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#61 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

look, you guys are talking about limiting TV and video games like this kid is a teenager and everybody is talking about "being the parent" and "making the adult decisions." This kid is FIVE, he is only watching TV/being at the computer/ playing video games because the ADULTS around him are. If you want your FIVE year old to stop watching TV, then stop watching TV yourself, get off your bum and play with your kid.



No...the child's mother (who knows her son and their family situation perhaps a teensy bit more than you do) says that he watches tv and plays video games to excess because he LIKES it. Why are you assuming he's modeling her behavior? Why are you assuming that she doesn't spend enough time with him? It's possible for parents to use the TV and computer in moderation and for their kids to NOT. (Or, sometimes, vice-versa.)

 

Five year olds in particular are not the best judges of what an appropriate amount of screen time is, and they certainly aren't masters of self control at that age. Your comments that the OP is a hypocrite and your crude implication that she doesn't spend enough time playing with him is insulting and ignorant. And your further implication that it's ALL HER FAULT because sometimes she uses the computer or watches TV herself makes no logical sense.

 

Also....why are you so dramatically over-the-top shocked that Thandiewe used the phrase "train up a child"? Because it's also phrased the same way in the Bible? Is it a terminology issue? Would "to teach" or "to raise" be better for you...? I'm seriously scratching my head over that one.

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#62 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 03:51 PM
 
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Quote Originally Posted by holothuroidea:
You are ridiculous.

 

Quote Originally Posted by holothuroidea:
 If you are going to ban your kids from watching TV, playing video games and being on the computer then you better be prepared to give it up yourself otherwise you are just a big fat hypocrite.

 

So what you're saying is, parents should behave how they want their children to behave.  If they want their children to refrain from watching tv, they should refrain from it themselves.

 

Does that also apply to name calling?

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#63 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hildare View Post




um... did you even read my posts?  i am wondering how suggesting simply making rules and "enforcing them" is gentle.  i agree that screen time should be limited.  and i said so in my original post, along with offering gentle discipline suggestions about how to include the child in coming up with solutions.  which IS what most folks would consider "gentle discipline," rather than ominous and vague mentions of rules and enforcement.

 

I've read a ton about gentle discipline, and it's what we practice.  i honestly and truly am not trying to be confrontational, but do think it's helpful to point out that gentle discipline is not about the parent creating arbitrary rules then taking things away from a child (which in the kid's eyes, if you have been allowing excessive screentime, pretty much feels like) isn't really anything more than, as some people said, "training up a child," or "being the boss." 

the inital suggestion i had for the OP was to include the child in the decision making process after sharing information about the recommended amount of screen time.  that is a gd approach, and i'll be glad to point out resources that support that rather than some of the other suggestions, which actually surprise me. 

and, honestly, in my opinion, which is neither gd nor non-gd, the best way to prevent this situation is to not ever allow it in the first place or find some mutually agreed upon rules before having kids engage in screen time or video games.  and, yes, i agree with the poster who said it was difficult to try to force your kid to do something you are not willing to do yourself.  a 5 year old is not going to really understand that.

 

and, again, nothing really to do with gd, but i don't necessarily agree that a parent is responsible for entertaining a child in the way a video game could, nor should a parent "have" to be a playmate.  i think it's ideally much better for a kid to learn to be resourceful on her/his own.  not to say parent involvement isn't really important, but i just think it's better for a kid to come up with activities and ideas (at OP's kid's age) rather than being dependent on ANY outside entity -- parent, tv, whatever-- to provide complete entertainment.  (of course, books are the exception...)

maybe mdc needs a separate forum for folks who want to talk about discipline that is not typically gentle discipline? 

 


I agree with what the other poster said....what you're talking abou sounds more like UP or CL. This is the GD forum, as you point out. I agree with D_McG. And your definition of GD doesn't seem to be what MDC's definition is. How is limiting screen time for a 5 year old, screen time which the mother believes to be harmful and addictive, an "arbitrary" rule or limit? Seriously? An arbitrary rule is something like, "my kids are not allowed to eat sugar cookies because I don't like sugar cookies". Or, "my kids can wear shorts but not cut-offs". You know, the kind of rule that makes you ask, "why?!??" You can throw out things like "being the boss" and provocative implications that it's all about power tripping, but, again....this is more like Unconditional Parenting or Radical Unschooling or CL.

