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TV, the French and Common Sense

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

The latest shot in the war over TV and tots was fired last month in France, where the government there decided to ban all marketing of TV shows to kids under 3. Those who would broadcast such fare would be require to slap the following warning up: “Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them.” I’m always suspicious of blanket condemnations of anything (especially when it’s the government doing the condemning), so I asked Lisa Guernsey, who not only contributed to this blog but also wrote the book on the subject -- Into the Minds of Babes -- whether the French are on to something.

France -- like the AAP -- loves to stick a nice round number out there when it comes to the age at which TV is "safe" for kids. In the case of France, that number is three. Is there any evidence that suggests that there is any sort "right" age when it comes to TV watching?

Not really. I cringe at one-size-fits-all guidelines for media and kids. Media are too varied. Kids are too varied. And parents are pretty much all over the map, too.

But here is what we know so far. Babies at 14 months have been shown to imitate what is on the screen. A scientific study of language learning showed that babies can learn new nouns from a few minutes of video training in a lab experiment as early as 15 months old. At 22 months, according to another study, toddlers who were relatively “verbal” (talkative) could learn new words from viewing doctored versions of Teletubbies. And published, peer-reviewed research on Sesame Street shows some of the bigger gains among kids between 2 and 3 years of age. So if we just look at these studies alone, we’ve already got evidence that saying “no tv before age 2” or “no tv before age 3” may not be based in sound science.

That said, parents should know that their babies need socialization and partners to communicate with, not to mention the chance to move and safely explore. Video doesn’t deliver this on its own. I always harp on using the three Cs instead of making hard-and-fast rules: Think about content, context and the individual child.

It seems to me some parents who want to plunk their kids down in front of the TV will do it regardless of what is on. Is Nick or Disney-esque "age-appropriate programming" any better for an 18-month-old than Seinfeld reruns?

I’ve seen parents put their babies in front of soap operas, SpongeBob and CNN Headline News. In these cases, they were either just trying to keep them occupied, or they were exhausted or depressed and not of the mind to be paying much attention in the first place. At age 18 months, the science tells us, the babies are getting little to nothing out of this because those shows are not tailored to be understandable to the very young.

Worse, those shows become background noise instead. And that’s bad news, because we have accumulating evidence that background TV causes children to shorten their play patterns, as if they are distracted. It also affects parent-child interaction and makes it difficult for babies, starting as young as 7 1/2 months old, to hear and make sense of words spoken to them.

Usually around 30 months of age, children will start to find preschool shows interesting enough to stop and watch them. The shows stop being background noise and start being stories that kids want to follow from beginning to end. And that’s when the quality can really make a big difference. SpongeBob, for example, isn’t designed to help young kids make sense of new words and may lead kids to mindlessly imitate the wrong ones. (Who needs a preschooler spouting “Stupid!”?) I’d avoid it, and head instead to PBS, Noggin, Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr. I’ve seen well-designed shows for kids as young as 30 months on each of these channels.

Is there any way to tell good TV habits from bad TV habits -- based on duration of watching or age of child or content watched?

I think of it this way: If, day after day, I’m using TV to occupy my kid for hours because I don’t have the energy to get out the crayons, bring down the playdough, or take them for a stroll, that’s a bad habit. Not that I can’t empathize. As a mother with two young children, one of whom was colicky, I’ve had exhausted days when turning on the tube was sheer relief. But what those habits are really telling us is that something isn’t working. We need help. We need more babysitters, we need more sleep, we need to change our lives in some way.

Good TV habits are those that are part of a set routine (say a shot of Noggin at the same time each morning), that are embarked on with some purpose (“Want to watch an story on TV? You love the duck character, remember?”), that have an ending (like using DVDs or Tivo’ed shows, instead of watching an endless series of show after show) and that offer sparks of inspiration for fun activities, songs and conversation during the rest of the day.

In this century, our kids are going to grow up with screen media coming at them from every angle. I figure we should set up our children to be balanced about their media choices, to take time to think about what they are watching, and to have fun with it, too.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  September 5, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Newsmakers , Preschoolers
Previous: Rules, Rules and More Rules | Next: Lunchbox Winners

Comments


"I think of it this way: If, day after day, I’m using TV to occupy my kid for hours because I don’t have the energy to get out the crayons, bring down the playdough, or take them for a stroll, that’s a bad habit"

Bad, bad girl! Another woman beating herself up!

