No TV = no meltdowns? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 04-05-2011, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,


I need some advice regarding my ds's behaviour lately. He's been having what I can best describe as meltdowns. He will be 3 years old at the end of May. He likes watching Thomas, Bob the Builder, and Barney. We have them on DVDs and we don't have cable. So, the shows he watches do not have commercials. I've been reducing his TV and am considering cutting out TV completely.

So, my question is to you all- Do you think cutting out TV will improve my s
ds's behaviour? Has any of you done this and noticed an improvement in your child's behaviour?

Any advice, thoughts on this matter would be much appreciated.
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#2 of 18 Old 04-05-2011, 10:29 PM
 
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Did he have "terrible twos" then mellow out mid year and now he's having meltdowns again at age 3?

 

If so, then it's an age thing. An equilibrium, disequilibrium pattern is normal and runs about 6 months in each stage. This round of meltdowns should be milder than they were at 2, and the round at age 4 will be better than this, and by age 6 or so the developmental stuff is on a fairly even keel until puberty kicks in.

 

The meltdowns are a period of growth and learning. You'll see new skills, you'll see some skills 'regress' for awhile then bounce back.

 

 

Personally, I find no difference between days with more TV and days with less TV with my dd. What does make a HUGE difference is getting outdoors. It also helps a lot for her to get to play with other kids.

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#3 of 18 Old 04-05-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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I think not having tv is a great step.

 

For me personally. DS has HORRIBLE behavior on video days. And we follow a rule of "one day a week we watch videos" (thomas, bob the b, etc). My philosophy on the once a week deal is that limiting per day set us up for a constant struggle, whereas, once a week, he can get to a point where, it's been a few shows, and DH and I will up and pull out something - legos, fabric, whatever, and start playing with it. Not suggesting it, just playing between us two. Eventually he might wander over and abandon the video. My thoughts are that he's experiencing first hand that there's something more fun to do that watch videos.

 

For the record we do not have a TV. We watch on our laptop, from DVDs or websites. IMO, again, but having the big black focal point in the room adds a lot to the "just turn it on" mentality. I don't advertise to be media free (yes we watch bob the b, and sesame street, etc), but watching videos on a laptop, which I can make disappear really easily, is far preferable than having that screen fixture anchoring the living room together. I truly feel that I give up very little by not having a TV, since we have the laptop w/ DVD and high speed internet.

 

HTH!

 

ETA: I love not having a tv for purely decor related reasons as well. I love that my living room doesn't have to be set up around a screen. Also, when I have people over, they comment on how calm the atmosphere is, etc. At first they are surprised we have no TV, but then, the comment on how nice it feels not to have the big black box stare at you, even when it's off. It's so HAL 9000, you know?

 

If you don't have cable and you do DVDs anyway, I would kick it to the curb. You don't need it to do what you already do. And you can camoflage the triggers better with out it.


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#4 of 18 Old 04-07-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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I myself have found that TV has a huge effect on my kids' behavior. (Mine are six, four, and four now.) The meltdowns aren't always about TV, either. It just seems like in days and weeks where they're watching a lot, they seem to forget how to entertain themselves, so they wind up doing a lot of hanging on me and whining, and also it seems like more than a very small amount of TV reduces their ability to roll with the punches-- their emotional resilience, I guess you'd call it. They're edgier, and more likely to lose their cool over small issues. What seems to help a lot, like the PP mentioned, is lots of active exercise outdoors. I think the main problem with TV, for my kids, is that when they're watching it, they're just sitting there, in the family room, which has no natural light to speak of. All that sitting around being sedentary would make me edgy, for sure, and I imagine it's much worse for little ones.

FWIW, though, three-years-old can be meltdown-central, anyway, with or without TV. When my DD1 was that age, we had no TV, and she still managed to totally blow her lid at least a few times a day. Three can take an enormous amount of patience!

I would encourage you to give no-TV a try, though-- the worst that can happen is that it has no effect, and then you know. We lived no-TV for a long, long time, and even now we have very sharp limits on it.

