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Turning off the TV

Only for the small people I hasten to add, I still like a bit of the googlebox when I’m home alone (although I did spend a rather chilly hour last night sat out on the patio reading my book in the setting sun).

But yes, I have finally done it and banned TV for the girls.

Its been something I’ve been threatening to do for a while but have held off doing but enough was enough and so we are now a Cbeebies free zone.

They didn’t watch a lot of television – an episode of Octonauts in the morning and a couple before bedtime or Show Me Show Me. 

But what had started to happen was that it had stopped being a treat and a way to wind down and instead was, I thought, starting to impact the way Bigger was behaving.

Its very seductive to let them watch TV in the morning.  Another 10 minutes of peace, an opportunity for a snooze or some parental privacy – we’ve become expert at sneaking away as the Octonauts theme starts and being back in time for the end of the episode.

But it does mean every morning is then a battle ground of ‘please one more’ and the resultant tears and shouting when we insist that they have to go downstairs for breakfast right now.  And then a similar thing happens in the evenings.

So after a morning with a particularly impressive tantrum I decided enough was enough and TV was outlawed chez Muddling.

The girls have been told that they will have stories and quiet time instead and that if they are particularly good girls then as a treat they may be allowed some television at some stage.
And despite another impressive tantrum with Bigger lying on the floor shouting ‘I am a good girl and I want to watch Octonauts’ whilst drumming her heels, it has been relatively painless to implement.

The best bit is that mornings are now less difficult – we play tents under the duvet, we read books, we chat about the day and our plans. 

Evenings are easier too – I can read books to both, we can have a proper chat about what they have been up to.  And Bigger is insisting on going to bed earlier presumably because its so dull downstairs that she would rather go up and read.

On an associated note, what do you do for a toddler that doesn’t need a lot of sleep and so goes to bed but stays awake for a good half hour afterwards?  Do you leave them with books?  Or do you try harder to wear them out?  And yes, I am that sort of selfish parent that needs them in bed by 8pm so I can get on with important things like sitting on the sofa watching mindless TV and yes I am aware of the irony in that!

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14 comments to Turning off the TV

  • Here’s a tip: don’t make TV time as a treat, assign it only as relax time. The treats should be giving them fun creative projects to do.

    When you give them the reality that TV is a treat, their minds will give more perceived value to watching TV and consuming media rather than creating it!

  • When it comes to my toddler I don’t care if she’s up there reading for ages after she’s gone to bed as long as she’s in bed and quiet. It’s just when she keeps shouting for “one more story” that I get annoyed.

  • I didn’t let DD watch tv until she was almost 2. With DS (he is 18 months) things have been quite different. Because I can’t get anything with with both of them around, sadly I let them watch tv when I am preparing the dinner. It wouldn’t be this bad had they been able to play together. But not yet. It always ends up with not being able to share a certan toy and frustration.
    As for the bed time, DH put DD to sleep,reads a book or two and then waits until she sleeps. At the same time I put DS to sleep and we meet up around 9 o’clock :) DD can sleep on her own but both DH and DD are happy as they get to spend a one to one time together so we haven’t tried otherwise, yet :)

    • Muddling Along

      Sounds entirely reasonable – we all need downtime

      TV has been the thing that has got me through solo bedtime – I do it on my own every night and when I need to settle Littler first it does mean I have time with Bigger happily amused on her own – parenting is just a list of difficult choices isn’t it

  • Freyja is older she’s 5 and half) but we have a similar thing with her going to bed but not actually going to sleep for some time. I thought this would stop once she was at school but it hasn’t. Luckily she has always been very good at staying in her bed, I’m just aware that she is still awake.

    What we now do, which might not work for you yet but perhaps when she is a bit older, is after we’ve done stories she is allowed to sit in her bed (has to be in bed) either reading or doing her stickers for an extra half hour. We bought her a bedside light which she can turn off herself (we were finding she was trying to read books in the dark after we’d turned the light off). Now that she is allowed to stay up a little after stories we find she nearly always turns her own bedside light off after about 15 mins. She sometimes still doesn’t then go to straight to sleep and I can often hear her singing to herself.

    Before we did the bedside light thing I just used to tell her to tell herself little stories or to sing to herself before she fell asleep.

    S x

    • Muddling Along

      Oh stickers are a good idea – at the moment we leave her with a book which doesn’t work because she can’t read so she gets frustrated

      We do spend a lot of nights when we move around which bed she ends up in, especially when Mr is away… but don’t tell him that

      • My daughter also really enjoys making these little scrap books. She sticks stickers in them and then draws all around the stickers. I just give her blank note books and these are what she often does in her ‘extra time’ before lights out. Its really interesting to look through them because as her ability to write has improved, the squiggles have developed into real letters and now into words.

  • No TV??? Not even when you really need a cup of tea in the afternoon???

  • I am with you!

    The tv causes more arguments than it is worth with my two.

    So it is allowed as a treat but more often than not they are allowed to watch a film once or twice a week. They enjoy it and it ends rather than has to be turned off and I get to either watch it with them, snooze, play with baby or work!

    My twins never go straight to sleep they have always rambled on in their beds. I dont mind so long as they drop off eventually….

    x

    • Muddling Along

      Having it as a treat is working wonders – Bigger is becomming much better behaved ( a coincidence?) and I now have a bargaining tool!

  • My kid’s don’t watch that much tv but I really, really need time that the couple of programmes give me – to put the small boy to bed and to sit down with a large mug of tea etc! I tried audio books with the big girl and they are fab. Fantastic Mr Fox, Naughty Little Sister and Lighthouse Keeper stories are favourites at the moment and keep her in bed at bed time without major shenaniganswhen she’s tired before she gets to sleep.

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