Julianna Margulies Limits TV Time for Son Kieran

03/13/2012 at 08:00 PM ET
Eugene Gologursky/Getty

Julianna Margulies is no stranger to television — but she’s doing her best to make sure her son Kieran Lindsay is!

Despite her successful run on ER and her award-winning role on The Good Wife, the actress is determined to limit the 4-year-old’s time in front of the screen.

“During the week he’s not allowed [to watch TV] and on weekends he’s allowed one hour Saturday mornings and one hour Sunday mornings,” Margulies, 45, says during an appearance on Anderson airing Wednesday.

And all her hard work is paying off; The hands-on mom admits she sees a clear difference between Kieran and other kids his age.

“He loves books and he loves reading and he loves words,” she reveals. “Television for little children is very dangerous because they become almost like robots. They sit there and they’re not interacting.”

That’s not to say Kieran is completely in the dark about the interests of his age group, explains Margulies, who feels a balance is “important” for the child’s sake.

“I want him to be exposed to some of it because I don’t want him to be the one kid in the class who doesn’t know what everyone is talking about. Because that was me and I felt very deprived,” she explains.

Logging long hours on the set of her show and juggling her only child with husband Keith Lieberthal hasn’t been easy, but Margulies credits her days of playing nurse Carol with her continued success.

“I am constantly struggling with balancing my family life and my work life and trying to figure out when on earth I can ever get to the gym in between,” she shares.

“It’s a great problem to have and I’m exhausted, but after experiencing ER for six years, I know this is short-lived. I’m trying to enjoy everything I can.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting , Video

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 41 comments

ecl on

C’mon ladies, let’s get her!! Rip her apart! It’ll be fun!

Tee on

I think it’s wonderful that Julianna and her husband limit their son’s television time. Nothing wrong with TV in moderation but I do believe it’s best to be limited. Good for them!

Ratty on

How does she earn her living again?

Natural mama on

I’m with her 100% on here

Jaana on

@ecl – Oh my god, you made me laugh so hard!! So true, the venom that’s often vented against these celebrities makes my mouth drop.

If you don’t like how an actress/celebrity raises their children, fine – she’s not telling you how to raise YOUR children.
Plus, like another recent article on CelebrityBabies about Julia Roberts, both Julianna and Julia said their children are LIMITED in the amount of hours and the type of programs they are allowed to watch. Which is sounds likes good, responsible parenting to me! Everything in moderation.

SY on

We do the exact same thing, our sons (8&11 yrs) are only allowed limited access to electronics (TV, iPod/iPad, DS, etc) on the weekends.

I feel the same way as Ms. Margulies, I don’t want my kids to be in the dark about pop culture, etc. but I also don’t want TV to be a driving force in their lives.

My husband and I feel that teaching them balance and moderation will help them later in life.

Anonymous on

Ratty- Read the article. She’s an actress and one of the stars of the TV show The Good Wife.

But anyway, she seems very grounded and down to Earth. Kieran is lucky to have her for a mom!

Anonymous on

Julianna, just in case you’re reading this, you don’t need to go to the gym to excercise. With the right equipment and a few excercise tapes, you can do it right at home. 🙂

Mia on

I watched a lot of TV + enjoyed my share of electronics/gadgets from a young age – now + I turned out fine.

I think other activities like art + academics should be encouraged – but that seems way too restrictive…no TV during the week + one hour on the weekends?

Jen DC on


Her son is 4. Two hours of TV a week for a 4 year old is sufficient. As JM said, he can read his books; he probably goes to the park with Dad or the nanny (or his Mom; it’s NYC, celebrities as hounded there, it seems). Play games at the house, playdates with other kids… There’s TONS to do without the distraction of TV.

I wonder if he looks like his father, who is absolutely gorgeous…

M on

Gotta laugh cause the sarcasm of Ratty’s comment went straight over Anonymous’s head. Your retort seems silly, Anon.

