For those that do TV how to limit time (long, sorry) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I planned to do no TV until at least age 2yo but then had a horrible pregnancy (and m/c) when DS was about 17 - 19 months old so we had him watch a little Dora or Wonder Pets. He didn't really watch a whole episode from start to finish so it was really just like a little break when I was nauseous or emotionally upset. We really only offered a few times a week and sometimes DS would actually say no and want to do something else.

Fast forward to 25 months. DS started asking for certain shows and would watch the whole episode. Only select Noggin shows we tape for him and after one we could easily redirect him...

Well, now he is 28 months old and we have been allowing him to watch something (one show) almost every night then maybe 2 on the weekends for about a month. Recently, I've added an extra show here or there because I'm almost 35 weeks pregnant and exhausted. Sometimes he wants yet another one, although we don't give in if we've told him "just one" or "one more then stories" etc.

Yesterday I actually put on a movie (Cars) because I was so tired though

Possibly relevant information: I have a medical condition that causes me to be extremely fatiqued unmedicated and I can NOT take the medication while pregnant and have to be on a very modified schedule while bf. I will probably continue to go med free until almost 3 months so LO is not exposed to any meds right after birth.

DH is doing all the cooking and most laundry at this point on top of a very demanding job. We do have someone to help out with heaving cleaning. I don't know what else to do?

We have very few toys because DS does not really play with them for long. We bought a train table and he will use that longest, maybe 20 minutes on a good day but usually just wants to climb all over us unless watching TV. He will use objects (toys or household items) in novel ways but for just 10 minutes. He does not like to draw, use play dough, or do anything at the table AT ALL.

He will build (Duplos) with Daddy for 30+ minutes but there is not much time for that now. We do read every night at least 30 minutes before bed. I try to do more reading other times but sometimes he just won't sit still. We do not have a backyard.

Thanks to anyone who has made it this far. I didn't intend to write a novel but it just kept coming...
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#2 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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Oh, mama. Turn on the Noggin and lie down on the couch, right now!

OK, maybe don't actually do that Not because it would hurt your ds, but because you are far-seeing enough to realize that you do not want him to develop a TV habit while you are so exhausted and unwell that you will find it hard to break when you are back on your feet again.

I let my kids (3 and 5) watch episodes of Nick Jr. stuff and nature programs that I've loaded onto our Netflix instant viewing queue ($9.99 basic membership - sooo much cheaper than cable!). I also have a portable DVD player and they watch movies on that (when I was pg, they could watch them in my bedroom while I lay down and closed my eyes - very helpful!). What I've found is that when they have open access to a TV, they just turn it on and watch whatever. When they video content is limited by the format of Netflix or the DVD player, they make conscious choices about what to watch walk away when the episode is over. That's what works for us.
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#3 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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honestly in your situation I wouldn't worry about it too much. If there was ever a time for you to cut yourself some slack now is it.

Once you can be back on your medication and stuff then work on it. its only a few more weeks now right? things that help are getting out of the house, maybe institute quiet time (this will come in handy whenyou need to get the baby down for a nap. and it will also help him learn how to entertain himself for an hour or two.

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#4 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 04:30 PM
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It sounds like you have a very nice regulated routine down, and it's working for everyone. I haven't found it to be impossible to do some limited TV, and to do less if it seemed like it was getting to be an issue. Right now, with your situations, you deserve some serious slack! You are not scarring him for life. A quick TV show once a day is better than a seriously upset/even more fatigued mama. Seriously!
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#5 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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Oh, mama. Turn on the Noggin and lie down on the couch, right now!

OK, maybe don't actually do that
nak
oh, heck, do it!

dd watched almost nothing until i was pg right after she turned 2. and then the m/s hit. ugh. this girl got 3 hours in th AM while i tried not to vomit and sat next to her with my eyes closed.
i cut back some but even at the end of my pg ( being still nauseous and exhausted beyond belief) she was watching more than i was comfortable with. now that ds has arrived we have cut back and she gets to watch something with dh in the evenings most nights but nothing in the day.

it wasn't a big deal. I felt guilty while i was pg but i really needed it and now it's been fine to stop it. do what you need to do, mama.

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#6 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the understanding and support! My concern is that I'll actually be MORE tired once I go back to work (as I was with DS) so we're really talking about the rest of this school year -- another 6 months...

