I would argue no, letting our little ones watch TV is not that bad. I suppose it depends on how high you want to set your parenting expectations.
I’m not saying leave the TV on all day every day and let them zombify in front of it for hours on end, but I am saying… if every now and then you let them watch a little more than the recommended allowance, then it’s not a requirement to label yourself a ‘bad parent’.
Everyone, including kids need time to relax and zone out. When kids stop having their afternoon nap, they need this quiet time to recharge, and the parents need it to have a freaking break (in which they will tidy toys, hoover, wash the dishes, clean the toilet etc).
Some kids will chill by looking at books, listening to audio stories or music, playing quietly by themselves, but most of us don’t own those kids.
And if you also have a baby sucking all of your resources, then teaching your toddler how to relax by doing non-screen related activities is just not on the cards.
TV is OK.
Watching colourful bunnies non-verbally jump around without narrative is probably not OK, because it’s mind-numbing nonsense, but programmes with a story or an educational aspect could be beneficial in some ways.
I truly believe that if your children have active lives outside of quiet time, then TV is not going to do long lasting damage. That’s what we are all afraid of isn’t it? Permanently damaging our children! Well, regardless of what we do, we are going to permanently damage our children anyway, because no one is perfect… and we all blame our parents for our imperfections. I instantly cry when I find myself in any form of confrontation. I’m very sure it’s my mum’s fault that I do that.
And, if us parents keep on running on an empty tank, then we won’t be able to be our best selves… and our kids deserve to hang out with that version of us, rather than our irritable, stressed-out, impatient selves.
Other than the afore mentioned, ‘leave the TV on all day every day,’ scenario, a normal amount of TV sandwiched in between a social and active, interesting life should be harmless.
Choose the shows wisely, stop feeling so guilty and appreciate the time your kids need to recharge. Stop comparing yourself to others and create a good balance that works for you and your family.
If sticking to the recommended TV time works for you, or you can live happily without TV all together, then keep working that. Do what works for, my friends, do what works for you.