Posted by: Rubbish | September 5, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

It is as simple as this. If the french think it is a good idea, I know it is a bad idea.

(lower case intentionally used)

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

It is as simple as this. If the french think it is a good idea, I know it is a bad idea.

(lower case intentionally used)

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 7:44 AM

Thank you, intellectual midget.

Posted by: Did someone drop you on your head when you were a baby? | September 5, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, intellectual midget.

Posted by: Did someone drop you on your head when you were a baby? |

Hey, you are so smart, why don't you type that in French to prove it?

Besides any nation that loves Jerry Lewis is a bit off.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Everyone can produce studies. When I was working for a doctor in London, he showed me British research that showed that TV lulled brain patterns in children under two and a half.

And just because kids can pick up some nouns from TV does NOT mean they can learn language, or really anything developmentally valuable from TV in the first few years. Linguists know that infants and toddlers do NOT learn language from TV, aside from a tiny bit of vocabulary.

Posted by: Kat | September 5, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey, you are so smart, why don't you type that in French to prove it?

Besides any nation that loves Jerry Lewis is a bit off.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 7:55 AM

A recycled 40+ year old Jerry Lewis joke! Wow! I'm impressed!

Posted by: Yep, someone dropped you on your head when you were baby | September 5, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I have a friend who is deaf. They always have the closed captioning on when the tv is on. Weren't they surprised when their 4 year old daughter started reading some of the captioning to them one day when the tv was muted. They had no idea that she had paid that much attention.

Posted by: Me | September 5, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

A recycled 40+ year old Jerry Lewis joke! Wow! I'm impressed!

I could have made a joke about President Sarkozy's spouse being recycled but that would be cruel.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

one great thing with an only child is that my son didn't learn about tv shows until he started school & one of his buddies told him. husband & i don't really watch tv so son doesn't really watch tv either. when he was a toddler we did go through a number of videos - telly tubbies, dora, the wiggles, bob the builder. son didn't really like barney too much. i loved kipper the dog but son didn't. now that son is passed the toddler stage i do not encourage tv watching. it helps that school keeps him busy. i can see why an exhausted mom would use a tv. it's not just taking down the play-doh, it's the playing with it because most children want you to play with me, it's the cleaning up, and the putting away. a toddler can "help" with all that but it's an energy outlay that a lot of parents don't have.

i think that the entire idea of gov warnings silly. the warnings aren't actually doing anything are they? they're just there.

Posted by: quark | September 5, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

It's odd to present yourself as a maverick to the most partisan audience imaginable, as John McCain did Thursday night.
It wasn't that long ago that McCain was the Republican most admired among Democrats. But some of that glow has faded. He's certainly doing his best to regain some of that luster. He didn't talk much at all about divisive social issues: a brief reference to his support for life, no talk of gay issues, a brief reference to judges that don't legislate from the bench but no extended focus on social issues. That's not the core of his agenda.
But in a moment sure to be featured in campaign ads from now to November, he paid tribute to the sitting Republican president, George W. Bush.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The French are correct.

Babies get no benefit from TV, but much potential harm. Why bother?

Where do TVs get the most use? Prisons. Why? Population control - the TV is distracting and keeps the inmates from being creative (such as thinking of ways to break out).

Posted by: Amelia | September 5, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

fr quark:

>...son didn't really like barney too much...

Smart kid!

Posted by: Alex | September 5, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Pallin=Lynne Spears.
both exploiting their daughters
not taking care of their family
thinking of their careers instead.

Pallin/Spears/McCain
Republican crap
Family Values Hypocrites

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 9:57 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Um...did the political bloviators hit the wrong button or is there a malfunction with the Post's software?

On-topic, we keep our baby from watching TV at all times (seems like a no-brainer). That's not to say we don't watch while we're holding him. One question that I haven't seen addressed - Is having the TV on while preventing the child from explicitly watching it bad? Does the din of voices-from-nowhere have the same effect as having them watch it directly?

Posted by: J | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

seriously, the republicans are a bunch of white trash hypocrites. they preach family values and then we find out that they're all having affairs, gambling their money, using drugs, or are geigh.


Posted by: repub's suck | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This is not a raffle. You will not be entered to win a prize if you post redundant off-topic posts across multiple WaPO blogs.