Also, the "only one episode" has evolved to 1 -2 on the weeknight depending on how tired we are and 1-2 in the morning and 2 at night (so 2+ hours of TV total) on Saturday. Sunday really depends on whether we get to church. I see a trend basically more TV over time

I'm almost completely useless off my meds and barely functional while bf due to minimal meds. I ebf DS for 18 months then got pregnant so I've basically not been pulling my weight for over 2 years and it will be another 18+ months until fully medicated and functional. DH has been very understanding. It just seems like too long

DH loves TV so he doesn't think it's a problem though. I'd like to get some precooked meals or something and have DH take DS out in the evenings but DH likes to cook. Actually MIL is coming in December and will cook she will stay at least 1 month maybe 2 so for awhile maybe they will do more outside. But then it will get dark earlier so maybe no time during the week go go to the park?

I'm just looking for any ideas...
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#7 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just FYI when MIL she sometimes has to wait until one of us comes home to cut something because she is post-stroke paralyzed on one side so cannot do much clean up either. Also, she can't help much with DS because she can not carry him
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#8 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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honestly in your situation I wouldn't worry about it too much. If there was ever a time for you to cut yourself some slack now is it.

Once you can be back on your medication and stuff then work on it. its only a few more weeks now right? things that help are getting out of the house, maybe institute quiet time (this will come in handy whenyou need to get the baby down for a nap. and it will also help him learn how to entertain himself for an hour or two.

How do you get them to be quiet though?!? I've tried with DS but it only works if I am in the room with him laying down! DH does not have the same effect and not an option on Sunday when DH works his second job...
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#9 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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This is just my opinion and I realize I might be "wrong" but I had much less of a difficult time with screen time when dd was very young when I felt that what she was watching was not associated with commercial products or designed to be for low attention span viewing. In other words, I preferred to have dd watch things that were either calming or not going to result in her asking for the "stuff" that goes with it. It is still "screen time" but made me feel a little better about it. I checked out a lot of calmer nature videos from the library. Not even necessarily about animals, sometimes about places or space or natural phenomenons. We also liked to find older musicals and family movies that are no longer popular enough to be a marketing tool. My dd was OBSSESSED with Fiddler on the Roof from age 2-3 yo. There are two scary scenes to had to skip (just a warning in case you decide to go with that). Dance DVDs like ballets or global dance fascinated her. Etc.....

If you need down time and this is the one thing that works, I would not feel guilty. Sometimes you do what you have to do....
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#10 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I have no idea where to find these, but I remember when I was a kid we had some read along books with tapes. They were picture books with an accompanying recording of the story, there was usually a chime to tell you when to turn the page. Maybe those would entertain him without you or dh? We also had a few records and audio tapes of kids programs, like old radio shows. Maybe check your library for things like these. It's still kind of passive entertainment, but maybe it's not as bad as real screen time?

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#11 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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I had a similar situation- occasional TV devolved into more frequent TV when I was preggo and tired, and then it was a habit for DS (who was 2.5 when his sis arrived) and I didn't want to argue about it all the time so kept giving in. It got to the point where any time he got the slightest bit bored he'd be begging for TV and I hated it.

Maybe a month ago I made a simple chart- printed out a sheet of paper saying "Jamie's TV and Computer Time." Contact papered it. Printed out a picture of a TV and two computers, cut them out, contact paper, velcro on the backs. Made a pocket out of more contact paper and stapled it to the chart. Now, when he wants to watch a show he gets a token from the pouch and puts it in its spot on the chart. The computers each represent a half hour of computer time.

It worked GREAT for us. I mean amazing. He went, almost overnight, from watching what some days ended up being hours of TV and I don't know how much computer time, to exactly ONE half hour show a day and two half hour computer sessions. He tends to use them up all in a row in the morning, which can be a drag for me when I'm tired at the end of the day. But I find it works as a great control for both of us- tells us both when he's had his quota, and the chart becomes the boss, so I don't have to constantly be the TV police.

The only time I make an exception is for an occasional movie that we watch together, which I save for when one or both of us is sick, or I'm just extra tired. I feel like the distinction between a TV show and a movie works to keep it from becoming constant TV begging again.

Anyway, good luck!

