grandmothers using TV as a babysitter - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 11 Old 03-06-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
phoebemommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Anchorage, AK
Posts: 1,081
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is there an artful way to discourage this?

We're TV-limited -- no cable or sattelite, didn't make the digital switch, but we have a TV in the living room, do watch DVDs and do the Netflix Roku. The DVD player is also on its last legs, mostly not working, so right now we can mostly only watch DVD's upstairs in the office on the computer, which makes it much less central. We work on being in front of the computers less, but minimal TV itself is a big success for a former TV junkie like myself.

3yo ds watches 1 hour a day or less, and I'm very strict about what I let him watch. While I don't let him see "adult themes" just because he's so young, my biggest concern is trademarked characters and the hypnotic effect they seem to have on kids. Also, so much of children's television is just so stupid, IMO, and if he's sitting there staring at a screen, I want him watching something that at least might give him something worthwhile to think about or improve his vocabulary. So he watches nature shows, stuff about vehicles and heavy machinery, and limited, approved-by-me cartoons (Charlie Brown is his favorite right now). If he sees stuff I don't like at other people's houses I let it go, but it's very important to me that in our home, TV is very limited and not the center of our world.

And it works. He's a very active kid around the house, can play sports and games by himself for hours, draw pictures for hours, play with his cars and trucks for hours. And he plays outside as much as possible, weather permitting. I'm very happy with what an independent, self-motivate person he's becoming.

But, the grandmothers. Both of them respect the fact that we limit WHAT he watches. But they like to send DVD's, which are usually okay content-wise, but then we just have more stuff around to watch. MIL, not thinking it through, sent him a Fisher Price sports video game thing that hooks up to the TV, which has caused a lot of strife around here because I just had to say no. It was a well meaning gift (something sports-related to do indoors when it's cold out), but I just can't sanction his actual playing of sports being replaced by a video game. At least at this age. Even if it means balls are flying around the house a bit -- that doesn't bother me, it makes me happy in fact. My mom's not much better -- when we go to visit, she's always got a stack of DVD's lined up to entertain him with (MIL does too, actually) and she loves showing him funny You Tube videos. Like, for hours. If I leave him with her, they mostly watch stuff. She's always telling me about new You Tube stuff she's found, in case I "need to distract him." I don't ever really need to distract him, though, is the thing. Or if I do, I just tell him to go find something to play with and he does, happily.

In a way, I get why they need to distract him. When one of them is with ds, he is so excited to see them that he's all up in their business for hours on end. We encourage him to be engaged with adults, and he takes it to the extreme with them. That's intense, so I don't really expect them to never turn on the TV. But, in many ways its the culture of TV they're steeped in. They don't get why maybe it's better that he isn't completely versed in the entire Disney catalog, that maybe it's better if he's not constantly entertained and stimulated, that he has almost all authentic experiences rather than having them filtered through a screen. Actually, no, they get it, I've talked about it with them in more general terms and they totally support this approach to parenting and homeschooling. They just can't seem to untangle their own thinking from being TV-centered.

So. Any ideas on how to diplomatically steer them away from all this TV related gifting and activity? We live far away and don't see them that much, so it's not such a big deal now, but in a couple years we're planning to build a house on the IL's land, right next door. So the kids (baby on the way) will be spending a lot of time in the IL's living room with it's sattelite TV and Disney movie collection on the shelf. I'd like to start subtly laying the groundwork for a healthy relationship with that TV if I can.
phoebemommy is offline  
#2 of 11 Old 03-10-2010, 06:20 PM
 
MommaCrystal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wish I had some answers. You saw my own thread where I am struggling with this. My boys walk into my mother's house and walk straight to "their" DVDs and expect to watch them immediately. She doesn't know how to do things like take a shower or cook a meal without them watching something. She can't believe that they can be safe and content for 20 minutes.

And maybe I'm wrong. My mother is awesome. She engages them at a much higher energy level than I can even imagine. Everything at her house is a grand and exciting adventure. Which I love. But she riles them up, exhausts herself totally, and then resorts to the TV so she can catch a breather. But as they get older (and she gets older) those breathers seem to be getting longer and longer. What was once just one movie has turned into two or three or four.