Posted by: to the moron obsessed with double-posting | September 5, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The TV is evil!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 5, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I have a few french guns for sale, never fired and only dropped once. Wait a minute were they french or democrats? No matter not much difference anyway. A coward by any other name is still a coward.

Posted by: Democrats suck | September 5, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I watched T.V. growing up (hallelujah for Sesame Street, Square One, She-ra!) and my children watch T.V. (Uh . . . Yo Gabba Gabba, Blues Clues, Oobi). I am a well educated, compassionate, successful mother and I wish people would stop judging parents who use the T.V. as . . . entertainment. That is what it is designed for and there is nothing wrong with that. If that is ALL my children did or if we were watching wildly inappropriate shows maybe a wake up call would be in order but really it annoys me to no end when some of my friends tell me (again) that they don't watch T.V. or they don't even own a T.V.

Are you in a contest? Is there an award? Did I fail? I want to say "That's great. We are installing complete media centers in each of the children's rooms next week". (We are not but imagine the horror on their faces.)

As with most things if it is used in the excess it can be a bad thing but I also think that if it is denied it can become much more attractive for children. I know of children who come over to play so that they can watch the t.v. They are not interested in playing dolls or with trucks when they come over to our house because they are not allowed to watch t.v. at home and it is like forbidden fruit. I, of course, respect the wishes of their parents but I wonder what these kids will be doing when they are paying the bills and able to make their own choices. Mine, like me, will most likely not be watching T.V. or watching select shows (or DVRing).

Posted by: Babymama | September 5, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I have a few french guns for sale, never fired and only dropped once. Wait a minute were they french or democrats? No matter not much difference anyway. A coward by any other name is still a coward.

Posted by: Democrats suck | September 5, 2008 10:41 AM

Noble words indeed from a hero. Who helped finance the American Revolution? Who was LaFayette?

Posted by: Jake | September 5, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Who helped finance the American Revolution? Who was LaFayette?

Posted by: Jake | September 5, 2008 10:58 AM

That was only in French self interest as France wanted to see Great Britain out of the Americas.

Posted by: to Jake | September 5, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Mine, like me, will most likely not be watching T.V. or watching select shows (or DVRing).

Posted by: Babymama | September 5, 2008 10:55 AM

Get over yourself. If you really are "well educated", you should know that there are no guarantees in life.

Posted by: Oh, boy | September 5, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Noble words indeed from a hero. Who helped finance the American Revolution? Who was LaFayette?"

Who sold their country out in WW2 and collaborated with the Nazi's? Who was Petain?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Elections? Wheee! Us Canucks are about to have one.

Unlike you folks, ours are fairly short. The PM will go ask the Governor-General (the Queen's representative in Canada) to dissolve the Parliament; then we'll have a 5 week campaign and an election most likely on October 14 (the day after Thanksgiving). Then it will be over - no prattling on for two years!

Oh, by the way - we'll vote on paper ballots (imagine that) and vote from our choice of up to 5 candidates, depending on the riding (Grits, Tories, New Dems, Bloc and maybe Greens).

Let the fun begin, eh?

Posted by: m2j5c2 | September 5, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

what are you proud of? the past 8 years of this country going to the crapper? the hypocritical family values preaching the repub's do? the tanking of our economy? record oil prices? rising unemployment? the loss of civil liberties?

yeah SOOOOOOOOOOOO much to be proud of!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 10:41 AM

The previous 8 years started it.

I have a job, I pay my mortgage and bills on time, I have a new car -- the economy's doing fine for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 10:44 AM

you mean the previous 8 years of economic boom in this country? no deficits? stock market going up? employment up? oil prices down? yeah, the democrats gave us a great 8 years. republicans have washed it down the toilet. and thats just economically. are you still proud of the loss of civil liberties? the hypocritical family values preaching? i notice you didnt address that.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 10:56 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

That was only in French self interest as France wanted to see Great Britain out of the Americas.

Posted by: to Jake | September 5, 2008 11:01 AM

Duh! There is an element of self interest in ALL foreign aid. Washington knew that and was grateful to France. What was LaFayette's self interest in pledging most his assets and risking his life to fight? Are you really this ignorant? Lordy, lordy.

Posted by: Jake | September 5, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What was LaFayette's self interest in pledging most his assets and risking his life to fight?

