What do moms of toddlers do? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-05-2009, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are TV free.

I was very strict for the first two years but since DD turned 2 I have found myself leaning more on more on youtube, just to buy me some time to get things done.

I justify it to myself because I control the programming and there are no commercials and the viewing time is short but I can't help feeling somewhat of a failure

I also tell myself that mothering was never meant to be done alone and if I had help (spouse, family etc.) around I wouldn't have to 'buy' these breaks. But what can I do?

DD just doesn't play independently yet.

Can you force that?!?!?!

When there's a job that needs to be done in the house that she just can't help me with what else can I do?

and
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:31 AM
 
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You could strap her on your back if that's feasible, so she can watch without interfering. Or give her a toddler friendly chore in the same room as you are in. Or you could just leave her on her own a bit in a child friendly area and leave her alone for a few minutes at a time. We've been doing this with my 2 y.o. and he can play for a while now without us around. Then again it also depends on personality. Some kids won't tolerate it, but it's worth a shot. And this too shall pass!
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm honestly tired of wearing her on my back. I've been doing it for 2 years to do farm chores and she's really had enough of it to.

She is just so high needs and doesn't like to be ignored for a moment. I'm wondering if I just need to get tough and let her work it out on her own?

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Old 02-05-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Music? Stories on tape/cd? Podcasts?
I can't offer much advice. There have been times when I haven't had any help that I've turned on Sprout....

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:56 AM
 
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Whether or not you use screen time, you are not a failure. Really. I swear.

I don't think "getting tough" is at all the right approach, but I might work with her on learning to play independently -- consider "benign neglect" your friend, and work with her (VERY short periods at a time, like, five seconds to start if she's really not used to it) on learning to be OK with your attention being elsewhere, but, of course, do it gently.

I might also lower expectations of what I can get done at home on my own with her, because as you've said, we're not meant to do this alone. In our house, anything I get done above and beyond keeping us all alive is a "bonus".
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whether or not you use screen time, you are not a failure. Really. I swear.

I don't think "getting tough" is at all the right approach, but I might work with her on learning to play independently -- consider "benign neglect" your friend, and work with her (VERY short periods at a time, like, five seconds to start if she's really not used to it) on learning to be OK with your attention being elsewhere, but, of course, do it gently.

I might also lower expectations of what I can get done at home on my own with her, because as you've said, we're not meant to do this alone. In our house, anything I get done above and beyond keeping us all alive is a "bonus".
...benign neglect...hmmmm....ok that's what I'm doing. I guess it just takes time.

I can't really lower my expectations any more. They're rock bottom I share your outlook that just getting through the day alive is a good day. Unfortunately we're alone together most of the time so I sometimes get a little frustrated and desperate.

Thank you so much for your kind words.

and
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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Is she happy doing nothing, just as long as she's with you?

If I am doing laundry upstairs, I bring DD and she just hangs out with me. I have to make sure she doesn't get into anything but mostly she just explores, or plays with the laundry, or makes a separate mess that I can clean up later.

But at least the laundry is done.

We are not really tv free, but we were watching very limited, then I let it get out of control, and as of last week we are off the tube. I think I feel better without it, too.

As far as independent play, she's played with her kitchen alone for some time now (she's almost 4) and like I said above, she's pretty good about exploring small areas while I'm there. Now she really l ikes art, but at 2 you can't leave a little one alone with paints, I guess.
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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I don't think "getting tough" is at all the right approach, but I might work with her on learning to play independently -- consider "benign neglect" your friend, and work with her (VERY short periods at a time, like, five seconds to start if she's really not used to it) on learning to be OK with your attention being elsewhere, but, of course, do it gently.
nak

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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I don't have any advice, but I'm going through something similar. My DD is 3.5, is TV free and generally does not play well independently. She has gotten better as she has gotten older, but I'm lucky to get a 15-20 minute stretch once a day (usually not even that).

I have found that she LOVES books on tape and these will occupy her for a short while, and she enjoys playing with her dolls and toys if I am talking for them (although this does make it difficult to concentrate sometimes).

I have resorted to occasionally letting her "play ABC's" at starfall.com. I know it is not ideal, but I am tired and pregnant right now, and sometimes I just have to get things done. I do limit the time she is on there to about 15 minutes and not more than 1-2 days per week, because I don't want to become dependent on it, and at least she does seem to be learning from it (although I realize the computer is not the preferred learning tool for 3 year olds).

I feel like it's a slippery slope though. My niece was TV free until she was two, and then SIL started letting her play "educational" games on the computer, then she was allowed to watch "educational" TV, and now she has a lot of computer games and the Lion King is her favorite movie, and she wants to watch it every day. She also HAS TO be watching TV when she gets her hair brushed each morning.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've made a few observations since my OP.