When they are with her they have come to EXPECT her attention 100% of the time. She is also a big push over and they don't take what she says all that seriously. So the messes are bigger, the noise is louder, the chaos is bigger. Until she turns the TV on! She also only had one child and I was VERY well behaved and CALM according to even her. And we lived with my grandmother and aunt when I was little so she had lots of help. Two rambunctious boys 30 years later... it is a lot I admit.

What BUGS me though is when she implies that it is ok because they are deprived at home. That I HATE! Before we eliminated the TV she respected my desire to limit TV time very well. Now, she uses the lack of TV at home as justification for LOTS of TV time at her house.

Ok, so I just went out forever. I have no advice but I'd love to see what others might say!
MommaCrystal is offline  
#3 of 11 Old 03-12-2010, 04:33 PM
 
dogretro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 1,781
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is how it goes for us: When dd is alone w/ Grammy, that is Grammy time. If she wants to watch tv w/ dd all day, that is her decision. It can be annoying, but my mother is taking care of my daughter, usually overnight, for free. Grammys are there to spoil your babies. DD also has only one functioning grandparent who does tons for us, so if she wants to feed dd cheeze doodles and Disney all day, she can have at it! She put in her time raising me, now it is time for fun!

So, that is my opinion. Grammy may be using the tv as a babysitter, but you are using Grammy as a babysitter. There is nothing wrong w/ asking for dvd's to NOT be given to your child in your own home, but I would not expect to control every aspect of what my kids do at another person's house when that person is watching them. I do ask my mom to please please NOT show dd Dora b/c I HATE that show, but that has been the only one so far. As for moving in next door to IL's where you know your kids will be free to go over and watch tv all day, maybe you need to rethink moving there. You cannot expect others to maintain a tv-free lifestyle just b/c that is what you have chosen for yourselves.

jumpers.gif

DD (4.25.08)  DD (4.23.10)  DD (10.13.12)

dogretro is offline  
#4 of 11 Old 03-12-2010, 07:15 PM
 
MommaCrystal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I disagree. 99 times out of 100 my children are at my mother's house because SHE asked them to come. I almost never ask her to take my children. I know that isn't the case for everyone. But it is for me. Sure, I try to do something enjoyable for me alone when she has them... but it is RARE that I NEED her to take them. They go so they can have relationship with her. Relationships are hard to form in front of a television in my opinion.

Watching TV non-stop (and eating nothing but garbage) is not spoiling in my opinion. Especially when it is done in protest of my own parenting. Spoiling to me is spending quality time doing things that Mommy isn't always able to do. Like riding the tractor outside, climbing trees, making mountains, or cooking and baking, doing crafts, etc.

I don't try to control what goes on at my mother's house. If so there would be NO TV at all, and nothing but organic whole foods. I let a show or two go, I let hot dogs go, I let late bed-times go, I let a LOT go. But there is a line and I get uncomfortable when she starts to cross it.
MommaCrystal is offline  
#5 of 11 Old 03-12-2010, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
phoebemommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Anchorage, AK
Posts: 1,081
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I get what you're saying, dogretro, but my thing is not that I want to control what they do. I'm just wondering if anyone has succeeded in, like I said, "artfully" encouraging other activities. Or even showing the grandmothers that they don't have to entertain and stimulate every moment. And it isn't a babysitting thing -- most of the time I'm there, actually, or I go to the bathroom or something and suddenly they're all engrossed in YouTube or TV.

With you on the Dora... . That show is like nails on a chalkboard!
phoebemommy is offline  
#6 of 11 Old 04-21-2010, 02:43 PM
 
maddymama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi Mamas,
What has *helped* us cut back on TV at the grandparents is sending a low-key activity over with DD- coloring stuff, playdough, art project stuff, books to read, etc. They don't have to worry about getting stuff ready or if it's appropriate. They will play with DD1 for a good 30 minutes to an hour before turning on the TV (which is a huge improvement over automatically putting a video in). Also, DD1 is rarely left in their care for more than 2 hours, so I figure an hour treat is ok.
~maddymama
maddymama is offline  
#7 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 07:51 PM
 