Uh, large land grants given by a grateful government? (one of many I can think of!)

Posted by: to Jake | September 5, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

GIven that the majority of French toddlers attend government subsidized daycare, this may have had more to do with keeping the daycare centers from "parking" the kids in front of the tube and forcing them to entertain/interact with the kids instead -- than with anything else. If your kids are in an institution which is regulated by the govenrment, it wouldnl't be at all surprising if the govenrment then used legislation like this to regulate these institutions. (Daycares can't put kids in front of the TV cuz there isn't any TV for them to watch -- that simple!)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"you mean the previous 8 years of economic boom in this country? no deficits? stock market going up? employment up? oil prices down? yeah, the democrats gave us a great 8 years. republicans have washed it down the toilet. and thats just economically. are you still proud of the loss of civil liberties? the hypocritical family values preaching? i notice you didnt address that. "


Let's see.. 10 dollar oil (which clinton had nothing to do with, markets decide that), hard to have a bad economy with cheap energy.,no foreign policy crises, (Bush 1 took care of that), worldwide technology boom,( nothing to do with clinton again). We should be grateful given the enormous problems, 9-11, stock market implosion (on clinton's watch), Katrina, struggle with terrorism, that we are at 6.1 unemploymnet and the market is still relatively high. As far as family values, funny how democrats think a 17 year old is old enough for an abortion but it is still somehow her mother's fault that she got pregnant. But like the french, common sense was never a democratic trait.

Posted by: democrats live in a fairytale world | September 5, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Government daycare? shudder. Talk about throwing your kids away. The government can't even manage the dmv properly, much less our children

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't let my kids watch a lot of TV. It probably works out to a half hour, 4-5 days a week. Occasional movies, usually when we're traveling, help to pass the time. My husband and I don't watch TV in front of the kids or with the kids -- they're too young for "movie night" and the only thing they see us watch is a brief snippet of the news (less than 10 minutes) or weather reports.

I am always astonished at what young children are allowed to watch. My son's best friend has seen all the Star Wars movies, watched the Transformers movies, and the Narnia movies. He's 5. I think those movies are violent and scary, and I know for sure my kids would have nightmares after viewing them!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

perhaps if the republicans werent so greedy and oil hungry, we wouldnt have gone into iraq. which has left us with thousands of injured soldiers, thousands of dead american kids, and trillions in debt. oh and also left us even more exposed to terrorism, and made us take our eye off afghanistan, who actually ATTACKED us. good ol' bush and the rubber stamp repubs!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

yeah, workingmomx, i agree with that. a 5 year old is not ready to watch those kinds of movies. you can laugh if you want to but disney movies like winnie the pooh & stuff like that is much more appropriate.

Posted by: quark | September 5, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Amelia. TV doesn't do babies any good so why bother? Once my kids got a little older, I did let them watch short videos we got from the library. But that was more for my benefit than theirs. It's hard being the only adult with two toddlers/preschoolers all day. Sometimes I just wanted to take a shower in peace! But I wish I'd had family members or friends to call on instead of TV.

Posted by: anne | September 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

To Babymama: I totally agree! My kids watch t.v. sometimes and they are all bright and creative individuals.

Everyone needs to get off their pedastals! The only parents who are listening to this drivel are the ones who are already monitoring their kids tv viewing habits. They know what shows their kids watch and make sure they do other things in addition to watching t.v. The people who are, in fact, allowing their children to sit in front of the t.v all day watching Jerry Springer and All my Children are not reading this blog and nor do they care what any of us think of their choice to totally ignore their offspring.

There is such potential here for intelligent discussion of issues we all face in parenting. Let's start discussing some of them! I for one am always looking for new ideas about activities, discipline and how to help my kids be successful.

Posted by: Momof5 | September 5, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

There is such potential here for intelligent discussion of issues we all face in parenting. Let's start discussing some of them! I for one am always looking for new ideas about activities, discipline and how to help my kids be successful.

Posted by: Momof5 | September 5, 2008 11:46 AM

Thank you for this comment. I've tried and tried to get people on this blog to be more kind to one another and be gentle with each other, but instead, people attack me left and right. I agree, lets discuss better parenting tips. Especially those that are for upper middle class, suburban families.

Posted by: Nancy | September 5, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

workingmomx, I agree, but my 4yo has seen transformers and all the Lord of the Rings movies. Over and over. My husband is obsessed with them and I can't convince him that it's not appropriate for a toddler.