ETA: Meant to add, I wouldn't necessarily start something like this at 35 weeks pregnant! You might really need the extra downtime right now, and that's OK. But it's something you can have in the back of your mind for the future, after baby is here and things have started to settle down somewhat. Be kind to yourself! I mostly wanted to tell you that just because you're doing a lot of TV now, doesn't mean it will be that way forever.

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#12 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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How do you get them to be quiet though?!? I've tried with DS but it only works if I am in the room with him laying down! DH does not have the same effect and not an option on Sunday when DH works his second job...
well once the baby came quiet time was during naps and there may have been some sort of death threat involved if they woke the baby. (jk) also they knoew if they would let the baby sleep I would read them stories or something during her nap and that is when we would get out art projects and playdough. (how does your son feel about playdough. Get like a zillion cookie cutters, a few extruders, rolling pens, and some molds - look at good will and rummage sales for misc playdough stuff - my friend would unroll a tarp and dump everything out. she had just a big wad of playdough in a gallon tub. when the kids were done she would put all the play dough back into the one tub, all the "stuff into a bin and shake the tarp off outside. messy without being too messy. the key is to not make it fancy.)

for quiet time we had books and toys that only came out for quiet time. I would let them do whatever they wantecd so long as they stayed on their bed. I would start with 10- or 15 minutes a day and move it up 5 minutes every couple of days. Its is kinda high maitenence until they get the message. I would grab a book (for me not them) and sit outside their door. if they tried to come out or made too much noise I would correct them right away and send them back. it make take 5-6 weeks to get him consistantly staying in bed for 30-60 minutes but it will be worth it. at first it might even help to have two shorter rest periods (babies usually take a morning and afternoon nap anyway and if you can get him to hang tight for 30 minutes each nap that is the equivilant of two shows....

spome suggestions for quiet time activities....large beads with a shoe lace or lacing cards. special coloring books and crayons (crayola makes that special paper and markers....color wonder i think...awesome for this), stickers, a big tub of match box cars, a big bag of puppets (I found finger puppets at IKEA for cheap and hand puppets at target in the dollar bin), tape...yeah just regular tape, etch a sketch, one of those pin things, magnadoodle, chalk board or paint the back of his door with chalk paint (thats what I did), puzzles, and MP# player with music and stories, maybe a pop up tent would be a good place for quiet time...a tent makes everything cooler. especially if you said "you can only go in this for quiet time and once you come out you can't go back until quiet next quiet time."

but cinsistancy and routien are the most important thing for getting kids used to quiet time.

someone commented on books on tape...OH HECK YES!!!! My kids are 13, 9 and 6 and still love these. our library has HUNDREDS. you can check them out a month at a time up to 30 at a time.

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#13 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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We watch tv and I do try to limit it to 1-2 hours a day. My DD is 4, but she's probably watched Sesame Street since she was 1 or so.

We do "TV Time". At 4:30, I turn on the tv to watch Giada on the Food Network. DD usually watches with me and we snuggle. At 5, I use our "on demand" cable box and put on whatever she likes--could be anything from Angelina Ballerina to Wow Wow Wubbzie. Then I make dinner. At 6, the TV turns off and we clean up the house before Daddy comes home, then we eat.

But if I were sick (or when she is sick) I wouldn't feel bad about falling back on TV as a crutch. This too shall pass! Do what you have to do to feel better. He's probably still a bit too little for much independent play.

Also, if you are really feeling awful and can tell when the TV Time is verging into too much--could you look into having a neighbor kid come a few times each week and babysit for an hour two? Take him to the park or play in your backyard? Then maybe you could get some more rest?
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#14 of 20 Old 10-11-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Just a thought, as it seems like you're looking for alternatives to TV. (Although I echo pps that you're ALLOWED a break, and there are plenty worse things for your little guy to get into than Dora.)
I don't know if this makes me a horrible parent, but I actually like some of the marketing stuff... I feel like it's easy to transition my daughter into coloring (Elmo coloring books! Dora coloring books!), or reading (we get all sorts of books from the library--everything from Thomas the Train, to Clifford, to Dora, whatever), and we do tons of flash cards. We play pretend all the time based on characters that she knows and loves. I'm prego too, though my pregnancy sounds like a piece of cake compared to you, and there were days this summer when I would take her out in the back yard and we'd look for "Swiper the fox." Of course, I'd do it from a lawn chair, and she'd run around silly!
Hey, whatever gets you through the day!

