Help! Strategies to deal with 3.5 DS constant demands for TV

(48 Posts)
farfromtree Sun 25-May-14 15:09:39

We have always been strict about TV. DS didn't watch any until he was two and then we've built up. From about 15 mins to about 30-40 mins a day now. At weekends maybe a film.

But he's obsessed. He will ask and ask and ask for it. We do loads of other things with him, but if he thinks that there's TV on the horizon it will take up his mind.

It's exhausting. When it goes off, with huge amount of warning, he will often have a massive tantrum that can go on and on...

No idea whether to ease up or stay firm. Find it so hard. He's pretty crap at amusing himself on his own so I don't want to use that as the cop out. It's not going to help him improve. Equally, don't want to be so uptight about it that it becomes more desirable.

Help!

ppeatfruit Sun 25-May-14 15:22:41

Well a lot of grown ups want what they can't have don't they? I'd cut him some slack. Our 3 had tv when they wanted it (obviously within reason and never in their rooms) and they are all very clever imaginative people with good jobs!!

There are some amazing programmes on now (better than before IMO) esp. CBeebies etc.

stargirl1701 Sun 25-May-14 15:24:34

I would either give him free rein for say a month or remove the TV from the house.

farfromtree Sun 25-May-14 15:39:22

Stargirl - what would giving him free reign for a month achieve?

tacal Sun 25-May-14 15:58:39

My ds has always watched TV and now at age 5 he is not interested in it. He would much rather play than watch TV. He won't even watch movies.

I think you should go with what feels right for you and your family. It never felt wrong for me to let ds watch television and it seems to have worked out ok because my ds is more of a sporty person than a tv and computer person.

If you decide to keep TV restricted what about having it at a set time every day and putting a timer near the television so he can clearly see when television time will be over. I find agreeing set times to do things and using timers helps us because my ds wants me to play with him all day.

Good luck

ppeatfruit Sun 25-May-14 16:04:11

I do remember feeling very hard done by at school and very different (which is hard at 7 yrs old) we couldn't join in some of the playground games until we observed them properly, because we didn't have a tv till we were teenagers. It made no difference to our emotional and intellectual development (i'm comparing my family and my kids here). IMO there's too much fuss made about it. Mobiles at 9 yrs old are far worse!

stargirl1701 Sun 25-May-14 16:57:41

Sometimes children crave something because they need it or they see it as incredibly desirable. If you give them the thing they want the issue often disappears...but not always.

For example, I have taught P7 children who 'helped' in P1. They weren't really helping but meeting their own needs. Sand tray, free painting, etc. The theory is that that child didn't have enough experience of that 'thing' when it was developmentally needed and subsequently it becomes an unmet need. Indeed, I have worked with parents who have demonstrated similar unmet needs. They couldn't play with their child until the painted their own picture. This was a school in very deprived catchment.

The issue here is that it is TV. It would 'feel' better, as an adult, to provide more books, more playdoh, etc.

I have found in 20 years that children who are obsessive don't respond to this though.

It's a tough one. I honestly don't know what I would do.

I've found books of DS's favourite program's to be really useful. So if he wants to watch say more Postman Pat than I am happy with I offer to read him a Postman Pat book instead. Most of the time he is happy with this. So among our just book books we also have Postman Pat, QPootle5, Charlie and Lola, Bob the builder and a few others. (Yes I know some of these started as books)

farfromtree Sun 25-May-14 19:50:21

I get all of this - how denial can cause issues - and how kids want to be like other kids, and have same reference points.

That's why we don't deny. He watches 30 mins at least a day, often closer to 40, plus a film at weekend. I really don't think that's a particularly low amount...or is it?

hotcrosshunny Sun 25-May-14 20:41:51

Why the film at the weekend? Seems like far too much to me. My 4.5 year old hasn't seen a film. Too long.

Why not stick to TV at a set time in the day? Eg only in the mornings for example?

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Sun 25-May-14 21:13:17

I'll probably get a flaming here but the telly is always on in my house. It's kind of like a background noise, and my 20 month old boy isn't that interested in it. We do all the normal things mums and sons do. I try and get him to watch sometimes, so I can get 5 min on my own, but he's just not interested. He just wants interaction.

Not sure whether it's just an individual thing, it might not work for everyone, but why not try just letting him watch it? The more you keep something away from someone, the more desirable it gets. If he knows he can watch it whenever, it might lose its appeal

I dunno, I'm probably talking shit. I've had one too many wines.

Toastmonster Mon 26-May-14 06:39:33

I agree Charlie... I let my son watch tv and iPad and he watches what he wants then he's bored and we do an activity he then chooses. Whereas my friend with DS the same age (3.8) will not allow it and I personally feel it makes an issue out of it and makes it worse! Same with chocolate. My son has a bit every other day, as a treat, pudding, because I'm eating it, whereas friend has a treat day Friday, makes it worse and he asks for chocolate all day every day. As long as they do other stuff ( and eat other stuff ) then I can't see a problem but I know I'm in a minority with my views

hotcrosshunny Mon 26-May-14 07:45:22

If the goal is to stop the DC asking for TV by all means have it on all the time. But it isn't great for speech development in young ones.