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#5 of 18 Old 04-07-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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The only things I've noticed that affect my kids' behavior like that are diet and how much physical play time (ie outdoors) they get. But I imagine all kids are different and kids who like tv more than mine might have more meltdowns over it.
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#6 of 18 Old 04-07-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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Llyra speaks my experience.  My kids are 6, 3, 2, and 6 months.  Obviously, the babies don't watch much tv, but the more the older ones do, the worse they get.  They just lose the ability to think and play and stuff.  And mine only watch very select videos as well...in natural light.  A few days of forced boredom (it's torture for me...), and suddenly they start thinking up all sorts of stuff, and I have a hard time getting their attention for anything, lol. 


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#7 of 18 Old 04-07-2011, 10:00 PM
 
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morning tv yes not afternoon tv after a full day

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#8 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 02:07 AM
 
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I can say with certainty that in our son's case, TV does affect his behavior. And I only know this because we get very little TV and during those days where he gets more TV (say an hour a day for 4 consecutive days), I find that he is grumpier, less attentive and just generally unable to ground and center.

Whenever my son has that rare meltdown, the first thing that pops into our heads is how much TV/screen time (computer, iPad included) has he gotten lately? Almost 100% of the time, the meltdown or just the general unreasonability (if there is such a word) goes together with a little bit more than usual screen time.

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#9 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 04:59 AM
 
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We are tv free and the kids are allowed one tv show a week on Sunday evenings after bath time (I am preparing dinner than), 30 min.

 

They do have meltdowns at any given day, but I don´t think that tv has anything to do with it. Obviously I don´t know if more tv would make the behaviour worse, but I won´t try it. I love not to have a tv set.

I do believe that kids don´t need tv. (Parents need it sometimes :) )

 

If you can reduce without to much pain to yourself, than do. And you´ll see :)


Trin with DH , DD(7)  and DS(5) ,  DD(2) ,
I am not regularly online at the moment due to the above ...
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#10 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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Over a decade ago, I had DS one.  When he was around the same age as the OP (2.5), he was having spectacular tantrums that were almost always t.v. related.  We decided to (on what we thought was a trial basis) tell him the t.v. was broken (we unplugged it).  We had a rough couple of days and then we watched him become a much different child...he played more, read more, interacted more.  We never plugged it back in  Now that I have a second child and we don't own a t.v., I have gotten so used to not having one that I just don't even think about it.  I was not good at enforcing limits for watching time and used it too much to get things done around the house or whatever.  That's our experience.  Good luck with making the decision.


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#11 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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Yes, absolutely! My DD turns into a total crank after she watches TV. And, honestly I do too. If I watch an hour long program I feel really out or sorts, so it's not surprising that she does too. You can always try for a week or so and see what happens!

Wife to amazing dh, mama to dd 12/08
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#12 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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I have noticed a TV/meltdown/whining connection in my kids.  I'd say for my DD now at 5 it isn't the same - she is much better about it.  My DS is still 3 and he still is affected a lot.  We don't do a lot of TV around here but sometimes.

 

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#13 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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Yes, yes, yes, absolutely! I think it's because my dd gets overstimulated by watching tv - she simply can't stop watching once started - she just can't help herself.  We only let her watch pbs, but they're too much for her.  We put the tv away a few months ago - no more meltdowns.


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#14 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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We watch a ton of shows here and I don't notice any difference in my son when he watches more/less tv.  We go through days at a time where he watches little to no tv and he acts the same as always...which is to say 99.999% perfectly delightful luxlove.gif.  But I think all kids are different and tv could be causing a problem.  Definately worth a try.


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#15 of 18 Old 04-08-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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For us the answer is/was a resounding yes.  It made an immediate and astonishing difference to eliminate tv time.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#16 of 18 Old 04-09-2011, 07:04 PM
 
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My kids usually want to run outside first thing in the morning. So I let them, even when it's 8am and cold and wet they are riding their bikes.  Then they come in and play but often by 11ish they want to relax and watch a show which is great because it give me time to prepare lunch. I didn't plan it this way.  It just works out that way.   Sometimes one or more kids decides they want to help make lunch instead of watch the show.  I don't think the tv makes them act up.  I know kids need lots of physical activity usually.  Some days my kids will veg and watch shows all morning.  Usually it's after a few really active days. They still are their pleasant selves for the most part. 

