Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Deciphering and Limiting Children’s Television – An Extra 500 Hours with your Preschooler

Like a guest that overstays their welcome, the glow of the television shines from early morning to late in the evening in many America homes.  In many ways, T.V has replaced family game time, conversation and even babysitters.  According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), children in the U.S spend approximately three hours a day watching television.  Because of the influence that programs, characters and commercials can have on children, Congress requires broadcast television stations (commercial and non-commercial) to offer “educational and informational” (EI) children’s programming.  This Congressional requirement dubbed “Children’s Television Act” was instated in 1990.  The FCC created its own rules in order to comply with the CTA mandate.  Stations must:   

  • provide parents and consumers with advance information about core programs being aired;
  • define the type of programs that qualify as core programs; and
  • Air at least three hours per week of core programs.

According to the FCC:  “Core programming” is programming specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children ages 16 and under. Core programming must be:

  • at least 30 minutes in length;
  • aired between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; and
  • A regularly scheduled weekly program.

Parent’s can identify these programs by looking for the E/I icon displayed throughout the program.  The FCC limits commercial time to 10.5 minutes per hour.

If television is a must in your household, the E/I icon can serve as an initial guide for parents. 

That said, 3 hours per day X 7 days a week X 52 weeks/per = 1092 hours per year.  Consider limiting television time, if you take away 50% or 1.5 hours per day, you are giving your children over 500 extra hours of time to create their own show, art, read, dramatic play, play dates and whatever else they enjoy. 

Need some ideas?

  • You can find recipes to make with your kids here:
  1. What’s Cooking Blog –    
  2. Kid’s Health Recipes –
  • You can find book recommendations here:
  1. Reading is Fundamental Read List for Preschoolers:
  2. American Library Association List for Preschoolers:
  • You can find some children’s craft ideas here:
  1. Martha Stewart Kids –


Enjoy every moment!

© 2010  All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Deciphering and Limiting Children’s Television – An Extra 500 Hours with your Preschooler

  1. How about removing the TV from the house altogether?! It’s not soooo radical. This then limits visual entertainment media input to internet, movies, and tv shows on dvd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s