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#15 of 20 Old 10-13-2009, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions! Unfortunately, DS so far has no interest in drawing -- not with crayons or magna/aqua doodle anyway. We've also tried the markers that only work on the special paper. Nope

He also only recently started agreeing to hold play dough but will only roll it around for 1 - 2 minutes then says "All done!" I may get some cookie cutters, rolling pin, etc. He may be interested in making that stuff work.

We do read as often as he'll let me. He has recently shown an interest in the big infant flashcards someone gave us so maybe I'll pick up some geared more toward his age. Any ideas on where to get some good ones?

Just interesting -- he is the only kid I know who has no interest in stickers. None, zero, zilch

He also does not like puppets yet or the one baby doll I bought for him. He dumps out all his stuffed animals (all gifts) and plays in the basket -- but only for about 5 minutes.

We live in a "redeveloping" urban area so no neighbors with pre or teenage kids to help out and the back yard is really just a small strip of grass with a maybe 3 X 3 patio and A/C unit right there which DS is very interested in figuring out how to stick things in so outside is really not an option unless I get out the water table or some other "structured" activity and stay there which is still too hot for me even though the weather has cooled down some here recently.

I'm going to look into getting a pop up tent and the bead lacing may be more "active" he loves to figure out how to put things together...
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#16 of 20 Old 10-13-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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DS was never into arts and crafts either, especially on his own- he'd only do it with me, and that for only a short while. Ditto for just about every other activity. The only thing besides TV or computer that he'll do on his own for longer than a few minutes is books on CD, which someone else already mentioned. We borrowed a bunch from the library, dubbed the CDs, and either bought the books or had them already. He'll do that for maybe half an hour and I can rest. Right now he's listening to stories on CD, without books.

Aside from that he just shadows me all day long, either talking to me or sort of "helping" with whatever I'm doing. It's exhausting. But it's his temperament, I've had to accept that, and I know it will pass.

Anyway, sometimes I set a timer for 1/2 hour (you could start with less time) and tell him I'm going to have quiet reading time. I set out a few activities and books for him, set myself on the couch with a magazine or book, and relax. If he interrupts me, I either say "quiet reading time" or just point at the timer. I might give a little encouragement, like "You're doing so great while I have quiet reading time. Ten minutes left!" but I try not to interact much beyond that. I find that he sometimes sulks for a few minutes but usually finds something to do and does it.

Big hugs! I know it's SO hard.

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#17 of 20 Old 10-16-2009, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now busy at work so we're pretty much allowing 2 episodes almost every night but at least reading a book before each...
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#18 of 20 Old 10-16-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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I normally rarely let DS watch TV during the day. But I had morning sickness so badly with this pregnancy that DS was watching multiple hours of TV every day. It got really really bad, but it was literally all I could do to get out of bed and make him some food and turn on the TV. In fact, there were days he went and got his own food (cheese sticks and apples, the only thing he can serve himself) and turned on the TV. DS wasn't even 3 yet, so he didn't really know how to change channels and would end up watching either ESPN or Food Network or something like that.

Fast forward a few months. DS started half-day preschool and I'm doing so much better I'm back to taking care of things. TV has pretty much gone to the wayside again. DS hasn't really asked for TV much since starting school and I have the energy to make him lunch and engage him when he comes home. I guess this is my really long-winded way of saying even if you have to rely on TV for the short-term, it doesn't doom you to a lifetime of addiction.

As for alternatives, have you tried introducing board games? DS loves board games and it's a relatively quiet activity. I think that anything that entertains them for 10-15 minutes at this age is pretty good. I don't know if you can hope for much more than that.
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#19 of 20 Old 10-16-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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No real advice from me. Just wanted to say I'm another mother who fell victim to "too much television when pregnant with second child-syndrome and now feels oppressive guilt because it becomes my crutch when I need a break".






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#20 of 20 Old 10-16-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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Mostly one 30 minute video a day... . when kids or mom is sick or dad is travelling we do a bit extra (my kids are 3 and 5).

One idea - we do the cd/picture book combo and once DD turned three I would do cd chapter books and put them on during quiet time while she played. That still works for us in a big way!

Our library has an online site and we can do TumbleBooks, which are picture books that are read outloud. The pages turn and there are basic animations. It is sometimes a good alternative to a video. Your library might have some neat stuff like that when you're desperate.
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