toddler and screen time - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-15-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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When I first got pregnant 3 years, I was determined not to let my child be in front of screens. Life happened, and now my 2.5 year old daughter really enjoys all smartphones and iPads. She can navigate any device she gets her hands on even faster than I can. She learned the whole alphabet on the iPad before 2 years old, and loves to watch music videos and follow along. 


My issue now is I believe she gets too stimulated from the iPad. She prefers to stay indoors to play with it, and if she uses it too close to bedtime, she doesn't want to sleep. And she will throw a tantrum when I try to take it away. I also think her attention span is short because of it. She cannot sit still for a story book from beginning to end. Or is this common in toddlers?


During visits to my family, I find it difficult to restrict her screen time because all my family members has 2-3 screens per person and that's just how they are.


At home, I try to limit it, but her father uses his iPad all the time so it's hard to tell her she can't use the iPad when he is. We just divorced and he's leaving end of the month, so that should stop soon. 


I was gifted the iPad on my birthday last year, but I think I should sell it and just really limit this at home so she can spend more times outdoors or with playmates. 


I'm hoping to hear other mama's experiences on best way to handle this screens vs no screens. 

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#2 of 9 Old 01-15-2014, 09:19 PM
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I don't have much advice but it sounds like you are on the right track questioning her screen time. My ds had an ipad and so do I. He loves it and if allowed he would( well maybe) play on it all day. I limit his time on it and he asks about three times a day. Mostly I will let him use it about 4 o'clock for 30 minutes. It also allows for me to check my email because if he sees me on mine he will want his. We have some cool drawing apps on his and also the digital copies of baby bug so I kinda justify it because at least he is reading and he is very artistic and and I know this not by using the ipad but because we are always doing crafts and such.
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#3 of 9 Old 01-16-2014, 10:47 AM
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All day long screen time has led to pre-bed tantrums and an inability to wind down at night lately because my FIL is glued to the tv while watching DD so I've considered putting a password to limit time or block it altogether.  My IL's don't have cable because they decided they don't want to pay for it, so he uses our tv to fill the void.  She's certainly not reluctant to go out and actually asks all the time so I'm grateful for that and I do go out with her in just about all weather even if it's brief because I don't want her to stop loving the outdoors.  DH is a bit of an electronic zombie on his phone all the time and I yell at him for it because he totally misses out on so much real life stuff.  I guess it's a good thing I don't have a smartphone or any sort of ipad so other than sitting down with my laptop, that's about as portable as I get!  Friends had asked about getting DD a leap pad for xmas this year and I told them flat out no.  She got a magnadoodle instead :wink

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#4 of 9 Old 01-16-2014, 01:23 PM
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I do find too much media is definitely over stimulating. You're going in the right direction in moving away from too much use. I think you can certainly build up her attention span with reading she has less access to screens. Go to the library and find books that will be very interesting to her and let her help pick. Maybe you can find books that have the same characters as the apps she uses, like curious George? Lots of sensory play like rice scooping, painting, bubble baths, etc are good ways to keep high energy little ones engaged but off screens...

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#5 of 9 Old 01-17-2014, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks mamas. I hid the iPad and she's sleeping better already. Amazing. I constantly distract her with crafts, toys, books, and she's starting to have longer attention span for books. 


sassyfirechick-- my dd has a Leap pad since 1.5 years old, but she doesn't care for it. It's not stimulating the smartphones or iPads or computers. She was frustrated with it because it wasn't touch screen, and doesn't have all the fun apps. 

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#6 of 9 Old 01-26-2014, 08:48 AM
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I've been working hard on limiting my toddler's screen time. My plan is to choose a time during the day when it's "Ipad time", set a timer for 20 minutes or so, then when it goes off, I say "All done. Bye-bye Ipad", then I put it away waaaaaay up high where there's no chance of him getting it or seeing it. That has led to MAJOR meltdowns so far, but he's getting used to it and last night, he actually just whined for a minute then let me distract him with something else. I'm doing the same thing with his favorite cartoon in the afternoon. He's not a big fan of this, but I think the structure is good for him and allows him to do what he loves within limits.

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#7 of 9 Old 01-26-2014, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, I can never limit my dd to only 20 minutes on the iPad. She will throw a tantrum. It's easier for me to hide it for the entire day. Out of sight, out of mind. 


Nowadays, I take it out when I really need her to go play by herself and none of her usual toys are working. 

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#8 of 9 Old 01-26-2014, 01:04 PM
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Yes I think hiding it is good! I wouldn't sell it if you use it bc that would not be fair to you! But I would not use it around her if you don't want her to. I also though wouldn't let her use it just to avoid a fit! Trust me from experience, it is a lot harder to break them of this later. I have a five year old I gave into way to much bc she was my first and only for four years and now she still throws fits and throws herself on the ground and there is no stopping it at the time! I'm working on stopping it altogether though. I don't see why just bc her dad is on his that she should be able to be on yours every time. Anyway the out of "sight out of mind"definitely works. I used to let my daughter watch a movie every night before bed and it became a habit so one day I just decided on school nights I wouldn't let her and I didn't tell her though. she didn't even realize it! So I was part of the problem bc before I would just put on a movie before bed bc it was "what we did!"

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#9 of 9 Old 01-31-2014, 11:54 AM
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We have similar issues with my 3.5 y.o. He seems to be addicted to watching Curious George on the iPad. It's the first thing he wants to do every single day as soon as he gets home from preschool. Until he's seen Curious George, he doesn't want to do anything else like play or go outside (in all fairness it's dead of winter so we're not exactly spending every afternoon outside anyway). He often pitches a fit when I take it away. I always count down the episodes (he usually gets 3, which is about 1/2 hour total) and have even given him three marbles and after each episode take one away so he has a visual reminder. Still, it doesn't always help. It's the crying and whining that make me think it's just a bad thing altogether. Some days are better than others. I find distraction helps, like having an activity for us to do right there and leading him right to it as soon as I turn the iPad off. In any case the crying and complaining usually doesn't last more than a minute or two. I also find that sticking to the same routine (like when and where he watches) and limit (three episodes / 30mins) does help....but I must admit I sometimes let him watch more if I'm busy cooking some intense meal or whatever. I think it would help if I only let him watch the 3 episodes and that's it, every time. Then he knows what the rules are and what to expect.


I agree that we as parents cannot be looking at screens and expect our kids not to want to. So I don't when I'm with him. I also got a bunch of Curious George books and he loves reading them at bedtime. It doesn't make him want to videos any less but still, it's something. I'm sorry I don't have much better advice but I'm with ya!

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