Lila on

My child also loves books, playing outside, soccer, swimming, dance, crafts, coloring, cooking, etc, etc.

Oh, and she also loves TV. She is not a mindless little robot. In fact, she is one of the most active and social children I have ever met. Even her teachers praise her for it.

So while I don’t think it’s a great thing to let your child watch TV 24/7, it won’t hurt them if you make sure they are well rounded.

Alise on

Very easy to let the television become a “babysitter” :(. Very easy.

Anne on

I think everyone who picks on these moms for limiting TV/movie access because that’s how they make their living is forgetting one very important detail: they make shows for ADULTS.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with limiting what programs/how much TV your child watches. It’s called responsible parenting.

Most of you who comment negatively sound offended because you let the TV babysit your kids and you feel a little guilty.

Lynn on

It’s great when television and movie stars feel the need to tell us how wonderful they are as parents and what they don’t let their children do compared to the rest of us moms out there in the world.

Let me just ask, who is limiting the tv time, not her, the nanny. She’s not the one dealing with a child for 10 hours straight, listening to them cry or yell or throw a fit over what they can or can’t do.

It feels very condescending when these women talk about their parenting skills when half the time they’re not the ones doing the parenting. I really don’t care if they do or don’t let their kids watch tv or make them eat all the vegetables in the world. Great for you but really why do we even care?

huh on

Lila, I agree.

While I agree that limiting TV is best, it doesn’t mean other kids that watch more than two hours a week don’t like or aren’t as good in other areas. We limit our three year old to an hour or two a day and he still loves books, is beginning to read, knows the alphabet and numbers (and many other things/words) in two different languages and is all around smart and healthy. Gets daily physical and mental activity–in other words, well-balanced.

Lynn on

Anne, I let my kids watch tv and I let them play video games and I also let them go to the park, ride bikes, take art class, swim, participate in several sports camps, participate in cub scouts, and many other things. I don’t feel one bit of guilt about my children watching tv (that I approve and know is appropriate for their age).

It feels more like parents being condescending when they feel the need to constantly tell us that their kids don’t watch tv, instead they read books or play outside. As if kids who watch tv are unable to read or are just lazy. It sounds more like you trying to justify your decisions and wanting people to agree with you.

Lau on

I’m with Lila here. Of course, moderation is good for a young child, but watching more than two hours of TV per week won’t necessarily alienate them or make them not want to do anything else.

That being said, I love Julianna so much!

sara on

Ratty, she’s not talking about adults. She doesn’t make TV shows for kids. So what she does for a living isn’t relevant to her point about how much TV *kids* watch. She also isn’t saying TV is completely evil, just that *too much* isn’t good. That’s not the same as not allowing it at all. If you’re going to snark on someone, you might want to actually understand their arguments first. Otherwise you just look like an idiot.

tennisfan on

We basically do the same thing with our young children, but make exceptions for certain events that the whole family watches (such as tennis matches). We also always DVR everything so that we can speed through commercials – I find them annoying anyway and do not mind my children missing out on them.

KSG on

She says it’s a lot more work for the parents to play with their kids instead of plopping them down in front of the TV. She says she works 16 hours a day–so someone else is playing with him/reading to him–it’s no more work for her. Just saying…..

Bobbi on

I really don’t understand why all these television stars restrict their children’s tv time. Isn’t that what they do for a living? I understand restricting what they watch, but have they not seen all the educational television out there! My kids know more about the gov’t and all the wars than they would ever learn in a class room! It amazes me what they know about history, music, the arts, you name it. These entertainers are just trying to sound smart and are trying to look like a good parent to ease their guilt of neglecting their kids. IDIOTS!

Dawn on

I think a lot of people like to look like they are better than others because they don’t “waste” their time watching mindless TV. Well, it’s not all mindless. Watching TV as a family has giving us countless hours of fun and laughter.

Of course there is more to life than TV, I just think it’s get a bad rap. Life is all about balance and people who don’t watch TV, are missing something too.