Posted by: yikes,me too | September 5, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The kids watch mostly movies at our house and usually at bedtime. The movie is their treat for heading to bed in a timely manner and being quiet after getting into bed. It usually puts them to asleep much faster than when they go to sleep on their own. They might watch something we rented from the library or bring their own ScoobyDoo, Dora or SpongeBob DVDs.

We also let them watch TV although not usually for more than an hour at a time. We don't leave it on as background noise and we don't usually watch adult shows when they are around (except news). They don't watch TV at their mother's home as she doesn't have cable (or any other means). We tend to stick to PBS Sprout or cartoons that the kids have already been exposed to and request like ScoobyDoo and SpongeBob. I would personally love to kick SpongeBob to the curb but I am outnumbered 2 to 1 in the parent department.

I don't see any problems with watching TV - in moderation. The kids do lots of other things like colouring and reading and playing make-believe or Go Fish or Feed the Kitties. TV/movies are just another method of entertainment.

Posted by: Billie | September 5, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Especially those that are for upper middle class, suburban families.

Nancy, Cecilia stays at home with her "little precious" and her hubby working in Law Enforcement. You know, a code word for "Rent A Cop."

Cecilia is not "upper middle class, suburban family."

Posted by: Get your facts straight | September 5, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I am always astonished at what young children are allowed to watch. My son's best friend has seen all the Star Wars movies, watched the Transformers movies, and the Narnia movies. He's 5. I think those movies are violent and scary, and I know for sure my kids would have nightmares after viewing them!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 11:27 AM

Mind your own business. Get "astonished" about something that really matters. It all comes out in the wash.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

as someone who parlayed a lifelong love of TV into a minor career in acting, screenwriting and show business jobs that I later traded for a dotcom career, I think I have no regrets for watching as much tv as I did as even a small kid. I watched so much Electric Company that in my first day in church pre-school the teacher told my mother I could read- unheard of for 1972. My kids watched tv periodically when they were very young, think Emeril and Alton Brown, Sesame Street, Mr Rogers and Animal Planet shows. Everything they used to love to watch seems to have rubbed off on them very positively. The fact that my 18 month old can name 4 or 5 Sesame Street characters and delights in poking his friends and telling me their names too seems to make me think that his interpersonal development is on-track with his older brothers.

Our only rule was no tv between the time mom and dad are dressed and ready for work or before their baths at night. After bath time (aka 7-9pm) or if they wake up at 5:30am, sure. Watch tv while I catch some Zs. I noticed no negative behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Besides any nation that loves Jerry Lewis is a bit off.
-----

Ummm... Jerry Lewis is from the USA and is a bigger star here than in France.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Where do TVs get the most use? Prisons.
----

Wrong, most TV usage is in private homes. Your example is a complete lie.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I am always astonished at what young children are allowed to watch. My son's best friend has seen all the Star Wars movies, watched the Transformers movies, and the Narnia movies. He's 5. I think those movies are violent and scary, and I know for sure my kids would have nightmares after viewing them!
-------

Ok, I agree with you about Transformers, it's not for kids, but Star Wars and Return of the Jedi are absolutely appropriate for a 4 or 5 year old and neither my son nor his friends had any nightmares about them. After age 4 my son hasn't had nightmares that we're aware of. Narnia... the concepts don't make sense to kids, so it's like saying Harry Potter is too scary for a 4 year old- I mean, a 4 yr old couldn't understand what Harry Potter is trying to say anyway, why do that too early.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Lewis has long remained popular in Europe: he was consistently praised by some French critics in the influential Cahiers du Cinéma for his absurd comedy, in part because he had gained respect as an auteur who had total control over all aspects of his films, comparable to Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock. In March 2006, the French Minister of Culture awarded Lewis the Légion d'honneur, calling him the "French people's favorite clown".[7] Liking Lewis has long been a common stereotype about the French in the minds of many Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Brits, and is often the object of jokes in Anglosphere pop culture.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Amelia. TV doesn't do babies any good so why bother?
-----

Ok genius, you tell me how to introduce the concept of whales to a toddler. dead pictures in a book? Going on a whale watching cruise? No, without TV there is nothing that communicates the enormity of whales to toddlers. With TV little kids "get it." My kid "got it."

your gross over-simplification is really odd.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Momof5

"The people who are, in fact, allowing their children to sit in front of the t.v all day watching Jerry Springer and All my Children are not reading this blog and nor do they care what any of us think of their choice to totally ignore their offspring. "

How do you know who is reading this blog and what they think??? Please learn how to spell, use correct grammar, and pick up some common sense before you cast the first stone.
That's the best way you can teach your kids to be successful.

