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A Heart For Home: Television Viewing: What & How Often {TIPsters}

Monday, June 18, 2012

Television Viewing: What & How Often {TIPsters}

Make sure you visit Kristin & Christy for their thoughts on today’s topic, as well as our guest TIPster, Sheri @ Traveling the Narrow Road.

My husband and I have not owned a television since before our oldest daughter was born five years ago. Even though we don't have a TV, with a computer in the house we still have had to make a conscious choice about what our kids can watch and how much screen time is allowed.

Please, know that we are not saying that we have this all figured out. We're simply sharing what is working for our family.

First off, I think it's easier for me to start with the what our kids don't watch.

Emahry, our five year old, is very sensitive about anything scary or suspenseful. Instead of trying to push her past these fears, we simply don't let our kids watch anything that would be scary to her. We feel that there is plenty of time for her tender heart to become desensitized and we, her parents, don't want to be the ones responsible for it. That being the case, our children do not watch any Disney movies since the villains are just too much for our daughter to handle. So Emahry, our princess loving little girl has never seen any of the princess movies whose characters she enjoys.

As a side note, even Veggie Tales is off limits in our home as several episodes have been shut off part way through because Emahry has been scared. This isn't too uncommon from what I've heard, in fact I know of a little boy who had nightmares about a giant pickle after watching a certain episode.

So what do our kids watch? Well, since we like to limit the amount of time our children spend on anything screen related, we tend to lean towards DVDs that are under 30 minutes or that are made up of several shorter episodes. This makes it easier to let them watch something for a shorter amount of time without having to shut it off right in the middle. These are some of our kids' favorites:

What's in the Bible? (Have you seen our free review flashcards for Volume 2 and Volume 3?)

The Berenstain Bears (We own Always Look on the Bright Side and Bears Get a Babysitter which each contain 6 episodes)

Letter Factory

Number Land

Word World Rocket to the Moon (4 episodes)

Curious George Sails with the Pirates (8 episodes)

Mister Rogers (full length episodes free to watch at, there are a few topics that we don't let the kids watch)

Usually our kids watch about one or two of these episodes each week. Recently this has been even less as our two oldest have really started enjoying books on CD. Of course, during bouts of sickness or times that require survival mode (like right after a new baby) this number definitely increases.

Typically, our kiddos only watch a full length DVD when we're all sitting down for a movie night. This usually happens two to three times each month depending on the season. A few of our recent favorites have been: 

Mr. Popper's Penguins
Winnie the Pooh
Mary Poppins

Sometimes if we want to watch something as a family but we don't have time to watch a full movie we'll sit down and enjoy an episode of Mr. Ed for free at, our kids think a talking horse is hilarious! (Although you do need to be careful about some of the commercials.)

Since our kids' screen time is fairly limited, whenever something is turned on it really holds their attention. For this reason I'm able to use short videos to keep them out of mischief when I need to complete an important task quickly, like when I need to schedule an appointment over the phone or deal with another sibling without interruptions. For these situations I've started making some kids' video boards on Pinterest. Here's what I have so far:

Kids' Bible Videos
Kids' Book Videos
Kids' Preschool Skills Videos
Kids' Music Videos

They also enjoy lots of the clips at

(And if your kids are a little older, I've started pinning some good art and history videos, too.)

What do your children watch on TV? What types of movies are you okay with them seeing? How do you choose to use screen time in your home and do you set limits for your kids? Please, join the discussion.
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A Heart for Home

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and our guest TIPster,  Sheri @ Traveling the Narrow Road
for more tools, tips, and tricks of the trade.

Coming Soon:
July 3: Quick and Easy Summer Meals
July 17: Taking Family Photos
August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read

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Blogger Unknown said...

I only have one son. My goal for him is really no TV until he is at least 2. He is 16 months now. I admit that the TV is on in the background when he is playing and Daddy is home (short periods in the evenings and on weekends). But during the day, I keep it off while he is awake. Occasionally, when I just have to get something done, I let him watch Yancy and Friends music videos. He loves them. He is usually sitting right in my lap watching them on the computer while I work and usually only for about 10-15 minutes. I don't quite have a plan for after he is 2. We will probably just continue as is until he starts asking for me and then we will set limits. I'm really hoping he just doesn't miss it since he's never had it!

Mary Beth

June 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Bonnie Way aka the Koala Mom said...

We also don't have a TV, so our kids watch movies online like yours. They enjoy the Berenstain Bears and Dora and Diego (there's not too much scary there). They also like Richard Scarry's Busytown - a "mystery" with lots of music and nothing scary. We sit through a lot of movies with our kids to talk our daughter through scary sections, but we've also stopped taking our daughters to non-animated movies that would be too scary for them. Have you tried Gnomeo and Juliet (only scary part is a very large lawnmower at the end) or Wall-E? Our daughter (age 4) loves those two. :)

June 19, 2012 at 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*love* that you are sensitive to your daughter's needs. I watched Wizard of Oz when I was 5, and was horribly terrified, in which I did not watch it again until I was a senior in high school. :^/
I much more prefer videos too, especially for the littles. Now I am off to check out the art and history ones! Thanks for sharing! =)

June 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Kristilyn Friese said...

I think your kids would like Kipper - very mellow doggies (and a couple pigs) exploring their world and imaginationsEW2Q. Episodes are under 10 min. each, and Ollie's has dvds for ~$5.

June 21, 2012 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Crystal @ Serving Joyfully said...

I wish we didn't have's awesome that you and your husband both agree on that fact :) My son is very sensitive as well and while we watch a few disney movies, most of them are too intense. I'm personally not a fan of veggie tales. I know most Christian parents love them, but I think you have to look too hard to find the Biblical meaning, and I'm just overall not a fan and neither are my kiddos.

We tend to watch short shows as well. There are a few on Nick Jr. that we'll let our kiddos watch sparingly.

June 22, 2012 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Lisa K said...

We choose not to have cable, but do have a TV and rent from Netflix. I highly recommend a Clearplay DVD player for those who are worried about blasphemy, innuendos, nudity, disrespecting parents, etc. You can preset features as to what you want filtered to suit your family. We purchased one 3 years ago and it has been one of our best investments ever! You can only get it online at and download filters from their site to a flashdrive that goes into the player.
We stay away from movies with lots of witchcraft, vampires, horror and the like. We have been able to watch most ‘R’/‘PG13’/ ‘PG’ movies with our clearplay player and they have cleaned up nicely and even the younger kids can watch.
We have 'movie' nights and that's when we all sit together and watch. Otherwise it is up to us when/if they watch anything, they cannot just go and watch something on their own.
Lisa K

June 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be interested in this post I did which has exerts of my dissertation

TBH my children probably watch too much but there are certain things that they are not allowed to watch- Family Guy is terrible, as are a lot of episodes of the Simpsons.

Interesting post.

June 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM  

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