 

I don't limit the tv at all and I think they use it fairly appropriately.  If you limit something it seems to make it even more desirable so they may watch tv even if their body feels the need to be active or creative but they don't want to miss out on their limited tv time so they ignore their body and watch the show, causing pent up energy and stress which comes out in whines and agression which then gets blamed on the tv instead of the situation set up around the tv or the reason for the tv watching. (whew -long ramble;) hope it made some sense by reason for watching tv I mean some kids watch it to avoid something, because they are afraid to make a mess, because they have stress in other areas of their life and need to unwind, there aren't any other good options

 

Instead of limits, I provide lots of options of things to do.  I encourage outside free play with bikes, chalk, ropes, balls,trips to parks, river walks, block play, lots of messy art supplies available any time.  Invite friends over to play.  Invite them in the kitchen with you.  Start doing cool stuff yourself and let them join you. 

 

Other advice...Don't talk bad about the tv, it adds more of an allure to it.  They want to see what your talking about for themselves. Set a good example by engaging yourself in a lot of other activities.  Don't make the tv a focal point in the room but still have one available.  Otherwise when they go to a friends house they won't play with the friend but just want to watch their tv.  I would guess many kids deprived of tv will sneak it when they are older and you don't want that kind of relationship with your child.  My child turns off the tv or ignores it when her friends come over.  She has come to me on more than one occasion upset because her friend wants to just watch tv and she thought they were coming over to play.  These kids who just want to watch tv are the ones whose parents strongly limit tv at home.  We try to make sure the tv is off and activities are set out for these playdates.  The limited kids haven't learned self control. They want to see what they have been missing out on or see what characters their friends are talking about. But their parents didn't think their child was able to have self control and worked on controlling them for them.  I try to set a good example and trust my children to listen to their bodies and minds and make healthy choices with only as much guidance as necessary.  I focus on controlling the environment and not them and try not to deprive them of the wonderful things this world has to offer them including some tv shows. off my soap box for now...thanks for reading 

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#17 of 18 Old 04-14-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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I agree with the poster who said it was developmental.  We don't have tv, we just have dvds now, but we rarely watch anything because my son just isn't that interested.  Even when it's Elmo he doesn't watch for more than three minutes in a row or so.  I can't say it has affected his tantrums or meltdowns, though.  He's had a rough time with teething, being sick, being stir crazy all winter, etc. so he has at least one little meltdown a day.  But the little-to-no-tv routine is GREAT for my own sanity and the atmosphere of our home.


Still-learning wife to long-suffering and wonderful DH and manoula to DS #1 (8/09), an angel baby (7/10), and DD #1 due May 29!
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#18 of 18 Old 04-14-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuzunel09 View Post

I agree with the poster who said it was developmental.  We don't have tv, we just have dvds now, but we rarely watch anything because my son just isn't that interested.  Even when it's Elmo he doesn't watch for more than three minutes in a row or so.  I can't say it has affected his tantrums or meltdowns, though.  He's had a rough time with teething, being sick, being stir crazy all winter, etc. so he has at least one little meltdown a day.  But the little-to-no-tv routine is GREAT for my own sanity and the atmosphere of our home.


I concur that most of it was developmental as far as we were concerned.  DD had no television before two and then subsequent has had very little tv.  We went through a period between three and four of out of the blue intense meltdowns.  By deduction I found that these were related to tiredness and just plain growth.  I mean, she might not see television for an entire week and still have incredible meltdowns.  I think television has its place like cake and candy.  Moderation but not steady diet.  We seem to be coming out of the meltdown phase but it was frustrating when we were in it.  I think every child is different, too.  What may overstimulate one child may not effect the other.  It depends and I think it comes down to be in tune with your child.

 


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