please help me break out of the TV routine - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-06-2002, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been battling with the TV ever since ds was about 15 months old. He's now almost 2, and I'm determined to win this one. The problem is that I have really good days where I'm full of energy and ds is in a good mood, and we don't turn the TV on all day. Then a bad day will come along when ds is sick or teething, or I'm not feeling well, and the only think that stops the whining is turning on the tube, and we start falling back into old routines.

What I need is to establish a new routine, and figure out some things to do during the day other than let ds watch TV. I need suggestions both for things we can do together, and for ways to occupy ds while I do things that he can't really "help" me with (like balancing the checkbook, etc.)

We're going to be out of town all next week, so I think that should be long enough to get some space from the old routine, but I need a solid plan to start some new habits when we get back. Thank you!!
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Old 03-06-2002, 12:34 PM
 
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The television is a really difficult thing to try and separate from, isn't it? We don't have cable, but I know disconnecting isn't an option for alot of families, but if you decide to, it takes some re-adjusting. For alot of people, television is like a drug, and withdrawl is necessary (if they should so choose to disconnect).

This is a very interesting article about how TV works on our bodies like a drug:
http://www.sciam.com/2002/0202issue/0202kubey.html

I am not against TV, like all things, it is fine if used in moderation. But in the early years, when there is so much imprinting going on, watching TV is not the best way to spend free time. I am not an infinite well of motherly energy...none of us are. People were not designed to raise our kids in isolation...but that's a whole other topic!
We do an INSANE about of arts and crafts at my place, and spend alot of time outside.
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Old 03-07-2002, 12:56 AM
 
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There have been times when the TV has gotten out of control here too! I think that you are right that planning some routines would help you transition to less TV watching. Writing down routines has really really helped me. I also get up a little before my kids so I can be ready for the day when they get up, which really helps because I can focas on them instead of trying to get some clothes on

My kids are much more demanding when they have gotten in the TV habit and then I nix the TV (we've gone through this a few times : ) So just plan on the first week or two as being more of a pain than usual, but know that it will get better. Once they get used to making their own fun, they are much more imaginative all the time. In the mean time, plan some FUN FUN FUN for your little one. My kids love the craft recipes at http://www.theideabox.com/

There is nothing in this world quite as wonderful a warm, fresh playdough right off the stove!

A trip to the library will

1. take up time
2. provide you with new reading material
3. lead to something like a book of finger plays or action songs etc. (tell the librarian you want to wean your child off TV by using library resources and she will send you home with enough ideas to keep an army of tots happy)

You might also check around town and see if there is an afordable mommy/baby class of some sort.

My kids tend to want to help with everything, so when doing things they can't help with, I try to find them something simlar to play with. A cheap pad of paper, a few envelopes, and crayons will go a long way.

gotta go
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Old 03-07-2002, 01:29 AM
 
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we have finally tamed the tv beast in our family. but it took moving the boob tube into the basement in the guest room. Basically we can't watch it. But I honestly don't miss it anymore.

I thought I would but I don't and I love all of the time I have now. And my house is cleaner and I swear my 20 mth old dd is happier and more patient --she gets my full attention.

The drastic move was the key, I had a bit of withdrawal at first... but worth it.

good luck

me 71, dh 68, dd 00, dd 04
blissfully figuring out how to coexist while homeschooling and living in the woods of northern michigan
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Old 03-07-2002, 02:07 AM
 
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This is a tough one here too. We don't have cable but it is constant videos sometimes. The past month or so has been bad and i claim the new baby and so many sicknesses as the cause, but now i am serious so I moved the TV into the closet yesterday. We have a little TV with the VCR attatched and we have decided to keep it away and have one movie night a week. We tried to keep our big TV and just cover it with a sheet when not in use, but that just wasn't enough so now we have a closet TV.
I am like you though in that I dont know what I am going to do with dd. It is finally getting warm so we were able to go to the park today and will continue that I am sure. One thing we like to do is to bake. DD love to pour the ingredients in and stir. Even simple things like koolaid are fun for her.
my suggestion, if it is possible, is to do some rearranging and move the tv from the main room, or at least from the center of the room.
Good luck. I think we all get into the tv trap at times.
Beth
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Old 03-07-2002, 06:21 AM
 
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Doing the WAHM thing sometimes requires keeping the kids otherwise occupied, like when phone calls are required, etc., and sometimes they can be okay doing other things, but sometimes the only way they'll settle down (they're 4&2) is when the TV is on. Other activities they may walk away from but that tube just mesmerizes, fortunately or unfortunately.

