Help me brainstorm some gentle strategies for setting and enforcing TV limits - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 32 Old 10-06-2010, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
My ds is older than yours (almost 7) but this might work for your kiddo too. We decided that one hour of screen time (tv and computer) is appropriate for him on school days. I made 4 "tickets" (bookmarks in microsoft publisher that I played around with altering slightly). Each ticket can be turned in to me or dp for 15 minutes of screen time. We set a timer so he knows exactly how much time is left. Once his 4 tickets are gone, it's done. No arguments. We are a lot more lenient on weekends and don't use the ticket system, but we do force him outside for most of the day (so today he watched about an hour of tv and played on the computer for about an hour but we played outside in the morning, he went to his soccer and played in the afternoon and then in late afternoon we went for a family walk/run to the grocery store). The ticket system is working well for us
Late to this thread, but I wanted to second this ticket idea. We do exactly the same thing in our house, but for "junk food". 3 tickets per week. I get to control portion size, but DD controls when and for what the tickets are redeemed (subject to what is in the house, which is usually limited in the first place). It gives her some control and has completely taken the fight out of the junk food thing.

We've considered doing the same thing for screen time. So far we haven't felt that we needed to, but it will probably be our go-to solution if it becomes an issue. I'm sure it doesn't work for every child (nothing does!) but it's worked really, really well for us.
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#32 of 32 Old 10-07-2010, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by megababymomma View Post
about how to respond to the meltdowns (whether you choose to detox or limit). I remind myself often that "my child doesn't need to be happy all the time" (a Naomi Aldort quote). I don't need to feel guilty or bad or even sad for doing things that dissapoint, upset, frustrate him if I am doing them for his health and wellbeing.

Beyond that: I validate, validate, validate. Usually starting with a question. "are you mad because momma turned off the tv?" followed with a couple "i understand you are mad" then I start trying to work us on to the next thing "i understand you're still mad, would you like to (help me make dinner, talk about it, have a cuddle, etc)" and if he doesn't respond then I usually ask him if he need more time just to be mad and play it by ear from there. He's usually over it MUCH sooner than I am. =P and that's something I have to work on noticing too!
Thank you SO much for that post. Wow. I needed that.

Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
You really can't control whether your son freaks out and tantrums when he doesn't get to watch TV. What you can control is your own consistency about setting limits.

I agree on going cold turkey. He may have a huge hissy fit about it. But surprisingly soon, he will find other ways to entertain himself. It seems to me that you are allowing a 3.5yo to have way too much say in how things go in your household, to the point that it's an atmosphere you really don't like. It's up to you not to attempt to set limits, but to actually set and keep them. Like I said, I think going CT would be the easiest way of doing this. Later, after your son has learned to play independently - which he will - you can introduce - if you want - a set period, like during dinner, when he can watch for an hour.

It is entirely reasonable to expect a 3.5yo to play independently. I would not replace every moment of TV time with one-on-one time, although you could certainly replace some of those 5-6 hours a day with reading to him and going to the park.

When he melts down, walk away. When he whines for TV, stick to your guns. "The TV is gone. There are other things to do." Really, that's all the strategy you need.

Believe me, it is going to be far easier to wean a TV-addicted 3yo than it will be when he's 8 or 9.
I'm not sure how much this post takes into account two things. Number one, the type of child you son is, OP. Two, the stage he is at. OP, your son is at an age where it feels like a really big deal when things don't go his way. He needs sympathy and love when something bothers him, not just "TV is gone, go do something else." That statement doesn't take into account his developmental stage, nor his personality.

As for expecting a 3.5 year old to play independently, that too depends on personality and age. My DD, who is only 16.5 months, plays by herself for up to a half hour. HOWEVER, just a couple short months ago, she literally had to be with me all the time, because she was at a stage where she needed Mommy more due to various reasons, such as teething, growth spurts, etc.

My DS is 8.5, and cutting his TV usage down has been easy. Again, I think ZineMama's statements are based in her own (valid) reality, and you should make decisions based on your child, and your child only. Sympathy, compassion, and love will go a long way towards helping him when he has meltdowns. You have to teach your kids how to handle anger and disappointment, not just sweep it under the rug, or ignore it by saying "there are other things to do." You may not be able to control whether your son 'freaks out' when you turn the TV off, however, you CAN control how you handle his meltdown and help him handle his emotions.

Good luck, Mama, and I hope things smooth out for you!

Me,yummy.gif   DS, Peace.gif and DDdust.gif Grateful to the baby I lost for sticking around long enough to teach me what I needed to know so badly  candle.gif  We  love our forest valley home, our goats and chickenschicken3.gif, and wild harvested food-medicine coolshine.gif

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