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The Quandary of Vacation Relaxation and Children’s Television

December 28, 2010

I have a quandary.

Here I am, more than half-way through my two-week (stay)cation from work. Sophie is also on a two-week break. Having the time together is really nice. However, I struggle with feelings of guilt that I should be doing more activities for/with her every day. And by activities, I mean turning off Nick Jr. and the Disney movies.

This is a tough one for me. I don’t think TV is terrible and I do allow Sophie her TV time. But I do try to always have something non-TV for us to do each day that we’re home together. We cook together. She reads. We do arts and crafts. She plays in the backyard. And we usually leave the house for some type of outing nearly every day.

However, since this is also my vacation, I also want to relax, lay on the couch, and read my books. This is something I enjoyed, yet took for granted, before young Sophie’s arrival.  So over our vacation time, I’ve found myself allowing Sophie to watch more TV than normal so I can enjoy my time off too.

It’s hard to find the balance between enjoying my relaxation time and making sure Sophie has enough to do as well. I don’t want to use TV as a babysitter. But I will admit that taking a 30-minute cat nap on the couch while Sophie is safely next to me watching Dora is a nice way to spend my vacation days. I mean, aren’t I entitled to some down-time and relaxation too?

Is this terrible? Am I a bad mother? Is there a happy medium? Should I get over the guilt? Ah, the joys of motherhood!

"It's like preschool on TV." ... Yeah, that's what I tell myself as I lay on the couch.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 11:00 pm

    She should be watching KPBS. Then you wouldn’t feel so guilty.

    Plus, you do need time for yourself or you’ll start resenting not having that and then you’ll take it out on your family and that will be much worse. On the other hand, they’re only this age once. It is so fleeting and gone before you know it. One day she will be 18 and she will leave and you will have time enough for yourself, time enough to read. Trust me, it happens so fast, I cannot begin to tell you. If I could have 5 minutes with my kids at a young age all over again, that would be so wonderful. You know what I’m talking about because you’re living it right now: the time when they still want to cuddle and hug and kiss you, when they think you’re the end all, the most beautiful mother in the world. It’s a flash in the pan. And then it’s gone. At which time you’ll have plenty of “me” time. On the other hand (how many hands do I have, anyway?), it’s a fine balance. Do what you need to do AND treasure your time together no matter how short. And for crying out loud, change the channel to KPBS!!

    • leahsinger permalink
      December 29, 2010 8:13 am

      Thanks! I agree with you 100%. And we do watch PBS Kids quite a bit. Actually it’s really that and Nick Jr. that she watches.

  2. twinaspitler permalink
    December 29, 2010 4:53 pm

    We have definitely gotten the message that TV is not great for our kids but there are some excellent programs for pre-schoolers these days. AAP says 1-2 hours a day, no channel surfing, not to be used as background noise. I just got back from a vacation with my two nephews. It was a lot easier to avoid TV with three little ones running around. One of them always had a bright idea and they entertained each other. I just had to referee. I guess having an only at home is harder in some ways. We are the only source of interaction and that can be exhausting. Other than that, good luck with the guilt. I think we are hard wired to feel it any time we put our needs above our kids.

    • leahsinger permalink
      December 29, 2010 8:41 pm

      I think you’re right, Amy, that it’s much harder with just one child with the TV. When Sophie is with friends or at grandma’s house with her cousin and aunties, she doesn’t even want the TV. So that’s definitely a draw-back. But that’s encouraging what they say about it not being background noise and channel surfing. I’m proud to say that we don’t do either of those. I always turn it off if Sophie starts playing or reading (I hate TV as background). And we never channel surf. It’s one show only. So I at least feel that she’s actively engaged in the TV learning (if you can call it that).

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