Well, I just logged on a little while ago and saw the workers putting him and the other toddlers in chairs (ones that they can’t get out of). Next, they walk over to a TV and turned it on and then turned the lights off. WHAT????  Are you kidding me?? My son is 15 months old!!! He should not be watching TV. And in the dark???

First, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch TV at all. Second, if I want him to watch TV at home, that’s another story (although I don’t – but just saying, that’s a parent’s choice). He should not be watching TV at a daycare center that I pay to watch him. I am not paying a TV to watch him. I am paying the people. They need to be singing songs with him, teaching him, playing with him, making sure he’s fed and hydrated and his diapers are clean. Not allowing him to watch TV. I am beyond furious right now.

So, I called and talked to the director of the center. I asked her if they were watching TV (just in case I was crazy, since the TV wasn’t in full view on the cam). She admitted they were, I told her that the AAP doesn’t recommend it and as a parent I don’t feel it’s appropriate for his day care provider to allow it and asked her to remove him from the room. I could tell she got nervous and told me it’s wasn’t a problem and stuttered and thanked me for calling, etc. When she hung up, I continued watching on the cam and saw the lights go on rather quickly, the TV being turned off and the children being taken out of the seats so they could walk around and play.

UPDATE – 30 minutes later, I try to log in again and the website is down. How convenient???? So angry with them. 

Am I crazy in thinking that the daycare I trust my 15 month old with shouldn’t be letting him watch TV??  What are your thoughts on this? 

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  1. Eco Baby Mama Drama says:

    I am BEYOND p-o ed at this! If I lived by you I would be driving to pick LA up right now for you and taking him home with me! Grrr!!! UNACCEPTABLE

  2. Latoya @ The Scott's Crib says:

    I agree! Daycare providers charge way to much to sit a child in front of the television. If the need a break they best take that break during their designated nap times, otherwise they better treat the kids like royalty!

  3. Hmm. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the daycare to force them to watch tv. It’s one thing to put a movie in and ask the kids to come watch and what they were doing. I agree that the daycare shouldn’t be making them watch tv, and should ask the parents how they feel about such a controversial thing before doing it. I give the center props for rectifying the situation immediately, but would still be a little Leary. I’d also want to know what kind of a schedule they have going in writing so when u check in on the web cam u have an idea of what they should be doing.

  4. We let our 3 yr old to watch parts of Sesame Street in the morning and that’s it. If our 10 mo old is awake too, the TV goes off. My husband is a lot more lenient than I am and will occasionally stretch TV time.
    Right now, my oldest stays with my mom and the youngest comes with me to work because we are struggling to find a daycare. I really wanted to send my son to our local Montessori preschool and daycare. The cost was a lot higher than regular preschool and daycare, but I really liked a lot of the things they offered. When we went to visit, the teacher told me that they turn the TV on every day at 3:30, to help the kids “wind down before you pick them up.” WHAT?!? I wouldn’t be picking my son up until 5:30, so that would mean 2 hours of TV. I can understand a short interactive video occasionally, but this floored me.
    We visited another day care that left the TV on all day. It wasn’t on PBS or Sprout or even Nick Jr, but regular Nickelodeon! When I asked her about it, she told me most kids won’t just sit there and watch it all day. She leaves it on for background noise. Apparently, twelve kids don’t make enough noise?
    My sister pulled her kids from the local parents day out program because they turned on the TV. She called the director and expressed her concerns. Couldn’t they come up with enough activities to fill 2-3 hours without TV? No one understood why she was upset. It’s sad that TV seems to be becoming socially accepted form of babysitting.

  5. Jen@thecraftingfiend says:

    I would be beyond angry at a place I pay to watch my child is sitting them in chairs to watch tv. I could see 1/2 hour of it being on but the kids still playing, but to put them in chairs they are stuck in to “watch” tv. crazy and terrible. Are you going to keep him in that daycare?

