When’s the best time to put a TV in your children’s bedroom?

Have you put a TV in your children’s bedroom? How old were or are they? It’s one of those unexpected parenting dilemmas, isn’t it? We all knew there’d be decisions over names and vaccines and weaning and bedtimes. But who knew we’d be making a parenting decision over 4K TVs? Seriously, did any of us expect the endless stressful undercurrent of constant parental decision-making (when should I allow them to go out alone? Go to the shop unattended? Get a hair cut without you? Have a mobile phone?)?

Making these decisions is usually a healthy dose of gut instinct, coupled with a scan of internet forums while talking to friends and family with kids the same age or older. Generally we don’t ask the grandparents for their opinion though – what flew 30 or 40 years ago simply doesn’t work for todays kids, on the whole.

Child watching TV in bed – Alena Ozerova | Shutterstock

So – when DO you put a TV in your children’s bedroom? It was a non-decision in the 70s when there was one TV for the entire family. In the 80s families started to have more than one, and by the 90s it was normal to have TVs in bedrooms and kitchens. But zoom to the 2020s and our kids probably watch less television than we did.

For me, television was to be encouraged. I know, flying in the face of our own childhood training here – but for a screen-attached generation, TV is actually a more soothing, more controlled choice than being on their phones or tablets with permanent internet access.

Most parents will be happier if they remove the child’s internet access after a certain point in the evening (depending, of course, on how old your child is – a 16yr old will be far less happy than a 6-year-old will be at having their internet access removed at 6pm)

Reliant recently surveyed almost 700 parents to find out what UK parents are doing about a TV in your children’s bedroom:

when to put a TV in your children's bedroom infographic

75% of kids want a TV in their room (of course they do, they all say that). But when only 50% of children are actually watching live TV, their bedroom set had better have access to Netflix or Disney+!

TV watching can be a shared family activity of course – we’ll never stop having family movie night, or watching the latest david Attenburgh or Ghosts together. But it’s also a good wind down, and a way for an overwhelmed kid to de-stresss. I’m not sure I’d be happy if my kids were in the 45% who watch TV to fall asleep – mine all used audiobooks to help with that, which I think is far more restful for the brain (but I’m no scientist with any data to back that up, just a mum of four).

Teenager’s bedroom designed with a TV KUPRYNENKO ANDRII | Shutterstock

But for teens to binge a favourite Netflix show or watch a Disney movie for a couple of hours is a brillaint switch off from the relentless pressure of social media. It can also be a sociable activity – alone in her room my 15-yr-old will watch movies with her friends, using Disney+’ GroupWatch and Amazon Prime’s Watch Party options. No intrnet browsing or gaming (always the temptation if you’re watching on a tablet or your PC), just a comfy movie night with her mates – who happen to be in America, the Netherlands and Australia.

So for me, once your kid is past the point of going to sleep after a bedtime story, and has reached the time when they don’t want to spend their whole evening watching whatever boring programme you’ve selected for yourself, then a TV in your children’s bedroom can provide some useful non-internet downtime for them.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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