The question is what do they watch at those times when it's necessary. I used to keep it to PBS on those days, but learned my lesson on 9/11, when DS was watching Clifford and the station cut away from the children's show to a BBC live feed of the first tower burning. He came in and interrupted my phone call over and over about how "the TV was broken," and "the channel changed all by itself," and I couldn't continue the conversation, said I'd call back, & went in to put a tape in the VCR, mutteringto myself about the TV not respecting my work schedule (not to mention my kids). Well, the picture on the screen made me freeze (I worked in the WTC through the '80s, had friends there ...) and a moment later the second plane went in ... live on TV ...

Anyway, videotapes are where we go now. Raffi keeps them happy, but other stuff you really have to pre-watch. Those Eyewitness science videos are okay, but really for older kids, with some more "adult" images thrown in them.
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Old 03-07-2002, 06:23 AM
 
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... since your post is asking to break out of the routine ... but I guess my point is that well-considered TV is not only not bad but may even be good.

Just don't trust that the channels will have on what you expect, and don't trust that the videos that look educational or innocuous are necessarily acceptable for your children. Watch them yourself, first ...
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Old 03-07-2002, 06:43 PM
 
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The time that I need to do other things like pay bills, or play a board game with my older child, or make a phone call are the times I am most likely to turn on the TV. But there are a few other things that work just as well when I have the presence of mind to remember them!
- Sink time -- get a step stool and fill the kitchen sink with water. Remove anything dangerous from the area and provide a clean cloth a cup and a spoon.
- Suds -- if you don't want him to get soaked, then fill the sink with sudsy water and skim off the soap bubbles. Put them in a basin and let him sit on the floor and play with the suds.
- Crafts -- playdough, coloring, etc.
- Computer -- mine was 2 when he learned how to use a mouse and got his first Dr. Seuss software.
- Under the table -- they like to play camping under the table with pillows and blankets while I work on bills or whatever above them.

I would love to hear more ideas like this for independent play!!!

Oh -- and when my babes are sick, I try to cut myself some slack about the TV. Once in a while I think it is ok to just stay in pjs all day and watch extra TV.

For things to do togther -- we joined the YMCA and we swim a lot. We go to the library weekly. We take long walks with the wagon.
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Old 03-07-2002, 10:59 PM
 
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We put our tv in the attic for a few months this summer/fall and I was amazed at how great life was without it. My kids (2&6) played better, were less stressed and somehow I actually got more done! They always seemed to fall apart (in various ways) after viewing, and I *paid* dearly for the 30 minutes of free time I thought I was getting...

Now it's back, but we watch much less. That is one suggestion that I have for you. Just get rid of it - even for a month - and see what happens.

When you bring the tv back out again, establish a routine concerning when it is turned on. Like 'no tv before noon' or 'one show in the morning, and one show in the afternoon'...whatever works for your family. You don't have to verbalize the 'rules', just abide by them and you will both fall into a rhythm you are comfortable with. My two year old complains bitterly when the tv goes off, but he gets over it. Videos are easier than PBS because they simply...end.

Other ideas:
*mamaduck metioned two of favorites - water play and playdough. My two year old will spend a lot of time engaged in either of these activites. Playing under a table is also great - we bring a bunch of dinosaurs, blocks, etc. under there and he is set!

*rotate your toys, so it seems that there is always something new to play with

*gather some safe 'grown-up' items like old checkbook, sunglasses, small bottles, keys, wallet etc. and put them in an unused backpack/basket. Bring it out when you really need those 10 uninterupted minutes. I have a couple of small baskets like these (with toys in them, too) around the house - on top of the fridge, on my high dresser, in the basement by the washing machine - and ds loves them.

*get lots of board books from the library so your child can read on his own

Good luck...you can do it!
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Old 03-07-2002, 11:40 PM
 
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Here is a thread that you wil find very helpful!


http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ghlight=battle
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Old 03-08-2002, 01:38 AM
 
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I'm a recovering tv-aholic. All of the above suggestions sound just awesome, and I'm going to keep them in mind as dd gets older.

