TV and Other Electronics for Kids and Caregivers

February 10, 2009

I just read a study about young children and TV. It stated that children between ages 4 and 7 spend about 14 hours a week in front of screens. As we all know, this has influenced a generation of children that have various weight, health, and behavioral issues. As I was once a caregiver for other families and as a parent now, I feel very strongly about TV and electronics. They should not be used as a babysitter. For parents, nannies, and babysitters in Canada, it is your shared responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.

​It is well known that children can test limits when a parent is out for the night or at work. Parents and caregivers really need to speak about this before a nanny or babysitter starts their employment. Clear guidelines to caregivers on the amount of TV, what is allowed to be watched, and at what time of day TV can be watched. When caregiver arrives fun and structured activities should be enjoyed. Parents and caregivers should be planning and discussing these activities on a regular basis, and the children should know that these guidelines are non-negotiable. It helps to set a specific time that the children are able to watch their favorite show, with communicated start and end times.

There should be consequences if those rules are not followed. TV should be a privilege and would recommend that the TV is not the highlight of the time with a nanny or babysitter.

For a nanny and babysitter when caring for other children, it is your responsibility to be creative and in charge. If you have a meal to prepare or laundry to fold, try to include the children in this activity. If you have something you have to do with one child set the other child up with an age appropriate activity.

If you have an opinion about this please let us know.

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