 

Here's the board's definition of gentle discipline: (emphasis/bolding is mine)

 

 

Quote:
Effective discipline is based on loving guidance. It is based on the belief that children are born innately good and that our role as parents is to nurture their spirits as they learn about limits and boundaries, rather than to curb their tendencies toward wrongdoing. Effective discipline presumes that children have reasons for their behavior and that cooperation can be engaged to solve shared problems.

Hitting is never the best way to teach a child. Even in the case of real danger - as when a child runs out into the road - you can grab him, sit him down, look him in the eyes, and tell him why he must never do that again. The panic in your voice will communicate your message much more effectively than any spanking. You can be dramatic without being abusive.

 

 

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#64 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Well, the term gentle is really subjective. A lot of people would call time-outs gentle discipline. In fact, I think most people think that gentle just means no hitting. I don't, and I do think that manipulation and coercion are abusive so, no, I am not apt to take an "agree to disagree" stance when I think that another person is advocating what I would view to be abuse. So sorry if sharks have been jumped but I think you'll find it most understandable if you viewed it from my side of the screen.


 

Well here's a thought for you and for the mama who equates Gentle Discipline with UP: maybe y'all shouldn't come on to the GD forum and lecture people about what is and isn't GD if your beliefs are admittedly not in line with what most people, including MDC, consider GD?

 

I came on here a few months ago and said that I wasn't for or against spanking, and was even considering it for my child. I got told QUICKLY that that is not a "GD" position. I'm free to still hold those opinions (although I don't-- we've since decided not to spank our kids...in part b/c of MDC), but I'm not free to come on to a Gentle Discipline forum with that attitude and "teach the class" about what is and isn't GD.

 

 

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Originally Posted by hildare View Post

oh, oaktree.. usually you read all the stuff first.  i don't know what i said that was so offputting to everybody. 

which part of the posts i wrote was about something that isn't what most folks consider to be GD?

letting children participate in decision making?

having kids actively come up with ways to self-regulate? 

please tell me which part of what i said you think i shows am trying to have one GD to rule them all? 


You weren't asking me, but I'll take a stab at this one, too. The part where you said you were coming from an Unconditional Parenting perspective, and the part where you said or, at best, implied, that the OP's proposed limits on screen time were "arbitrary".

 

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#65 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 07:34 PM
 
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I'm going to ignore the snarky stuff and give a genuine suggestion:

 

One thing that has worked for us is to have certain times when TV watching and/or screen time is OK. So, if you want to limit it to 2 hours, you can give your child 2 hours between say 9-10 am and then 3-4 pm (or whatever works for  your schedule). That's the defacto system we have during the school year. No TV before school. 1 show after school  & before homework (dd needs time to unwind). Homework+piano. 1 show some other time during the evening, but stopping at 7:30 pm because I don't them watching an hour before bedtime. 

 

I'll confess that our TV regulations have gone completely off the rails this summer. Our kids are watching waaay too much TV. But I've been teaching, dh's been home with the kids and not enforcing screen time. They do get outside time of several hours a day, and I do spend time with them when I'm home. But now that I'm done teaching, I'm going to start enforcing a few rules and making the kids more unhappy for a bit. 

 

FWIW, we tried the coupon system and it didn't work for us. Time of day works much better for me. 


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#66 of 80 Old 07-27-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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Aww I replied too late, after the two people I was addressing had already decided to "exit the thread". eyesroll.gif I HATE when that happens.


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#67 of 80 Old 07-28-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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Wow, okay, so hiding the TV and lying about a theft was clearly a BAD idea for some of you.  FTR, I have not ever done that, I was just brainstorming iodeas for the OP...yeesh!  Talk about an over reaction...Like none of us have ever told a white lie to calm an overly emotional child.  None of you have ever snuck veggies into a pizza sauce or told your kid they cancelled a particularly annoying program or that an especially obnoxios video broke? So I'm the only non-perfect parent around here? 