If the goal is to minimise TV generally then ignore the asking. My ds asks for new toys, chocolate etc etc every day. Doesn't mean I will give it!

beatingwings Mon 26-May-14 07:50:48

I would say ease up. I have never restricted TV. These days it's hardly watched. Some days when my kids were young they would watch 2 or 3 hours a day, but then we would go a week without even turning it on. Turning TV into a battle ground gives the television a lot of power. If your chuild asks you could tune into a boring channel- live at Westminter for example.

bonzo77 Mon 26-May-14 07:53:44

Mine have telly when it suits me and in return for good behaviour. In practice it means DS1has 20 minutes if he's helped tidy up the toys while I give DS2 his bed time bottle. We are on half term this week and sticking to this. I've added a sweetener of a trip to spend DS1's birthday money on Friday. DS1 is rubbish at listening and cooperating with day to day stuff (dressing, eating etc) and is significantly better without telly to distract him.

beatingwings Mon 26-May-14 08:17:56

But doesn't using TV as a reward enhance its appeal?

we dont limit tv either and a lot of the time it is on for background noise. Its not even kids programmes all the time e.g. breakfast news in the morning, Come Dine With Me, music channels, etc - it doesnt always have to be kids stuff thats on.

by so severely limiting it you are making it something he hankers after. Its the same with limiting sweets to a particular day. We have sweets/crisps on offer and if dd/ds ask for some I tend to say yes unless it is near a mealtime. They still have sweets left from halloween/easter, etc as they know its available so dont crave them.

Fairylea Mon 26-May-14 08:37:53

What's the point of making life difficult and miserable over tv? TV is entertaining and enjoyable for lots of people especially children. I'm not even sure the studies are worth paying attention to. It's not like you're shutting them in a box with just tv. Most people let their children play and watch and talk about what's on.

TV is not restricted in our house. At all. In fact it's always on. Both dc are extremely bright and sociable. Dd is now 11 and in top sets in everything at school.

I don't think it does any harm at all. I enjoy going on mumsnet and tv. If someone told me I couldn't do that I'd have a tantrum too.

TheLastThneed Mon 26-May-14 08:54:10

I'm one of these dreadful people who doesn't restrict tv. I don't think it has had a negative effect on DD, 4. She can read, write her name, fantastic vocab (comments from other people), has great imagination, still loves playing outside, loves doing crafts, cooking, books, music etc

Developmentally she's on target for her age. She has learned LOADS from Cbeebies and it has helped her to develop an interest in the world around her. I don't rely on TV for all of this but it has certainly helped.

Madrigals Mon 26-May-14 09:11:34

Farfrom I did and do with DS (now 3) almost exactly what you did with tv. It was on the advice of our salt as DS had a language delay connected to hearing problems.

From our salt's point of view, regardless of whether dc have a delay or not, no tv until 2 and then reasonable quantities (less than an hour a day after that) is optimum as this provides the best opportunities for parental interaction and language acquisition. I understand from her that research backs this up, but haven't read it myself. For children with a language delay like my DS limiting tv is even more important.

I deal with tv requests by having a set time of day for tv - it only goes on when I am cooking dinner and only for a set number of episodes. We don't do films yet. Seems to work ok - we went through a phase of lots of asking for it but saying 'is it tv time yet?' No - not until just before dinner Seemed to work after a while. He enjoys what he watches and doesn't know other dc get more.

I think with tv each to their own - parents know their own dc best and those with excellent language development usually won't be adversely affected by watching more tv. But I don't think what you are doing is wrong or unreasonable either.

TheLastThneed Mon 26-May-14 09:21:11

My post sounds real l y flippant after reading yours Madrigal. blush

ppeatfruit Mon 26-May-14 09:29:25

DD1 was talking in full sentences at 18 months old, dd2 was talking normally and ds1 was talking and counting at 13 months, so i don't see a connection between watching TV and slow speech development, unless the carers never speak to the baby. As another poster said they're not "in a box watching the box!!"

Madrigals Mon 26-May-14 09:37:35

TheLast - Your post is fine smile Lots of dc aren't affected at all negatively by watching loads of tv - my bf's son is one of the most articulate dc I know and he has always watched loads.

Just that for dc like mine it is very important to maximise eye contact and opportunities for interaction as I think research shows language is not learned from tv as well as from one on one human interaction - according to salt anyway. And she would say that is best for all dc.

Madrigals Mon 26-May-14 09:38:36

ppeat, I think there is a connection between too much tv and slow language development for some dc, just not all dc. And you probably spend masses if time interacting when tv is not on iyswim.

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