to MDC for hosting this forum. I am really grateful to have a place to discuss my concerns.
My background is that I was raised anti-TV and was allowed to watch about 1 hour per week (my stepfather loved TV so we had it in the home). My dh was raised similarly. I find TV quite addictive for myself so we don't have cable and only occasionally rent dvds to watch when our children are asleep.
My ds has a pretty extreme temperament. He has been diagnosed with ADHD. Like many I believe that ADHD is a multi-causal umbrella diagnosis, not a single disorder...and I also believe that many ADHD traits are "within the range of normal" - but I am just putting that out there as info. He also falls within the "active alert
" personality type. He's extremely physically active and very extraverted - he wants constant interaction and spends about 5 minutes a day doing things by himself without seeking interaction from others. He talks constantly and even when he is involved in an activity, he wants intense focus from his parent. Needless to say, he has been a challenging child to raise, especially now that he has a younger sister who is in her toddler years. Dh and I have been struggling to cope as our dc haven't been OK with babysitting, even from people who they know and see regularly. We have no family help and just getting through the day if often a challenge. We put a lot of energy into organizing ds' day so that he has outdoor exercise, regular meals, social time, etc., etc.
Until he was 4 yo, ds didn't have any TV. The problem was that I was never able to institute quiet time for ds once he stopped napping. He would just rev himself up all day and I could see that he couldn't get a break from himself and reduce his own stimulation-seeking. We tried advice that I've read about starting quiet time, but it never worked - it always basically ended up with him wanting all of our attention the entire time. There was an additional challenge that he would actively sabotage my putting my dd to sleep for her nap and I was getting quite desperate.
Opposite to perhaps most people in this forum, I deliberately started plunking ds in front of a video each day - for about an hour every day
. I feel terrible just writing that. I expected all these bad things to happen (based on my reading and my background), but honestly it seemed to allow him a break - a chance to zone out and have a break from himself and his tendency to have his body and mouth in constant motion that didn't involve interacting with us
the entire time. The only other thing that I've found along those lines is books on CD - we have just started these and ds likes them but not sure yet whether they can fulfill the same role as TV for ds.
Everything that I've read about ADHD says that TV is especially
bad for these children, but I'm having trouble reconciling that with my experience. I guess I want to understand the impact of TV on a child with my ds' temperament. Thoughts on that? Is TV ever good or helpful or is it always a suboptimal way to spend time in that age group?
Any thoughts on how to help my ds "chill out" without needing my constant attention (at a time when I need to put dd to sleep for her nap)? I'm not looking for activities because that always involves *me* having to do the activities. I'm looking for a way to help ds tune into his own need to slow down his rhythms.
for reading this far. I really welcome input from those who are TV-free or questioning the role of TV in their children's lives.