 

I disagree that I have to give up chocolate altogether because my son likes it too much.  I disagree that I should never have ice cream because my child would like to eat it all day and night and not being allowed to results in a temper tantrum. 

 

I have no qualms with that.  If that makes me a "big fat hypocrite" so be it.  I'm comfortable with that level of "abuse" of my power.

 

I do play with my kids.  Generally when the TV is an issue it is because I have to WORK.  I like my work a lot, but sometimes I have to do it when it has to be done.  I don't want my DS zoning out on TV that whole time when I know he is capable of playing with friends in the park outside, or building a train city, or reading a book or coloring.   He doesn't need my undivided attention or a screen.  Those are not the only options out there.  If I have to put the TV in an adult only zone in order for him to SEE the other options, I think it makes sense to do that. 

 

But the absolute truth is I do not HAVE to do any of that (which I think I said in my first post...) because we have agreed that 2 x 30 minute shows a day (during summer vacation) preprogrammed by the family member is what we as a family agreed upon in a calm moment of a family meeting.  However, he does not always remember that he agreed to that so if I have to remind him and if he goes into melt down mode so that no one else can enjoy their turn,  he loses his next turn.  We're big into natural consequences in our family and restorative justice.  That's out deal.  It works for us.  If things got really out of control, I would put the TV away. So far it hasn't, but that is what I am prepared to do.  There are lots of suitable alternatives available to him.  He is not deprived of attention, entertainment or imagination.

 

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#68 of 80 Old 07-28-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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I don't know if it's been suggested or not, but I've had a lot of success with online radio, or even just a regular radio.  TV/Computer screens are off, but there's background music that keeps the kid feeling "connected".

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#69 of 80 Old 07-29-2011, 05:03 AM
 
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This is a Summer fight at our house due to the heat.  Since I refuse to take them to the pool til after 6 pm they're stuck trying to find indoor things to do.  They have drums, guitars and books but sometimes they just want that computer.  I give them 30 minute increments.  While one plays on the computer I play with the other one to keep them occupied.  I then turns into everyone wanting to play with mommy.  Or we watching cooking shows.  We love food and cooking shows rock!  But we do it together so they get fixated on just that.  Don't worry took me a long time to get here.  Before that I was pulling out my hair.

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#70 of 80 Old 07-29-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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OP: One thing I find useful is to set a total number of weekly hours rather than daily hours.  That way, watching tv, using the computer, etc... doesn't have to be a daily activity and may lose some centrality to daily life.  At the same time, that might help your son feel like he has some control over his media consumption.  Maybe setting up a visible chart and he can move 1/2 hour or 15 minute chips into a used up box and can visually see how much he has left for the week? 

 

I have arbitrarily decided that my kid can have as many hours a week as her age.  My DD is 3 1/2.  I have a 3 1/2 hour a week rule.   (Though I'm certain there will be an upper limit eventually).  Maybe some sort of structure like that would work for you? 

 

Also, we always watch shows together (ie: The Backyardigans on Netflix) and talk about them for a while after, sometimes reenact the episode, sing the songs.  In my opinion, these shows can actually be fun and imaginative that way.   I know she's younger but maybe you can find a fun video game you can play with him? 


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#71 of 80 Old 07-29-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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I think that brings up a good point. It should be noted that a 5 year old is also a bigger kid than a 3 or 4 year old and they tend to crave activities they can do without mom and dad. If you haven't yet been through this phase of early adolescence where the child establishes his or her independence it can be hard to imagine your cuddle bug toddler will ever transform into such a person who sighs heavily at your not understanding anything about the real world looking at you as if you knew nothing rather than the know it all goddess you were a year or so before. At first I thought it was just my kid, but in talking to other moms in his class I found that indeed it is pretty typical for kids to withdraw significantly at this age and seek ways to be their own people outside of the mother-child unit.

