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TV....and being a SAHM

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
I hate the TV...Really I do.

But here it is-the only way I get any time alone in a day is when my children are watching it. Showering, reading email, cleaning and chores by myself- all rely on TV.

What do you do? HOw do you get a moment alone without the TV? I feel really awful using it (isn't that the SAHM stereo type- kids plugged in in front of the TV?) but I have no other ideas and frankly sometimes I do need to do things alone. Not all the time but sometimes.

Since I simply MUST do somethings alone lets not provide ideas on how to incorporate my children into *MY* potty time or any of my other "alone" activities which I selfishly indludge in while the boob tube is on. Instead I am looking for ideas other than TV to keep toddler and baby occuped while I do them.

Or maybe you think there is nothing wrong with TV? I was a "no TV ever" kind of mom until my second child was born and after much anguish I decided to allow some tv...now I teeter with how much is "some" and how much is "too much" so if you have thoughts on that please share. Also is some TV better than others? Are videos "TV"?

I really need your help because now my son is begging for TV from the moment he wakes up and what was "a little TV" feels like it has become an obsession- mabye addiction to him and I need to break him of it...maybe do a TV off day or week-or maybe figure out how to go back to no tv...but I can't figure out how to do that without giving up all my alone time that TV gave me.

*selfish mommy wants to shower alone!*
post #2 of 61
You didn't mention the ages of your kids. My dd is almost 4 and we don't let her watch any "TV" for many reasons. We do let her watch a DVD when she wants. The two main reasons we don't let her watch TV are 1). to avoid the IMO unethical direct marketing of commercials to kids and 2). when it's over, it's over and it's easier for children (again, IMO) to understand that when it's over, unlike TV which is neverending, it's over. There times where she will go a whole week without asking for a video. Some days she'll ask to watch 2. I'd guess that she watches less than 5 hours of TV per week.

So, since I have the one dd, I can't help with the baby, but the activities here that will keep dd busy by herself for long stretches (an hour or more) are: looking at and "reading" (when she has them memorized) books, puzzles, playdough and shape makers, foam shapes and glue sticks, safety scissors and construction paper, any notebook with squares or funny lines or checkbook register, etc., play silks, a picnic in a homemade tent with blankets. That's all I can think of right now. HTH!
post #3 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic
You didn't mention the ages of your kids.
toddler two and a half and baby 8m.
post #4 of 61
We don't have a tv and never have. My kids are older (3 and 6), but when they were younger it was hard to have a moment alone, especially before my oldest started preschool at almost 4. He followed me into the bathroom and all that stuff.

But starting when he was about 2, my ds began to play independently. Not for really long periods of time, but I could set him up at a sinkful of water while I read a book for 20 minutes, or he would play with his duplos or his train tracks. It started out with him doing this while I was in the room, and gradually got to the point where I could run upstairs to check the email for a couple of minutes while he was occupied.

I mention this because your ds at 2 is just at the age where he would be starting these kinds of independent activities, but by conceding to his desire for tv, you're taking away the opportunity for him to figure it out on his own. I don't mean to criticize you! I completely understand the longing for 20 minutes to call your own. And there were times I thought that if only I had a tv, those 20 minutes would be mine. Believe me, I relished every bit of reading time that I sneaked away from him.

Since they don't rely on tv, my kids now do entertain themselves for long enough each day that I can pursue some independent activities myself. Not for hours, of course, but enough that I can feel sane. So what I'm saying is, it may be really tough now (especially with a baby!) but I think that the long-term benefits (to you and your kids) of yanking the tv now will outweigh the convenience of depending on it. And since it sounds like you really do hate tv, that's what I'd encourage you to do.

Once your baby turns two, your kids will start to play together. It seems like a long time away, and it is, but it does happen. Meanwhile, I echo Velochic's suggestions: scissors, paper, crayons and especially anything connected with water really did the trick for me. Oh, and the vacuum hose. My ds was addicted to that thing. It enabled me to finish many a chapter...

Hang in there...
post #5 of 61
Thread Starter 
I wish I had never turned the TV on...it started as a way to nurse the baby without the older one freaking out...and then it just has slowly crept and is now taking over my toddler's brain. TOTALLY.

So far I have kept it to ONLY PBS and Tapes we get from the library like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and videos about trains and of course Thomas the Train (thanks Grandpa!)

I like the idea of saying only yes to videos becuase they end...I do find that the endlessness of TV makes it harder to turn off once it is on...also the angst when the show he wants isn't on is very stressful. I will start that today.

