Help me wean my toddler! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-22-2008, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Wasn't quite sure where to post this... here or in unschooling, but I figure it has to do more with television than unschooling so here it is.

DD is 19 months old and hasnt watched television until this past month, besides watching movies with us sometimes. The last month has been especially difficult, so I resorted to putting little bear on youtube for her... I followed a link from soulemama, whose kids are unschooled, so it made me feel like maybe it wouldnt be so bad just while I got the dishes done.

Well she has become ADDICTED in the last few weeks and it's driving me up the wall!! Our computer was in the living room and so whenever we'd be in the house, she'd want to watch little bear. I'd try to distract her with books, going outside etc but it would only ever work until that got old and then she wanted to watch little bear again... at times yes I have loved it because she sits there quietly while I get chores done but its been a slippery slope. I want things back to the way they were!!

I don't know if I never want her watching it, but just not nearly as much. I dont feel quite right about telling her she can never watch it, because I hold the more unschooling philosophy that she should be in control... but I go back and forth on it, like how much control should I give her and how can I gently encourage her to do other things that I feel arent as mind numbing.

For now I have moved the computer out of the living room and put it up in the spare room... so we can close the door and its not such a temptation. I have tried to make our living room more an area for reading... I put a little book shelf with dds books and her little chair. Her play room is also connected to the LR but she really hasnt been too interested in her toys for the last few months. I'm planning to maybe put some crafty things in that room that are easy for her to access, too...

I guess I just feel uninspired. Is it time for something new, ie new toys or crafty things? She just doesnt seem to be interested in any of her other stuff for more than a few minutes these days.. unless we're outside, but the weather has been rainy for the last two weeks. Can someone please give me some advice and ideas?
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#2 of 4 Old 06-22-2008, 09:05 PM
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In my experience (observational), you're experiencing two conflicting philosophies. The unschooling philosophy (to which I am strongly attracted to, but I wouldn't say we're unschooling with a 15mo, and I don't know what we'll be doing when he's 5, or 10, or 15) says that TV and related media are, like almost everything in life, things to which children should have free access and free control over, and that watching TV now is fulfilling a need for her, if only the need to experience and learn about TV watching. The TV free philosophy says that TV acts remarkably like a drug, and that she is not currently free in her actions, because she is experiencing addiction and compulsive behavior that is ultimately not good for her.

I think TV-light is hard to do within a radical unschooling philosophy approach. I think fully TV free (no videos at this age, nothing watching on the computer, etc) is compatible, since the option simply isn't there, just like the option to do crack simply isn't there. You're discovering why this is so. I wouldn't allow access to TV or videos at all at this age, which is not to say that when she's older, when her mind has a foundation of interaction with real life and she understands the dangers of TV, that she couldn't be allowed control over the amount and type that she watches. But even radical unschoolers would be unlikely to hand a 3 week old chocolate cake, you know? It's not something they're prepared to make rational, deliberate decisions about, and there are lots and lots of good reasons to keep them away from it for now.

So for me, having looked at the research on the effects of television on young minds, and having experienced its addictiveness and the unhappy compulsive behavior that results first hand, I would choose to go no-TV in any shape from here on out. It will be harder, since Pandora's box has been opened, as it were, but it can be done. I recommend the cold-turkey approach, unlike with normal weaning (since what she's being weaned off isn't something good for her, a need outgrown, but something not good, which she needs to get out of her system).

I think moving the computer is a great start, and that once you decide and implement the no-video path, you'll have to deal with a couple weeks (anywhere from a few days to a month or so) of TV-altered behavior, but that you CAN get her back to a point of being engaged with more than the idiot box.
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#3 of 4 Old 06-23-2008, 10:22 PM
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Wow- Arwyn, nice! I couldn't really figure out how to respond to this, and that is right on the money: a conflict between unschooling and TV-free, especially in toddlers. And I agree with you that TV is not clearly something that people can easily regulate. It IS addictive (there was an article in the Scientific American, and others that discuss TV as being an addictive media) and something that over-rides a child's regular judgement is not a fair situation.

And, like Arwyn, cold turkey is actually easier .
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#4 of 4 Old 06-23-2008, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by granola_mom View Post
from soulemama
That's such a great site.

uc.jpg  lotbirth.gif   waterbirth.jpg 
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