But I do understand she is talking about 4 year old. As much as kids love TV, I also think they love to spend time playing and reading etc with their parents. They actually do love spending time with us at that age.

Kay on

I probably allowed my sons to watch too much television when they were growing up. I rarely restricted the time; I did supervise what they watched.

I do think limiting time for kids is good. But, for crying out loud, what’s wrong w/allowing a child to watch some tv while you’re busy cooking dinner, for example? That may be using the tv as a babysitter in a way. But how much interaction are they going to have while you’re pre-occupied w/cooking? It might even be dangerous. Also, while you shower or to to the bathroom? It’s truly a PITA to have a child knocking on the door every 2 minutes, “Mommy, I need this”, or “Mommy, I need that”.

Sometimes parents have to consider their own sanity as well.

Bobbi on

Speaking of dinner Kay, my kids and I like to watch cooking shows together to get some ideas for dinner the next day. Is there something wrong with that ER nurse?

m on

who cares? I let my kids watch TV pretty much every day–but not ALL day. We craft, paint, play outside, meet friends, cook, build, read, learn–I don’t feel the slightest amount of guilt for giving myself a little break in the day. If it means I’m nicer and happier the rest of the day, that’s a gift to my kids.

If you’re a working mom and only home from 5:30-9 pm I imagine it’s much easier to limit television. Those are the busiest hours anyway.

I’ve always thought there was something to be said for removing the novelty of TV. My mom always had the TV on and I NEVER watched it as a kid or as a teenager. I don’t really notice any difference between my kids and kids who aren’t allowed TV. I dated a guy who grew up without a TV and his dad was really pious about it–but none of their kids were anything exceptional.

To each his own! We don’t all have to be the same to be great moms. I’m a great mom, and I’m sure most of you are too!

Noonah on

Really, people, you are making me laugh. So what if Julianna Margulies and Julia Roberts are in the movies? Does it mean that their kids have to be in front of the screen 24/7? If I work in a bakery, should I only feed my children cakes and candy? Neither Julia nor Julianna is telling people how to raise their children, they just share what they are doing. And besides, I don’t remember Julianna being in any kids’ shows, and her son is a tad young to watch ER anyway.

Donna on

More parents need to take note here and do the same. She is absolutely right in limiting his TV watching. Kids today don’t know how to interact anymore. They are glued to the TV, their computer or some other gadget. I get tired of it.

Sarah on

I recently made a similar change with my four-year-old, who was watching an hour or more a day. I had been afraid to limit TV because it gave me a break and seemed to make my days easier. The issue of TV became a battle, though, because no matter how much I left her watch, she asked for more.

Fridays are now movie days, and there are no movies or TV shows on the other days. My daughter pitched a couple of fits when we first put the rule in place but very quickly started spending more time drawing, looking at books, and playing dress-up. She’s gotten great at entertaining herself, and we’ve been spending more quality time together, too.

stacie on

It’s so easy for these parents who have nannies to limit tv time. For the rest of us it’s how we are able to do laundry and make dinner. I’m so over celebrities preaching about what amazing parents they are when in the same article she says has to work long hours on the set. If I only saw my son on the weekends I would limit his TV time too. Also if I had all the help celebrities have I’d be the best parent ever but at least my son gets to see me seven days a week! So what if he watches more than two hours of TV a week.

JMO on

I think if you can limit tv time or not have it on at all that’s great. But lets face it the tv is on for the parents sanity too! I however would much rather my kid watch some educational program on tv then be engaged in video games for hours!

Anonymous on

*eye roll* My kid’s love books as well, Julianna. Lots of kids do!

Donna on

Well, I limit my tv time-I don’t watch her “soap opera”.

Donna on

Hey, Anonymous razzing on Ratty-she is being sarcastic, dumb-a$$.

Diana Lopez on

You can’t and shouldn’t blame television for your child’s behavior, that’s silly. It’s one thing to let them watch it 24 hours a day and let them watch whatever is on, and another to let them do it in moderation. My niece loves her cartoons and she still reads more than children her age, is creative and loves the outdoors as well. Moderation is key.