I agree that by using the TV I have cheated him of learning to play alone...Thank you for your post...I am going to try to work towards no TV again. I know I can do it...I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN Just please let me have my shower. It isn't that I can't shower with my children it is that I don't WANT TO!
post #6 of 61
I have moderate TV time in our house. TV can be a useful tool for learning and entertainment. We have a large collection of toddler/preschool vidoes, 90% of them educational. On the really hard days where I'm feeling sick or tired, I will have the TV on more, but they get bored of it and soon ignore it. I actually find that they fight less and play better together with it off. My dd1 will get bored and find things to do. Today she got into her art supplies and did some really creative things. Dd2 explored the kitchen tools.

What I kinda resent is that I used to watch a couple of favorite daytime shows, and now I don't get to as much. They are not appropriate for children. I am not going to invest in Tivo either, because I would never find the time to watch it after they go to bed.
post #7 of 61
Darshani,
I have a similar philosophy to yours. I am very careful to monitor the time spent watching--and many days we don't watch at all. But on days when I am very ill or I have a sick child that wants to watch a little television, I let them. I also have some dvds that we all enjoy as a family. Those are fun for the kids to share.

Mommymine, just do what works best for your family. You are your own boss as as SAHM, so it is okay to self monitor your screen time for your kids. By watching their responses and taking notice of their individual needs (adjusted by family circumstances) decide what will work well for your children.

hugs,
Lisa
post #8 of 61
Mommy m, don't feel guilty! There are times when life is about balancing. I grew up in a no tv house, and because of that, was a t v addict for awhile/other extreme. Same with junk food, but that;s another story!
I think it's better to have balance. But only you know what works for you, I say if taking a shower alone makes you a better mama, do it!
post #9 of 61
Though it sounds like alot my kiddos watch about an hour of TV per day. They watch Noggin only, and only the shows that I approve of (little bear, Jacks big music show or miss spider). They typically watch a little, play a little. It started because my oldest (at 6) was really beginning to resent that she couldn't watch TV at home like she could at her bio-mom's. These shows come on late enough in the day that she can come home from school, do whatever school work she needs to do, have a snack and then watch a bit of TV. It gives me the advantage of being able to start and check on dinner frequently. This compromise really helps bridge the difference between the two households for her, before the contrast was too stark and she really felt deprived. She plays very independently, and loves to create artwork.

I wish I could offer you some suggestions about your alone time, the age difference between my kids means that while I couldn't fit in a shower I can certainly run off to switch a load of laundry or go to the bathroom while the kiddos occupy each other. I wait to shower until my husband is home or my mother can watch the kids. Good luck!
post #10 of 61
We don't moderate his tv usuage but we don't have cable either so he has his movies and we buy him seasons of the shows that he does like. He spends a good portion of the day playing with the cats or with his stuff though. I grew up glued to the tv and I hardly watch it anymore.
post #11 of 61
We got rid of the tv earlier this year and it was by far the best thing we ever did! The kids are so great about occupying themselves now and there has been a HUGE improvement in their imaginative play. They are 4.5, 2, and 7 months. My youngest ususally comes from room to room with me and I wear her while I clean or cook and when she feels like it I set her down with something interesting to explore (utensils, storage containers, plastic combs and wooden brushes, etc). The older 2 find stuff to keep themselves busy because they really don't have a choice. Books are a favorite and they spend hours reading or looking through books. I got a bunch of big picture books and photography books and they love to look through the photos of Japanese nature scenery, photos of artwork, pictures of mammals, etc. They are fascinated by things like that. I also got rid of all the electronic toys and they spend hours building with blocks, setting up the train table, playing with little people, playing dress-up. Having less toys seems less overwhelming to them when they are looking for something to do.

Another thing that works well for us is to have a stockpile of things that can be pulled out on those difficult days. Something interesting, unusal, messy, quiet, or whatever else the situation might call for. I can't tell you how many hours were unexpectedly taken up by a magnetic chess set or some interesting flash cards (they enjoyed making up games and stories about the pictures on each one). A big roll of white wrapping paper and some washable markers will always entertain the 2 yo (and my 20 month old neice I care for a couple of days a week) and the bonus is we end up with some creative wrapping paper for gifts :LOL Beads and string or a ball of yarn prove quite fun (the older ones like to stick things in the ball or unravel it and the baby likes to grab in up in bunches and feel it in her hands and fingers. Even empty (and clean) yoghurt containers are fun. They collect treasures, fill it with coins or toy food, make maracas for marching parades, or turn it into a garage for their hotwheels. The baby likes to bang the lid and the container into each other or anything else within reach or just gum everything.

Their are so many alternatives, the key is having the motivation (or lack of a convenient distraction) to discover everything ELSE there is to do
post #12 of 61
I wanted to add something about the DVDs we DO let dd watch that helps us keep the TV watching under control. The videos we do let her watch that are kids shows are not aired in the US. We go to Amazon.uk to buy our videos (we have a multi-region DVD player), so for starters, the shows dd would want to watch aren't even on TV in the US.