I'm more conscious of practising 'benign neglect' (as you called it Arwyn ). I will just be knitting near her as she plays and go out of the room for a few minutes and then come come and just keep doing this.

Also, she does get bored pretty quickly with the videos. She does prefer to be engaged by people. I think that has a lot do with not being raised on with TV. Plus she has to stand in her learning tower to watch and that can't be very comfortable.

Now that I've said that....I was so sick with the flu last night I could barely function. I got out a DVD she was given for Christmas (from someone I guess who didn't know we're TV free) and let her watch it while I rested.

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Old 02-12-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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I also have a toddler (almost 2) and we are TV-free for the most part (we have an antennae, but get about 1 channel clearly, LOL - its for when the folks visit; they don't know what to do without cable!). Anyways, we do play DVDs (skip previews) for her as a treat. We were also watching the Wiggles clips on youtube as well. Sometimes I feel like a bad parent, but I realize that she is not getting marketed to like most other children. If she starts wanting it every day, then I ease off for a while. She has also learned to play in spurts independently and I make sure that I made one-on-one time for her, especially in the morning before I start doing chores. Don't feel like a bad mommy! That's half the battle!
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
Now that I've said that....I was so sick with the flu last night I could barely function. I got out a DVD she was given for Christmas (from someone I guess who didn't know we're TV free) and let her watch it while I rested.
DD and I had some weird one-day flu thing last week and I let her watch cartoons while I napped on the couch, and she is still a baby : I don't think she watched it much b/c tv does not amaze her like it did when she was wee. I make exceptions to many rules when people are sick, so you get a free pass from me on that one!!!!!

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:49 AM
 
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I too am a single mom and my DS just turned 3. He's never wateched TV. I'm not saying it's easy to find time to get things done, or that I'm some sort of super mom. But I can say that it is indeed possible to parent alone and not rely on television to help. I think for me the key is just that I have never allowed tv to be a an option. I got rid of cable and I don't have netflix or buy any DVDs, etc. I don't use a computer much at home and when I do it's when DS is asleep. So TV is never there for me "in a pinch" when I'm desperate for a break. Instead I tell DS that "I expect you to work with your (truck, puzzle, whatever) while I do the dishes. If you want to help me, you can come in and get on the step stool." He is happy to pull out the little broom I bought him when it's time for me to sweep or vacuum. He's been very good about playing independently for short periods of time (5 - 20 minutes) since he was about 18 months old. I really attribute this to the absence of television - he has developed much sharper creative play skills.

Sometimes he protests but I just continue to reinforce that "sometimes mommy has to do work or cook meals" and that I'm counting on him to help me make a good home for us by giving me some space sometimes. For the most part he accepts it, mostly because I spend a lot of time with him when i'm not "getting things done". The hardest time is the evenings after I get out of work and pick him up. We get home and I need to make dinner. He's been away from me all day and he just wants me to sit on the couch and read to him. I usually read one book and then explain I need to make dinner and ask him to come help me. Most of the time he does, and we enjoy the time together. I'm so glad he's not sitting in front of the television.

Attachment-Parenting mom to darling DS : (January 2006). : : : : :
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Not to hijack, but my toddler-related problem is trying to occupy the preschooler while nursing the baby to sleep. It's just so much easier to set him up with Sesame Street, knowing he'll be quiet and safe. If he doesn't have that option, he's in the room w/ me playing, which is nice but not as quiet!
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:45 PM
 
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My DD liked playing with corn starch (well, we used potato starch, but still) and water goop. I would put her in her high chair and she'd happily play with the goop for a very long time. Also, dry beans (dd loved playing with lentils) or rice in a bowl with some sort of method to pour, scoop, whatever.

The "toddler's busy book" bought me time many times, but then DS is not as interested in those kinds of activities Might work - thought I'd throw that out there.

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Old 03-09-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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This is an issue that we've been working with lately. My husband is a musician and is gone often during the evening. Our two kids do really well without TV (we don't even have one in the house). We do let them watch YouTube animal videos (or construction machines for the 3.5 yo boy!) once in a while, but it's severely limited and only when we're in the room. Videos only come out when a parent, usually mom, is flat-out sick. Neither play great by themselves, although they are getting better. I do some engaging play with them to get them started with an activity, i.e. homemade playdough with cookie cutters, blocks, etc. One thing that's been a life-saver around dinner time lately has been to set up a make-shift tent (old sheet held up with playclips from palumba.com) next to the kitchen/dining area. They'll play with this for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes pulling out just the right picture books will do the trick or letting them play in the kitchen sink with some water and pots. Good luck!!!
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