 

TV and computer games is the easiest way for them to meet the need of distance and connection simultaneously, AND if they are attending school they probably have a fair amount of watercooler  chat to keep up with in order to maintain a social life, therein lies the struggle. 

 

Benjamin at 3 or 4 could have cared less about TV and would watch or do anything to be with me.  At 5 he wanted to watch the "cool shows" and it was no longer about what he liked, but about what his friends thought was cool.  The trick for us has been to make sure he has lots of interactive stuff to do.  He is dead into science and art so we have a corner for him that is all about science and art and when his screen time is up he  goes there to explore.  Of course we are happy to play with him, but most of the time he'd rather discover it on his own.  (This may be because we are both teachers and therefore slightly obnoxious as parents)

 

I like the idea of weekly screen time.  I think that would work well for us.

 


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#72 of 80 Old 07-29-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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OP, your situation is a common one I think in todays society and it is sad.  In hindsight my advice would have been not to let him watch TV and all that this early but that does not help.

When I was growing up my parents would shut off our TV's satellite subscription every summer(they told us that they just couldnt afford it and I believed it til I was about 13!  What could I do if my family could not afford it?  Tell my dad to get another job?  It was a pretty good lie lol).  The first few weeks we hated it, but then we got used to it and would play outside, help out around the house and with outside work, spend time together as a family, and sometimes my parents would get a movie for us all to watch before bed and then TV was like a treat.

I think if you could spend more time with your son doing activities, going places, teaching him things, keeping him busy, then it would be fine.  I would never get a child of that age, or any age really, a video game system.  It does not promote learning(about the real world), it does not promote physical activity or time spend outdoors, it does not give them social skills, it does not give them a work ethic, it does not promote good eating habits.  It promotes laziness, they are more likely to sit there in front of the TV all day and not get any exercise or sunshine, likely to eat garbage non-stop, and it really can become an addiction.  Seriously.  I say just eliminating the TV programming and saying no to the TV and computer all together would be best for him, not trying to sound harsh but I remember being there as a kid, and I have seen friends of mine get fat and amount to nothing because they are so lazy and still just want to play computer or video games ALL DAY and are in their 20's, because thats what they grew up doing.   Making TV into a treat is a good thing too I think, by watching one movie every once in awhile.

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#73 of 80 Old 08-06-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post
Also....why are you so dramatically over-the-top shocked that Thandiewe used the phrase "train up a child"? Because it's also phrased the same way in the Bible? Is it a terminology issue? Would "to teach" or "to raise" be better for you...? I'm seriously scratching my head over that one.


I think it's probably because To Train Up A Child is the title of a book written by Michael and Debi Pearl. If you're not familiar with it, google the title + criticisms. It is pretty much the antithesis of GD and the strict adherence to their methods has been implicated in the death of some children.


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#74 of 80 Old 08-06-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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Wow. I've read through the whole thing.

OK I want to preface this by saying I'm a big fan of UP. However, I'm also a big fan of how wide a GD perspective we have here, because a greater perspective gives people looking for help more options and a greater perspective to consider. My understanding of GD is only that parents not use techniques that are physically or emotionally non-gentle, like any kind of spanking or physical discipline, humiliation, shaming, name-calling, etc. I personally also avoid punishment, but I've seen punishments be given gently and I'm not of the belief that punishing is outside of GD, so long as it be gentle in nature. I think lying about where the TV is is questionable, not because it isn't gentle but because it teaches a bad message re lying. Otherwise, I see nothing anti-GD here. Also, I am not someone who thinks parents need to be playmates of their children, and I agree that boredom can help children become more creative at finding ways to entertain themselves, and the ability to entertain ones self is a great gift that is worth learning.

My kids don't have any problems with self regulation on screen time, so I am not sure how helpful my input will be. What I've done is to try to create an environment were there is stuff more fun than screens available rather than limiting screen time, but my older one (9) is so social that I doubt screens would be a big issue for her regardless, and the little one is so little (2.5) it just isn't something that's come up really for her. She watches maybe a few minutes here and there to keep her away while I'm working with something really hot like the broiler in the kitchen.