Secondly, you might want to try letting your kids watch CLASSIC Black and White movies and shows. For some reason, my dd (will be 4 in Feb.) absolutely LOVES black and white movies and older classics. Sound of Music is her favorite movie. And they are almost guaranteed to be quality shows with no sex or violence. Dd can identify Loretta Young or Dick Van Dyke easier than she could a Sesame Street character.
post #13 of 61
My son is TV free. There are times when I let him watch a DVD (I am in uni and also work from home) -- for those times, we have Muzzy which is a foreign language programme on DVD for kids. We do French. (My ds is growing up bilingual in German and English already, so this is his 3rd language.) This way, I feel that it's not just 'parking' him in front of the TV but he is learning and having fun at the same time.

http://www.early-advantage.com/
post #14 of 61
Velochic- Which UK videos do you buy? I used to live in England but didn't pay attention to kids shows then. I'd be VERY interested in getting some UK based kids videos!

Feel free to pm or email me!!!
Thanks,
Liz
Ps. Have you ever had a problem watching UK dvd's on a usa dvd player?
post #15 of 61
We have gone both ways. We were TV free for a long while, and just recently got cable again. There are pros and cons to both ways. I agree with a pp about balance. We strive to make our life balanced in all ways. My dc do watch tv....but even when it is on, they will leave and go play or look at books...and I will be left watching Franklin,. Watching TV does not decrease my dc's imagination...or activity levels....or attention spans. But when my friend's son watchs TV he wants to do nothing else and cant get away from it, he will sit for HOURS. I guess it also just depends on each individual child as well, and what you are comfortable with. I dont have a problem turning on the TV and then taking advantage of that time. THough, mostly everyone will still follow me around. I want my dc to learn to have self control and moderate themselves. We used to never ever allow sugar of any sort....but then we relaxed a little, and we are working hard on helping our dc to not gorge themselves on candy when it is right there...the opposite effect of what we were striving for. I dont want TV to be the same sort of struggle.
post #16 of 61
I'm thrilled to find a thread like this!!
post #17 of 61
Thread Starter 
OK well I bit the bullet and this morning allowed only ONE viewing of the Train video and then turned the TV OFF.

There was great yelling and gnashing of teeth. But I was finally able to get him playing. It took a lot to get the younger one nursed and down for a nap with the older one bugging us...but again- finally that happened too.

I was even able (with some work) to get an alone shower.

I do agree about the balance thing. I was kept from TV and junk food and I rebelled too. But I know I needed less and I think the video only idea is good because it is easier to end when it is over.

Thanks all-

and I am glad I am not the only one with the TV on.
post #18 of 61
We are TV-free here. I think it is less of an issue for us, because DH and I were TV-free for years before DD was born, so we are used to living without one. We don't even have one; it's in storage. The last time I dug it out was when I was on bedrest during my pregnancy (DD's almost 15 months now.) Since DD has never had a TV in the house, it's a non-issue for her. She's had no choice but to learn other ways of entertaining herself, when I am busy with my own work.

I'm not too worried about the rebellion issue. I don't have a problem with her watching TV at other people's houses. She watches a ton at my mom's house. It's just something I choose not to have in my house.
post #19 of 61
We also moderatlly use videos or DVDs but not TV as DS can easily watch one video and turn it off but finds it hard to turn off TV as its 'not finished'. We tried no TV or videos about a year ago but DS would become obsessed by TV if it was on at other peoples houses and do nothing but stare at it. For us limited use of vid/dvds has not affected DS imagination or ability to play and entertain himself.

Things that he will play with independantly are: playdough, fridge magnets, wooden train set, legos, listening to a story or songs on CD, looking at books, simple puzzles, dress up, wooden building blocks.
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by llyra
I'm not too worried about the rebellion issue. I don't have a problem with her watching TV at other people's houses. She watches a ton at my mom's house. It's just something I choose not to have in my house.
Yes.

I grew up without tv and this was the most important lesson I learned. My mom always had a fit if she found that I'd been watching tv at friends or Grandma's house. She made it out to be totally forbidden fruit. I am much more relaxed about this than she was because I know that all those hours of Superfriends and the Love Boat didn't keep me from being the voracious reader and non-tv-watching person that I am today. The occasional Bob the Builder video my kids watch at their friends is no big deal to me.

I did have a tv for awhile when I was a young adult on my own for the first time, and I did watch it a fair amount. But by the time I had more concrete ideas about the way I wanted to live my life, the tv was gone.
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