Messac888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaCrystal View Post
Watching TV non-stop (and eating nothing but garbage) is not spoiling in my opinion.
I consider this spoiling only because they behave so darned rotten afterwards. My mom was notorious for being, IMO, lazy with my kids. I started lending them to her less often and she noticed the relationship. Occasionally they will junk out on tv but at least she gets my approval on which movie first. And, honestly, as wrong as this may be to some, if it's an incredibly beautiful day outside and she'll have a kid or two of mine (I have 4) I tell her they're grounded from TV for the day, blah blah, and they end up hanging out at the park, baking cookies together and then picnicing out in the backyard to eat them while blowing bubbles. It works and the kids remember it much more than watching junk TV.
Messac888 is offline  
#8 of 11 Old 06-17-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Messac888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 587
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebemommy View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone has succeeded in, like I said, "artfully" encouraging other activities.
On another note, it was really tough to get junk toys out of the annual gift-giving occasions. Finally one year we got our then 2-yo dd an instrument set and my dad jokingly said to me, "Oh, you're gonna love that- I wonder who got it for her?" and I said, "Oh, WE did." Everyone looked at us like, "What?" and I said that "loud toys aren't the issue, it's people buying toys for kids that play for them instead of letting the kids play on their own." They made the connection that the electronic, battery-operated toy cell phone from my brother was NOT the greatest idea but the instruments were. Sometimes tact isn't all it's cracked up to be when no one 'gets' it, you know? But after that I think we've only gotten 2 battery-operated things at that was almost 4 years ago- and through 4 kids' worth of gift giving.

Maybe you could go rummage saleing and get some nice second-hand toys to keep at gma's place for when the kids are over. Toys that they don't have at home, mind you, so they'll be enthusiastic about playing with them and skipping the tv. HTH!
Messac888 is offline  
#9 of 11 Old 06-22-2010, 05:23 PM
 
Bad Mama Jama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Locale so Secret that I Don't Know
Posts: 4,972
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
my mother allows dd to watch DVDs or PBS Sprout, The Food Network, or Fine Living. They alternate watching their selections when they are together. But the way I see it, my mother does do other things with dd. They go to the farmer's market, the dollar store, outside to play, etc. So for the times that she does watch television or a movie with her, I can't complain too much. I don't think

Former dreads.gifwearing, treehugger.gifing, pole dancing, read.gifpushing, ribbonpurple.gifsurvivor & single mama extraordinaire to energy.gif.  

Now that's a mouthful!!! computergeek2.gif & follow it!   

 

Bad Mama Jama is offline  
#10 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 02:26 AM
 
lovbeingamommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,919
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Pretty much I let the grandparents do what they want (they do anyways) when they watch ds. I tried to make changes early on but it was just perceived as me being too over-protective. Both parents don't fully understand our lifestyle and that's ok. They happily watch my ds one day a week each for free so I can continue to teach part-time. I'm grateful and basically let it go at that.

Kate, Wife to DH and Mommy to a 5yo lovin' DS; three angels 4/08 9/08 3/10 in Heaven,
waitin' for my baby

lovbeingamommy is offline  
#11 of 11 Old 07-19-2010, 10:43 AM
 
MrsBone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oak Point, TX
Posts: 1,184
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogretro View Post
This is how it goes for us: When dd is alone w/ Grammy, that is Grammy time. If she wants to watch tv w/ dd all day, that is her decision. It can be annoying, but my mother is taking care of my daughter, usually overnight, for free. Grammys are there to spoil your babies. DD also has only one functioning grandparent who does tons for us, so if she wants to feed dd cheeze doodles and Disney all day, she can have at it! She put in her time raising me, now it is time for fun!

So, that is my opinion. Grammy may be using the tv as a babysitter, but you are using Grammy as a babysitter. There is nothing wrong w/ asking for dvd's to NOT be given to your child in your own home, but I would not expect to control every aspect of what my kids do at another person's house when that person is watching them. I do ask my mom to please please NOT show dd Dora b/c I HATE that show, but that has been the only one so far. As for moving in next door to IL's where you know your kids will be free to go over and watch tv all day, maybe you need to rethink moving there. You cannot expect others to maintain a tv-free lifestyle just b/c that is what you have chosen for yourselves.
I agree, I have no problem giving my opinion and suggestions about tv, entertainment, food choices, discipline choices, but ultimately, she's doing me a favor by keeping her grandchild for free, and I don't feel like I should be controlling everything that happens while I'm gone. Aside from major things, like if she were spanking him, when I'm strongly against spanking, I'd just let it go. Most of the time, my mom and I are in line with stuff though, so it hasn't really become much of an issue in my house. Oh and by the way, my household is totally not TV-free, but limited. I just am lurking!

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

MrsBone is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off