Posted by: Get over yourself | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Right Freedom Fries, but my comment is still correct, he's bigger in the US than in France. They don't run the Jerry's Kids telethon in France do they?

Regardless of how amazing his set design is, and I've stumbled across some of his films, they are designed in very sophisticated, smart ways with stunning direction and camera angles as he's following some lady saying, "hoygen floygen."

He is an American and he worked and works in Hollywood and Broadway, not Paris, and I saw his turn as the devil in Damn Yankees, he's no small talent.

It's just that the French view of film making is different than the US and in France to be able to take over writing, direction, set design and star in your own film is considered like the Michael Phelps of filmmaking, wow, you did all those different tasks, you know? And Lewis did that so they were like, "Whoa." In the USA half the people I talk to want to see movies based on the actors alone, not anything else. I dunno, I can't watch current hollywood films because all the talent has been poured into TV and HBO series.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Please learn how to spell, use correct grammar, and pick up some common sense before you cast the first stone.
That's the best way you can teach your kids to be successful.
----

whoa, unintentionally ironic.

"best way."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Liking Lewis has long been a common stereotype about the French in the minds of many Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Brits, and is often the object of jokes in Anglosphere pop culture.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 12:15 PM

No way!

Still on the Jerry Lewis thing? Sexy!!! Nice copy and paste job, Bozo. Your common-law wife called. You can pick up your dentures at 5pm.

Posted by: What is your piont? | September 5, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I never said that Jerry Lewis was not American or at one time popular here (with Dean Martin.)

But if you and France admire that goofy guy, have at it.

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

fr quark:

>...son didn't really like barney too much...

Smart kid!

Posted by: Alex | September 5, 2008 9:49 AM

hey momof5 - if you live in arlington co go to the public library on quincy st. they have a parent section with books of things to do, different games etc. there is a pretty good selection.

i have to admit i was relieved that barney was not a favorite. i was disappointed that he didn't like kipper which was too slow & sophisticated for him.

Posted by: quark | September 5, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Still on the Jerry Lewis thing? Sexy!!! Nice copy and paste job, Bozo. Your common-law wife called. You can pick up your dentures at 5pm.

Posted by: What is your piont? | September 5, 2008 12:26 PM

Oh, so sorry, I quoted Wiki for that. Make you feel better? BTW piont (sic) is spelled "point."

Posted by: Freedom Fries | September 5, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Do most Americans really care more about personality than policy? I mean, folks are going gaga about Palin without really knowing what she actually stands for and how it will affect their life. I have to say this is very clever marketing by the Republicans (the moose shooting, sweet talking, reform toting ex-beauty pageant hockey mom with a hunky husband to boot) but it is also what make most people cynical about politics. At least Obama and Biden aren't afraid to talk about policy while the McCain crowd is all to eager to make it about biography.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

At least Obama and Biden aren't afraid to talk about policy while the McCain crowd is all to eager to make it about biography.


Nobody knows what obama stands for because the lazy liberal media refuses to vet him. I have seen more investigativce reporting of Palin in a week than I have in 2 years for Obama. Obama runs from his plans because they would just show the american people that he is just a tax and spend liberal. He reminds me of Nixon's 'secret plan" to win the vietnam war. Spouting hope and change like a parrott is not telling people your plans.

Posted by: NOBAMA | September 5, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Big yawn | September 5, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I am always astonished at what young children are allowed to watch. My son's best friend has seen all the Star Wars movies, watched the Transformers movies, and the Narnia movies. He's 5. I think those movies are violent and scary, and I know for sure my kids would have nightmares after viewing them!
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So, fundamentally, you are astonished that anyone could possibly reach different parenting decisions than you for kids you've never met and about whom you know s**t. Why am I not surprised.

News flash: each kid is different - some are scared by certain forms of entertainment, others not so much. My kids hate and are fearful of adults in Disney costumes. Yet I am not astonished that other parents take their young children to Disneyworld. It's simply not a choice we make for our kids.

