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Do you let your kids watch TV in the car?

Posted by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM
  • 229 Replies

Mom Confession: My Kids Watched TV on the Way to School This Morning

by Jenny Erikson

Right around the time I started having kids, portable DVD players for the backseat of your car became a big thing. A lot of minivans and SUVs even had screens installed right in the vehicles themselves! That’s fine for other people, I thought sanctimoniously to myself, but my kids are going to learn to entertain themselves.

This morning, I caved. My elementary-aged daughters watched the pilot episode of Gummy Bears on the way to school, and they loved it. In between fighting traffic and reminiscing about my own childhood (because hi, it was Gummy Bears, and I had forgotten all about Gummy Berry Juice), I thought about one of my favorite quotes: You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Things change, and rigidity never helps anything in the end. Then again, consistency is important too. So how do you know the difference between giving in and making adjustments?

So about this TV in the car thing ... My kids have never really hounded me to watch TV in the car on short trips. Also, until last spring, they only occasionally spent more than 12 minutes in the car at a time. But then we moved, and now their school is a solid half an hour or more away in rush-hour traffic.

Then there’s the TV-during-the-week rule I’ve been pretty good about maintaining. Weekends used to be filled with tons of TV, so I figured school nights didn’t need to be filled with brain rot too. But ever since their dad and I separated, I only see them every other weekend, so those Saturdays and Sundays are spent running around having fun, not watching TV.

This morning as I pulled out of the driveway, on time (!!), and so amazed by these girls and what a great job they did today getting ready for school, and thought to myself ... what am I thinking? Why can’t they watch TV on the way to school?

I pulled over (on my residential side street because, for the record, fiddling on iPhones and driving don’t mix) and found the first episode of one of my favorite childhood shows. I handed it over and told them, “I want you to know how proud I am of you getting ready so nicely in the mornings, especially since you have to get up earlier now. Would you like to watch a show on the way to school?”

"WOOOHOOOOOO!" they both hollered. They loved it, by the way.

I don’t feel like I caved in. I don’t feel inconsistent in my parenting. I feel like the wind changed, and I adjusted my sails.

Do you let your kids watch TV in the car? Am I getting entirely too philosophical about commutes and cartoons? How different would road trips as a kid been if we'd had cartoons in the backseat?

by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM
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Replies (1-10):
km1970
by Platinum Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:30 AM
3 moms liked this

When we take a road trip, they will watch a movie(or two if it's a long trip.) They will also listen to music or read. 

When it's just a short trip around town, no they don't watch a movie. 

caito
by Ruby Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM

My daughter was fine in the backseat on our road trip this week. But if we traveled farther than two hours I'd like to have some form of digital entertainment for her. We have a kindle fire but it needs internet for netflix and the battery runs out rather quickly.

kdgord
by Silver Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM
We only drive short distances most of the time so they don't watch tv in the car. If we were to take a longer road trip( 2 hours or longer) then they would get to play video games or watch tv for part of the trip. I feel that my kids can sit for the 15-20 minutes at most that we are usually in the car without needing tv or video games. That's just my feelings though. What others do with their kids is up to them.
TurtleMomma82
by Barbie on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM
2 moms liked this

Nope.  Long car trips maybe.  But we don't have a tv or anything in the car

Kriskash25
by Kristina on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

yes I do let them watch movies in the car, especially on long trips! I find watching movies educational though all my kids started watching movies at a very young age and had very great verbal skills young. At 9 months old my babies could watch a whole movie beginning to end. Now I'm not saying that I let my kids watch the tube all day lol!

moosesmom
by Ruby Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Only for road trips
christina0607
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

They don't want to watch tv in the car. We ahve a dvd player, but they could care less. Even on our 24hour trip to disney world they weren't interested.

LadyAmaranth
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM

We don't have DVD stuff in our vehicle, so no.

I did let them watch a movie on my Kindle Fire when we had a 5 hour car trip but that was awkward and I gave them other things to pass the time too.

~Hillarie~
Mama to 3 Joyfully Chaotic Sons

http://kissmybleepcancer.blogspot.com/

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM
I let ds play on the iPad on the way to school. 30 mins of traffic to get there and then another 20-30minutes in the car line. I don't see the harm in it.
wissotamum
by Silver Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM

I let my girls watch tv in the van.  They wear headphones and it's quiet so I can concentrate on the road.  It's especially helpful when we're going somewhere new and I'm unsure of where I'm going.  For short rides, less than 10 minuts, I tend to leave it off so we can all chat.

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