We watch movies together occasionally with my almost 2 YO son. Every time we do, we make a big deal out of it, with treat-type food and family time, etc. Is this bad for his attitude towards TV, like he will see it as a treat, reward, fun time? Should we tune down our excitement when we have movie nights? We space them apart about every 2-3 weeks.
TV as an occasional thing (treat?)
i think this is a great way to treat tv time. it is a treat and it can be fun.
i also like that the tv time he does have is together with you.
i think a worse attitude toward tv would be if it became something he just expected everyday or something he did instead of doing other things like playing or spending time with other kids, etc.
We have always done the "tv is a treat" thing and it really has backfired on me. My kids are now 10, 8, and 4 and watching tv has become a contentious issue in our house. We don't have tv really, but have netflix for the kids and every movie, every show has become an argument. Since tv time is so limited and sacred to them, they will each argue for an equal piece of the proverbial pie.
I am really stuck and don't know which way to go with it. If I had to do it all over again, I would have lightened up a lot years ago and just let the kids watch a little more and not make such a big deal about it. Instead, we did a family night movie each Friday with popcorn and too much excitement.
Fast forward and I now have kiddos who start Monday by arguing about what we are going to watch on Friday and scheming for more tv, more movies and constant comparisons to what happens at their friends' houses.
If you have fun movie nights and then your son ends up begging for more TV, you'll figure out how to deal with it. If you go low-key on movie night and then your son ends up begging for more TV, then you just lost out on a bunch of popcorn and cute toddler anticipation.
IME if screen time is at all an option, kids will want more of it. It's inevitable. 30-45 min a day of screen time is a limit I'm comfortable setting in our house. My kids do love TV but I keep the begging under control by structuring the day so they know when I'm going to say yes or no. If at some point that stops working I'll change it up. I'm trying to raise them with the principle that TV/electronics are fun but hard to turn off, so that's why we have a timer. We handle junk food in a similar way - limited quantities at a regular time. I'm not super-strict about enforcing when I don't have control over the environment either, like friends houses etc. When I am not dealing with tiny brains that are just developing language and imagination I think I will allow them more control and encourage them to self regulate, but for now we're good.
I think this is a very good point. I was doing the "fun" tv time thing mostly for my sake b/c it was during a time my DH HAD to be gone at the end of a long SAHM day! But I do know my son now (more than a yr later) craves tv many times. I think it's good to have a time out to enjoy a good movie for a rest-break, family-time type of situation but to not make a big deal of it and watch signs in your child that they are thinking too much on the issue.
i agree that it is nice when tv is a treat. for me it grew out of the annoyance of my ex constantly watching and even sleeping with it on. it drove me absolutely nuts! i found that my home was so much quieter without it on all the time. nowadays, it's a treat for us. when she goes to my granny's i have learned to allow her to relax the policy.
i've learned that there isn't an absolute right or wrong, you just have to do what works best and is manageable for your family.