Judging others' parenting choices in entertainment by what you deem appropriate for your own children identifies you as a narrow-minded nincompoop, above all else.

Posted by: to WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This was a very good interview. We all know a short, age-appropriate TV show can give Mom (or Dad) a chance to take a shower or make a meal, or otherwise give both caretaker and kids a break. And we also know that hour after hour of indiscriminate TV-watching is not good for children (or adults for that matter). But Lisa Guernsey went beyond the extremes and gave some good advice. There ARE shows that are appropriate for young kids, and they CAN be watched for a short amount of time, and parents SHOULD interact with kids before & after the show. The show itself can spark conversation and activity ideas.

Whenever there's a discussion of TV-viewing habits the "my child NEVER watches TV" always comes out. And so does the "my child learned to count, read, & speak Spanish by watching TV." But most of us practice moderation in our kids' TV-watching habits, which is a good thing.

Thanks for the non-preachy, practical-advice interview.

Posted by: nvamom | September 5, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Judging others' parenting choices in entertainment by what you deem appropriate for your own children identifies you as a narrow-minded nincompoop, above all else.

Posted by: to WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 12:58 PM


Judging and bragging is what the OP is all about. Pay attention!

Posted by: LOL | September 5, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Whenever there's a discussion of TV-viewing habits the "my child NEVER watches TV" always comes out."

I instantly dismiss these types as crackpots. They usually follow this with, we go to the park, do flash cards, study chopin, blah blah. Ik what about the other 22 hours in the day. Just a bunch of baloney to make them seem like super parent.

Posted by: bye bye crackpot | September 5, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

nvamom

"We all know a short, age-appropriate TV show can give Mom (or Dad) a chance to take a shower or make a meal, or otherwise give both caretaker and kids a break."

How could you possibly know what "we all know"? Is there any such animal? Who is "we"?

"And we also know that hour after hour of indiscriminate TV-watching is not good for children (or adults for that matter). "

How do "we" know this? How do you know this?

" But most of us practice moderation in our kids' TV-watching habits, which is a good thing."

Who is "us" and how do you know any of this?

Posted by: Sounds like a PTA spiel | September 5, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The people who claim they NEVER watch TV are the same people who claim they NEVER have anal sex.

Posted by: Full of baloney | September 5, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Full of baloney | September 5, 2008 1:24 PM

True that!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"The people who claim they NEVER watch TV are the same people who claim they NEVER have anal sex.

Posted by: Full of baloney | September 5, 2008 1:24 PM "

Thanks, we will never doubt that you have anal sex again.......

Posted by: too much info | September 5, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: For 1:24 | September 5, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

to yikes at 11:56, I cannot wait until my kids are old enough to see the Lord of the Rings movies. Best. movies. ever. But the Orcs and the killings and effects would be way too much for my imaginative little ones. I'm sure there are young children who can handle the violence of PG-13 movies, but I'm not going to subject my kids to that for a while -- as long as possible, actually.

I don't think TV is necessarily bad for kids. I just think it's kind of a stupid and boring activity. There are so many other fun things to do in the world and life is short. Why waste time? I mean, at the end of your life, do you really think you'll wish you'd watched more television?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't think TV is necessarily bad for kids. I just think it's kind of a stupid and boring activity. There are so many other fun things to do in the world and life is short. Why waste time? I mean, at the end of your life, do you really think you'll wish you'd watched more television?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 2:37 PM


Why waste time on this blog saying the same thing over and over?

Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think TV is necessarily bad for kids. I just think it's kind of a stupid and boring activity.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 2:37 PM

I think the Lord of the Rings movies are stupid and boring.

Posted by: So what? | September 5, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Gee, MYOB, I thought it was obvious. We all -- clearly -- believe we have something important and special and profound to say and share with the group. And then there's the trolls and losers who slam every statement out of sheer viciousness, I guess, or boredom.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Why waste time on this blog saying the same thing over and over?


Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 2:45 PM

Bc they don't watch tv, and their partner isnt home. So they dont have anyone to (activity mentioned at 1:42) with.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Gee, MYOB, I thought it was obvious. We all -- clearly -- believe we have something important and special and profound to say and share with the group. And then there's the trolls and losers who slam every statement out of sheer viciousness, I guess, or boredom.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 2:51 PM

You worked in a law firm!!! LOL!