But I think things that might help include:

Letting kids be outside as much as they want to, and not limiting that time to only when a parent can be with them. I understand this isn't an option for every home environment, but I mention it because the kids I've seen where I live who have problems with screen time are kids who aren't allowed to be outside very much.

Allow kids to do stuff that gets messy. The kids I know would rather use glue for about anything than watch TV. Glue pom-poms together and make animals, cut out little pieces of paper and glue them together, etc. But this gets messy.

The reasons IRL I've seen families get overly dependent on screen time is because parents want their kids within their view all the time (so not outside unsupervised) and to not do anything messy. That doesn't leave a ton of options, and it eliminates what kids often find to be the best options. These families I've seen have trouble IRL are not likely to be MDC families because their values are generally not the same as the values here, and it might not be at all relevant, I don't know.

Anyway, this all might not be relevant to the OP, and my dd might not have needed screen regulation regardless of whether I let her outside as much as she wanted, and whether she was allowed to do messy craft projects whenever she wanted, or not. But those are the things she'd rather do than watch TV or play on the computer. And she also has a wii and a DS that are only very seldom used. I just wanted to add that perspective to the many.
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#75 of 80 Old 08-07-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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I have not caught up with all the posts yet but wanted to address this.

I am not sure where all of these comments about getting up off your butt and playing with your kids are coming from. I don't know why they are necessary or what purpose they serve here. In my original post I mentioned how often I play with my son but that it's not enough. Playing with your children is important however I can not play with my son for all of his waking hours. THAT is where my problems come in.  There are times he will be bored and I will be busy. That's it. That's not bad. This negativity and judgement and jumping on a mom who bravely admitted she doesn't enjoy play ( not that she doesn't do it) is uncessary and it is NOT gentle. How can one discipline gently if one is not gentle?

 

I get very frustrated when I see a poster who just wants to harp on a hot button point even though that point had already been addressed.

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If you decide to take all screen time away from a child because enforcing a limit of 2 hours is too difficult (which was discussed on this thread, I don't know by whom), you are absolutely setting an arbitrary rule that is more for your benefit (less nagging by the child) than for the child's who is used to having screen time to fill whatever time they don't spend playing with their parents because they can't get over whatever uncomfortable feelings they have about playing. 

 

You know what boggles me? Mothers overcome incredible discomfort to breast feed their babies, but then when they start to be more independent and need to play mothers will not get over any small discomfort to play with them. 

 



 

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#76 of 80 Old 08-07-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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Thank you for your post. I agree with you, in hindsight, I wouldn't have even had cable in the house.  I have a few things working against me. My ex is the one who turned ds on to the video games. I would never have done that at this age, or at any age. If I lived alone I would cut the cable but I don't. The problems don't stop there, it's all around us. His friends ( yes also 5) talk about video games and tv shows endlessly, in fact, sadly, it's kind of all they do talk about. One of them came to pre school with a toy figurine from the video game Halo, for those that don't know, a very adult, violent, graphic game. They market " toys" from these characters for children! It's just a trap to suck them in younger and younger because manufacturers can't legally rate the games for children. I tried to explain this to my ex and he told me I've gone off the deep end with conspiracy theories.

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OP, your situation is a common one I think in todays society and it is sad.  In hindsight my advice would have been not to let him watch TV and all that this early but that does not help.

When I was growing up my parents would shut off our TV's satellite subscription every summer(they told us that they just couldnt afford it and I believed it til I was about 13!  What could I do if my family could not afford it?  Tell my dad to get another job?  It was a pretty good lie lol).  The first few weeks we hated it, but then we got used to it and would play outside, help out around the house and with outside work, spend time together as a family, and sometimes my parents would get a movie for us all to watch before bed and then TV was like a treat.

