Nanny Confessions: Parents Turn Off the TV

Nannies Don’t Want the Kids Watching TV When They Arrive in the Morning

By Stephanie Felzenberg

No one wants to raise a couch potato. Watching too much TV makes kids more likely to be overweight and have behavioral problems. But, the most frustrating part of letting kids have too much screen time, is getting kids to turn the off the “boob tube” and do something (anything) else.

Parents often just plop kids in front of the electronic babysitter while frantically getting ready for work in the morning. It may seem harmless to the parents to let their kids watch TV before their nannies show up so they can get ready for work. But, peeling the little ones away from the small screen once they are watching it is a huge hassle for nannies. So, I beg parents to keep the television turned-off in the morning.

In her article Cut Back on Screen Time for Kids, Claire McCarthy discusses a study released in the journal PediatricsThe author is a primary care physician that warns parents of babies and small children, that they shouldn’t watch TV at all, and that viewing television can get in the way of learning. The author encourages parents to limit screen time, not have TV’s in bedrooms, and turn off the TV at meals. But, despite pediatrician warnings and advice, the study shows parents don’t change their children’s television watching behaviors.

If pediatricians can’t get parents to help change their kids unhealthy media habits, it’s doubtful they will listen to me. But, if no other statistic can convince parents to turn of the TV, I beg them to turn it off just to make their nanny’s day easier.

By no means do I think households shouldn’t have TVs. But, when on my clock, I enjoy watching the kids play, use their imaginations, and be creative. They flourish when they are using their toys, playing musical instruments, reading books, and doing projects.

I urge parents to help their nannies out, and don’t rely on the TV to keep the kids occupied before their caregiver arrives at work. Keep the TV off. It’s just as easy to plop their offspring in front of their abundance of toys, puzzles, and books instead. If they are playing productively when their nanny arrives at work, they can more easily get started with their fun and highly productive day.

How can we help parents make the best TV decisions for their kids?


  1. I agree 100% but I don't think I can tell the parents that. It's hard I would rather the kids not watch tv but maybe one show a day but if the parents allow it not point in trying to change things.

  2. I feel the opposite sometimes. I really wish I would be allowed to let the kids just watch a program while I'm getting ready for dinner or cleaning up after dinner. They are really tired and cranky before dinner. I don't see the harm in letting them watch 1/2 hr of an educational program once per day.

  3. I have felt both ways. At times I have felt desperate to turn on a movie to distract the kids when they are tired and cranky. But I definitely hate TV on when we need to go somewhere or do something. It is hard to get them to turn the TV off.

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