"We all -- clearly -- believe we have something important and special and profound to say and share with the group."

Again it is impossible for ONE person to speak for "all", no matter how much, or what you BELIEVE....

"And then there's the trolls and losers who slam every statement out of sheer viciousness, I guess, or boredom."

How old are you? How do you know why anyone disagrees with you? A guess?

Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Why waste time on this blog saying the same thing over and over?


Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 2:45 PM

Bc they don't watch tv, and their partner isnt home. So they dont have anyone to (activity mentioned at 1:42) with.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 2:59 PM

LOL! Must be a SAHM - logical.

Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, we will never doubt that you have anal sex again.......

Posted by: too much info | September 5, 2008 2:18 PM


I get it. Stacey can talk about her kid that picks his nose while he masturbates 24/7, but a joke about anal sex is too much info.....

Posted by: Wow! | September 5, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Babies and toddlers - NOT older children.

The article was about children under age 3. There's no benefit, and the entertainment for children of that age would be much more fulfilling if you just let them teeth on the remote and smear their hands all over the screen.

Developmentally, they are more tactile and are not typically entertained by sitting still and staring: mesmorized? maybe. Lulled into inaction? Perhaps. But I wouldn't call it "entertainment" when you are discussing babies.

No benefit - potential harm - why bother?

Posted by: Amelia | September 5, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Wow! | September 5, 2008 3:11 PM

UMM yes, mr/ms tackiness

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Bc they don't watch tv, and their partner isnt home. So they dont have anyone to (activity mentioned at 1:42) with.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 2:59 PM

LOL! Must be a SAHM - logical.

Posted by: MYOB | September 5, 2008 3:07 PM

is it wrong that i like doing it that way?

Posted by: SAHM | September 5, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"And then there's the trolls and losers who slam every statement out of sheer viciousness, I guess, or boredom."

How old are you? How do you know why anyone disagrees with you? A guess?

MYOB

Um, yes, MYOB, I did in fact say "I guess". Did you not read my statement?

And actually, you can change "You worked in a law firm!!" to "you work in a law firm". I'm back, baby, in the sweetest part-time deal I've ever heard of - two days a week, but only when my oldest is in school. How could I pass that up? I guess they can't live without me.

And obviously, I'm old enough to know better than you do.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

is it wrong that i like doing it that way?

Posted by: SAHM | September 5, 2008 3:45 PM


you have a very lucky husband.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the "no benefit" claims.

Older son could recognize all the letters of the alphabet when he was 21 months old. DH didn't believe me for about a month after I discovered this - we weren't doing the baby-genius, baby-einstein, or any of that other stuff. The only explanation we could figure out was that our toddler was watching Sesame Street while DH fixed meals.

In preschool, the kid was reading. When the preschool teacher made this discovery, she had him read aloud to the rest of the class. At first we thought he had simply memorized his favorites among the books we read to him at bedtime, but it turned out that he was also reading books at the preschool that we didn't have at home.

Yeah, I'll agree that all TV all the time wouldn't be good for a kid. But the right programs can be of benefit - at least for some kids. YMMV, of course.

Posted by: Sue | September 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

And obviously, I'm old enough to know better than you do.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 5, 2008 3:45 PM


Grammar Police!!

Posted by: there she goes again | September 5, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

you win the prize. Your child's the smartest. Feel good now, don't you?
That's what we're here for. To prop up your fragile self-esteem.

Posted by: to sue | September 5, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

you win the prize. Your child's the smartest. Feel good now, don't you?
That's what we're here for. To prop up your fragile self-esteem.
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This wins the prize for person most in need of therapy of the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

you win the prize. Your child's the smartest. Feel good now, don't you?
That's what we're here for. To prop up your fragile self-esteem.

Posted by: to sue | September 5, 2008 6:59 PM

The child I was talking about has autism. Learning from a screen (tv, computer, etc.) is very effective for him.

Some non-autistic kids have the same learning style, and can also benefit from well-chosen TV or video programs.

But I certainly hope that you feel better about yourself and your children after getting that off your chest.

Posted by: Sue | September 8, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

J:
On-topic, we keep our baby from watching TV at all times (seems like a no-brainer). That's not to say we don't watch while we're holding him.
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What do you do? Blindfold him?

Posted by: lepidopteryx | September 9, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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