I think if you could spend more time with your son doing activities, going places, teaching him things, keeping him busy, then it would be fine.  I would never get a child of that age, or any age really, a video game system.  It does not promote learning(about the real world), it does not promote physical activity or time spend outdoors, it does not give them social skills, it does not give them a work ethic, it does not promote good eating habits.  It promotes laziness, they are more likely to sit there in front of the TV all day and not get any exercise or sunshine, likely to eat garbage non-stop, and it really can become an addiction.  Seriously.  I say just eliminating the TV programming and saying no to the TV and computer all together would be best for him, not trying to sound harsh but I remember being there as a kid, and I have seen friends of mine get fat and amount to nothing because they are so lazy and still just want to play computer or video games ALL DAY and are in their 20's, because thats what they grew up doing.   Making TV into a treat is a good thing too I think, by watching one movie every once in awhile.



 

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#77 of 80 Old 08-07-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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I don't limit, my kids don't use "the screen" excessively. Video games, movies, tv shows, you tube, etc all have educational value. eye hand coordination, strategic planning, architecture, critical thinking, cause and effect, math, science, physics, READING

my eldest taught himself to read with not computer games meant to teach a kid how to read, but with an MMOPRG. He also watches instructional videos on you tube, looks up information (he loves wiki), he also plays legos, with his brothers, goes outside, helps me cook, helps me clean up, empties the dishwasher without being asked, etc, etc,etc

 

If you make "the screen" something bad, it becomes taboo and wanted that much more. If YOU have a healthy outlook on it, it's pretty darn likely your kids will follow your example.

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#78 of 80 Old 08-07-2011, 08:09 PM
 
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Your son might like books on CD instead of TV.  My kids like to listen to them when I'm busy and can't read or play with them.  You can check them out at the library.  My kids love the Roald Dahl books like Fantastic Mr. Fox. 

 

I think that they're okay for mental development compared with TV, but I'm not really sure.  After listening to a story, my daughter always draws pictures of the characters or acts it out with stuffed animals.  So it seems like they're spurring her creativity.  But, as I said, I'm not sure if they are entirely good for kids to be absorbed in. 

 

Another thing that helps us with screen time is having the kids set a timer before they turn on the computer (we do computer time rather than TV.)  Each child gets 20 minutes per day.  They are usually pretty good about it, since they know that the timer is a prerequisite for using the screen.  It seems to help to have them turn on the timer themselves. 

 

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#79 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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Didn't read the whole thing but here's what we do.

 

We don't have cable or a digital antenna.  We do have Netflix streaming, DVDs, Xbox, a computer, and an iPhone.  IMO, most of these things are easier to limit than watching off cable or broadcast TV - you don't get the promos for the upcoming shows and in the case of Netflix when your episode ends, it's done and there's a clear break.  We have one TV for the family.  DH and I don't ever watch when the kids are awake, so TV is never on in the background and the kids don't have the idea that TV watching is a default activity.  This includes using the computer as a TV or gaming system.  We are a bit more lax about using email and such around the kids and we are pretty lax about DD using the computer to "type" or use the paint program, but it hasn't become a problem.

 

DD is limited to 30 mins of "electronics time" per day.  We set the kitchen timer for her and it's her responsibility to turn the TV off.  If necessary we will sit with her and offer to help turn it off if it looks like it will be a problem.  We have explained to her that TV is for fun but it's a waste of time if you watch too much.  Sometimes it's hard to turn off the TV, so that's why we have a timer.

 

I feel like the amount of TV watched in our house is under control and although there have been disagreements, there's no ongoing power struggle.  I wish I could create a less electronic-heavy environment in my home but my husband loves TV and gaming so this is the compromise we've worked out.

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#80 of 80 Old 08-14-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dovey View Post
Another thing that helps us with screen time is having the kids set a timer before they turn on the computer (we do computer time rather than TV.)  Each child gets 20 minutes per day.  They are usually pretty good about it, since they know that the timer is a prerequisite for using the screen.  It seems to help to have them turn on the timer themselves. 

 


A friend of mine was telling me that her DH set it up for the kids so they each have their own user name and password on the computer, and each of their users are limited to X amount of time, the computer just shuts off after that.  I thought that was genius!

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