I just wanted to second the idea of moving the tv to a room that you don't frequent. We've done that in our house, and it really helps.
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Old 03-08-2002, 12:41 PM
 
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I grew up without a TV and I hope my soon-to-be-baby does too. I've also worked in childcare where TV is not allowed! One saving grace was that we had an entire cabinet of art supplies we could play with any time we wanted (every type of paper, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, pastels, glue, scissors). Some of the sensory play we did was playing with water ("cleaning" our toys, washing dishes, playing boats, etc), playing with flour and water (it makes a great pasty texture--best used outside though), playing with sand and mud, etc. If you are really having a rough day go to the grocery store and get a really huge box for each child--it makes for great boats, houses, etc! The idea of rotating toys is also great--you can even switch toys with trusted friends!
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Old 03-09-2002, 12:43 PM
 
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Well.. I'm not going to mention again about putting the tv in another, less accessible room (ie, the basement, as we have done).

I would like to offer another view that may or may not have been written about. (I admit, I only scroll-read the posts).

We have our tv in the basement "tv room" and we don't have cable, and our recpetion is very poor. We DO have many videos, some "Disney" and I hate them and others better, such as Fairy Tale, Secret of Roan Inish, movies that are NOT cartoon and that have a "real life" feel about them.

We recently purchased Atlantis (Disney, I KNOW!!! But it seemed more "serious" than other disney movies). My point is this, my children will go through periods where all they do it seems is watch movies, and many times it is the same movie over and over and over again, basically until they have the movie memorized and can recite it backwards and forwards. And then they don't touch the tv for.. a week, or two.

I notice it comes in stages. When I relaxed about the tv and let them make their own decisions as to how much they wanted to watch, it more or less evened itself out.

Of course, my children complained when I took the tv into the basment. I made my response into a reason for something *I* needed, as opposed to something I was doing *to* them. After reading briefly up on Feng Shui and didn't want the tv in the living room anymore as a "soul sucker". I told them I needed it away from me during the day. I told them that tv robbed from us the ability to be a family, and that if they wanted to watch tv and ignore the rest of the family I needed them to do it someplace else, ie the basement.

Just my few thoughts,

Later,
K.
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Old 03-16-2002, 01:56 AM
 
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When our oldest was 3 months old, we moved the tv into the closet. We started taking it out occasionally to watch videos as he gort a little older. Then it was a little more, then a little more. Finally it was staying out. We even got cable for a while. We jsut had it out for a run to watch the olympics. Just the antennae, no vcr. Then the vcr broke, the olympics were over, so we sold the tv at a yard sale. The amazing thing is, that once it is gone, you find other things to do. People have lived for centuries without it. I am so glad of our decision, but I did have to get drastic to get the level of satisfaction I was looking for
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Old 03-19-2002, 04:08 AM
 
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I think if I'm going to watch TV for, say, 3 hours a day, then it would be fair to let dd watch the same amount. So if I don't think she should watch that much, then I'll have to watch less.

It may mean I'll miss some shows, but if limiting dd's TV time is so important to me, then I'll have to limit my time as well. It's not like TV is any better for me.
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Old 03-19-2002, 01:53 PM
 
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I've found that when I took away the television, ie: made it less accessible, and began to do other things with my time, I missed my shows less and less. I used to be an avid x-files fan and would arrange my day so that I would be able to wathc, even if it meant yelling at my children to go to bed so that I may watch my show.

After putting away the tv, and relaxing with my children I realized missing x-files was NOT the end of world. There wasn't this "hole" in me where I thought there would be.

The tv became something not important.

I rent movied now and then, usually when I have a pile of laundry to fold! Or if there is a movie that I particularly want to see.

But I made a conscious decision to NOT allow the television to rule my life.

Kim
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Old 03-19-2002, 06:08 PM
 
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I have been guilty of too much TV too... and just in the last couple weeks I've tried to do something about it. It's hard with it being winter and being so cold, we don't go outside at all (I've got a 23 mo and a 7 mo).

But I have noticed that if I don't turn it on, we end up doing things together, playing, talking... I haven't really intended to do anything new or exciting, we just DO them because there isn't anything else to do.

I play on the floor with both girls... Lexi takes the cushions off the couch and brings out her blankets and teddy bears and pillows off all the beds and makes a big snuggly area for us and we read books and laugh and jump.

We read more books, dance to music, play with her music set (from Target, it's a Parents toy, with a drum, tambourine, bells, and this other little deal... oh and a xylophone).

My girls have gobs of toys that we have received as gifts and we hardly play with them, but when the TV is off somehow we do...???

I would just turn it off and it might surprise how creative you can be without even trying ..

Good luck!!
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