Karah on

Moderation is definitely key but “moderation” is different for each family. Some would only say that means an hour a week for others it could be a couple of hours a day. There isn’t anything wrong with that.

As a family we try hard to keep the tv off. The kids watch anywhere from an hour to 3 a week depending on the weather. They are creative children who love to read, make up plays, and use their imaginations, although I think some of it has to do with the less tv time (because they have more of an opportunity) I think they would be that way with more tv watching as long as it’s not in excess. I just prefer to keep it off because I hate the noise and the fact that my kids seem to fight a lot more when they have it on.

Stephanie on

I have to agree with the people stating how annoying it is to hear celebrities discuss this limiting TV topic.

I am a stay-at-home mom and yes, I realize there was a time when TVs were not an option so moms had to find activities to do with their children, which I certainly do. However, my son does watch an hour of TV a day as well as spend lots of time being active and social each and everyday.

I just think these celebrities that are working are not in a position to give this sort of parenting advice. They are not the ones raising their children from morning to night daily. If you are going to throw out comments like this, make it useful and tell us what sorts of other activities you do with your son instead of TV. You seriously do not sit there and read books all day.

When they say things like this, it is not helpful to a parent community. It is almost condescending. You have the money for your child to have a nanny as well as be enrolled in all kinds of sports and classes to keep him busy all day. I’m lucky if I can come up with the money for my son to be in one activity outside of preschool (which costs a whole lot on its own!)

Deb on

To Lynn and Stacie, I thought the same thing, the nanny does the limiting not her. Watched an interview of hers the first year “The Good Wife” started and she stated she and her husband don’t get home til 6-7pm everynight. It makes me laugh everytime a celebrity announces their childrens food and entertainment schedules, like we’re suppose to believe “they” do all this with their kids(schedules) but they work the hours of an ER Dr. Just wondering what she and her hubby do with those 2 hrs on the weekend the kid is watching TV? Is that their showering time or canoodling time? Or maybe they should let the kid watch Tv during the week so mom and dad can spend the whole entire weekend with him. Since their work hrs are so hectic.


Oh honey … if he’s just watching 2 hours of tv a week, he will definitely not know what the other kids are talking about. How do I know? I work at a school and this just happened the other day and this kid gets to watch a lot more tv than 2 hours a week. It’s all about balance.

Feiger on

I think Julianna is just stating what her son does not do when he is at home. I know that she was raised with a strict “no TV” rule as a child [which does eventually leave gaping holes in pop culture references when kids start to reminisce about their childhood at high school and/or college] even though her father was a legendary jingle writer from TV commercials.

As for me & my sisters, there were things we were not allowed to watch growing up & we usually watched TV one hour a day. Since we could not play sports due to a neurosurgical condition, we read books, watched TV for an hour [my father used to cut letters from construction paper & pin them on our bedroom door “NO TV” as a form of punishment…apparently it was the only thing that would make us tow the line] or went outside…of course, when my mother returned to work, all bets were off & we indulged in pre-remote control, pre-cable TV in the summertime. [We were supposed to walk up to a non-air conditioned school/day camp & sweat the hours away but we decided to secretly stay home & fill up on…Chico & the Man reruns! Love Boat reruns! CBS soaps! AS THE WORLD TURNS, CAPITOL, GUIDING LIGHT and THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS! All the ice cream & air conditioning you could want! Who could ask for more?]

Years later, when I was 23 & my sisters had safely made it through college, the parental units were informed. Sadly my three lovely nephews won’t have that freedom today: they are in daycare & school from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. like most children. They will have different memories, but they will be happy nonetheless.

nats on

OMG give her an award for mother of the year, STFU, I hate mother’s like this. my child is 12 has watched T.V all her life started reading at 2 and read college level books. Stupid celebrities. I used to like her now not so much!