Like many moms, Jennifer Shu, MD, a pediatrician in Atlanta, feels guilty about the amount of TV viewing her 5-year-old son, Jack, logs. She broke the rule about not allowing kids to watch television before they turn 2, letting him tune in for half an hour on some days so she could make dinner. Now he watches about two hours a day.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] recommends no more than two hours a day and no TV under age 2," Dr. Shu says. Infants and young children grow and develop best by experiencing the world through doing -- touching, smelling, tasting, and moving -- as well as by interacting with their parents and other caregivers, not by watching TV. "Sometimes you just need a break," Dr. Shu says. "Very few parents can do the whole no-TV-under-age-2 thing, but I still felt I was doing something wrong."Personal Rx
Dr. Shu has reconciled herself to the fact that her family likes TV and will have to struggle with limits. Jack watches age-appropriate shows but can easily do without by entertaining himself, she says. Still, it's not an issue she raises with other parents. "It's one of those things I'm kind of afraid to discuss with people because I don't want to find out that my son is watching way more than others," she says.