  6. oh heck no! I felt similarly last year when I would pick up DS and the class would be watching TV. He can watch TV at home for free! Besides the point though b/c it’s just not OK to put little ones in chairs and literally require they watch TV. Yuck.

  7. Melinda C says:

    I’d be really mad about this too. I’m currently thinking about putting my son in daycare soon so something like this really worries me. I heard today on the radio that children under 2 who watch tv don’t grow up with good communication skills!

  8. Oh my gosh, to say that I am shocked is an understatement! A childcare facility should not even have a television (except for in an office or staff breakroom, these days you never know what may happen in the world).

    Not only are you paying for the facility to provide care for your son, you are also paying for peace of mind. I hope that you are able to find another facility, or steal their television!!

  9. ~moregreen4ME says:

    Mixed feelings here. For me personally, it would depend on what they were watching on TV. TV can be used to show the kids things that they can’t see due to physically being at the daycare center, and there is an entire world out there. I don’t think that TV is wrong just because it is TV. Something like Baby Signing Time or Sesame Street I wouldn’t have a problem with, but as several people have said, it would need to be very limited. Simply plopping kids in front of the TV for more than perhaps 20-30 minutes a day would not be acceptable to me. I also wouldn’t mind if the kids were learning about something (like waterfalls or butterflies) and were watching a short video meant specifically to complement something that they had already been learning about.

    I think it would bother me more to express a concern and then have them take down the video feed. That seems sort of sketchy and smacks of retribution.

    Let’s be honest, though. Regardless of whether you personally let your kids watch TV, it is HARD WORK taking care of little ones. Maybe some of us have help like a spouse or parents or friends/sisters, etc who can help out from time to time, but it can be very exhausting to interact with energetic babies/toddlers all day long. I have 2 kids, but daycares have a staff to child ratio ranging from 1:4 to 1:10. They also have to keep the kids clean, change diapers, interact and play with them, address behavior issues and suffer through temper tantrums. I know there have been days that with only 2 kids I felt that I was just elbow deep in diapers all day and got nothing accomplished save for feeding them and changing them. I don’t think TV should be a scheduled part of a daycare program, and IF it is to be used at all, that should be disclosed to parents in advance as it is a touchy subject, and many parents do have strong feelings on the issue. I don’t think it is a huge issue (for me personally) if they watch something short and appropriate while the workers are say, preparing lunch for the kids. It would be better IMO than to have the kids less carefully supervised and potentially running amok while someone prepares it. That being said, I do believe very strongly that it is the parents’ decision if they want their kids to watch TV, and the daycare center should inquire and respect the parents’ decisions.

    I think the bigger issue is the quality of childcare in our country. Daycare is EXPENSIVE, yet at the same time, workers are not highly paid. There is pressure to bring in more kids to make it worthwhile for the workers/centers to operate, but that makes it more difficult to provide quality care. Many centers are reducing or eliminating infant and toddler slots, since the provider to child ratios are lower and many will lose money by offering these slots. We are fast approaching a point where the only ones who can afford daycare are those with higher than average incomes and those on public assistance. We need to restructure early childhood education in America so that every child has access to QUALITY care, and every parent who wants to work has that option.

  10. I say you shove this in their face: http://www.aap.org/pressroom/mediaunder2.pdf

    You were right to call them and complain. I would be furious given that science itself says that children under 2 gain nothing from TV, even educational programs, and recommend strongly against any TV for children under 2. I really hope you follow up and talk to your day care about TV viewing. That is something they should be communicating with parents about.
    An appropriate alternative for that age group would be a puppet show or something similar. And encouragement of independent play. I know its tiring to chase 5-10 kids all day — I couldn’t imagine doing it. But that is no excuse for forcibly plopping kids in front of a TV.

  11. ReInventing Lolli says:

    I think TV is used WAY too much as a “babysitting tool”. Whether it be by parents, daycare, babysitters, schools, etc. I think that hands on learning and games that kids can play together is much more valuable. If they do turn on the TV, I believe it should be educational, and shouldn’t be for long….say less than an hour.
    I don’t blame you for being upset.

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