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Help me go 'Almost TV Free' with a 2.5 year old.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
DD1 is almost 2.5. DD2 is 9 months. DD1 didn't watch any TV until she was about 18 months when DD2 came along. There was extreme jealously. I was trying to get the baby fed without DD1 freaking out and trying to take it easy postpartum to ensure that everything healed well. Enter a TV addiction for DD1.
On our very worst days, she might watch 4 or 5 hours in a day. A good day was only watching 2 hours.

Things have gotten a little bit better now. She doesn't watch TV on my watch, unless we're at my stepmoms house (every friday) where they watch Little Bear together. It's something special for them and sort of a routine. I'm ok with that. It's only an hour-ish of TV.

My DH and I are both students. I leave before my DH so he has the kids for about 90 minutes until the nanny gets there. The nanny does not let them watch TV. But it's sort of a morning ritual that DD1 wakes up and asks to watch TV and we say "not until Mommy goes to school" When I leave, they turn on the TV. It usually stays on until the nanny gets there (so, 1-2 hours). DH supports my desire to get DD1 un-addicted from the TV, but it's hard for him to say no to that. For one reason, he's not a morning person and isn't up for a fight. For another reason, saying "no" to a TV request elicits the biggest tantrums that you will get from my 2 year old (who is normally pretty agreeable). He's not so great a dealing with those tantrums/doesn't know how to diffuse them efficiently, etc. My MIL has them on Mondays and lets them watch excessive amounts of TV (like 5 or 6 hours a day!!!), but that's a whole other issue. It really bothers me, but we're trying to finda way to solve it that won't cause hard feelings. So we're working on supervised (or short) visits for next semester (by claiming that the nanny is tight on money and needs more hours ). The kids don't watch TV at night with me.

Anyway...our plan is this: I have made my schedule next semester to where The nanny arrives before or right around the time that I leave for school. That way DH isn't put on the spot when I leave for the day. Also, winter break is 4 weeks long. I'm hoping that this will be my opportunity to "de-tox" DD1 from her need for TV. I'm just going to put away the DVD player. I'm really hoping that in that 4 weeks, she find other ways to entertain herself and forget that the TV used to be an everyday habit.

My ideal situation is 3 or 4 hours of TV a week, only at a grandparent's house. (partially because I know that MIL will never say 'no' to TV if we are at her house nad partially because I don't have a desire to ban it completely, I just want to limit it; she enjoys watching it with her grandmothers [there are 3]).

I want some feedback on my plan for going Almost-TV-Free and what your experiences have been with going TV-Free or nearly TV-Free with a 2 or 3 year old (who really really liked TV!)

Thanks (and sorry my post is so long)
post #2 of 5
My son just turn 2 when we went TV-FREE. WOW!!! He is turning 5. Anyway, we just did it.

We started doing things different. Like going outside more, playing in the tub alot longer, getting more books from the library, and I love my audio books. The thing is to find more things to do.

Hope that helps
post #3 of 5
My DD was a bit older when I did this so it may not work as well at 2. I unplugged the TV and told her it was broken. I left it that way for a few weeks. She only cried the first day. It broke her of the habit and she learned to entertain herself in new ways. After a few weeks, the TV was "fixed" and I reintroduced it to her in only small amounts. Now the TV is only turned on once every few days, that's an amount I can live with.
post #4 of 5
I would say just do it. Just put the thing in the basement, closet, under some blankets, whatever.

I'm only saying this because you asked, and because you sound like you really really want to be (mainly) TV free.

I promise you a week after cold turkey, tv-free will be the new norm. We've done this many time with many different things over the years. (For example, with sugar, plain noddles with butter, nursing (an older toddler) to sleep, bottles of milk in the middel of the night (for older kids), hand held games, adding chores, earlier bedtimes, etc.) Decide on what you want things to really be like, then make them that way. I do feel I am responsible for helping my children through these changes, and for me that means comforting them through their tears, listening to them gripe, understanding that they may be out of sorts, and holding firm when I feel like giving in. I often will need to pay a lot more attention to them during these transition times, but I've never regretting jsut making the changes that need to be made and being supportive and loving as they adjust.

It'll be tough, but not as hard as you think.

I don't know what to do about your mother. What would she do if there just wasn't a tv in the house?
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by suziek View Post

I don't know what to do about your mother. What would she do if there just wasn't a tv in the house?

Well, we won't be getting rid of the TV all together (I have to compromise with DH somewhere).  We'll just be getting rid of the DVD player (which is pretty much the only thing she watches (she watches sprout, but not at our house, we don't have it, just basic cable).  So not having the DVD player would make it hard to let DD watch exactly what she wants, and I think it also effectively conveys the "we're not watching TV" message, but it wouldn't make it impossible.  She could still turn on PBS for them, assuming its the right time of day for the shows that she likes.  Also, MIL takes the kids to her house pretty much everytime she watches them because DD likes to feed her horses


But I think the MIL problem may be solved.  I may have worked by schedule out so that I will be home on the day that the nanny is off (meaning we will all visit MIL together if we see her that day).  DH will have them for without the nanny for about 3 hours at a time, 2 days per week.  I'm afraid that he may have the tendency to turn on PBS, but we'll wait and see what happens there.  He's slowly getting better about finding things to do with them. ...and I may have a "daddy box" of sorts that has fun things to do, only with daddy. (just have to think of what to put in it...)


Any other ideas about how to handle the transition would be appreciated.

If she asks why we can't watch TV, what reason do I give her (she's only 2.5)?  I don't really want to lie and say its broken

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