Dsd wants to watch films all day

(21 Posts)
alita7 Sun 13-Apr-14 15:47:04

Dsd is 10 but due to ld Is more like a 5 or 6 year old. Whenever she's not at school she wants to watch films. Obviously she's off for the holidays and I don't know what to do. DP Isn't bothered by this really but I am.
We try to do other things, she's had friends over to play with and I've taken her to the park and to the shops with me. I got her a craft set which she did for a bit. But the problem is whenever me or dp need to do other things (even though she's on holiday we still have things to do :p) she

alita7 Sun 13-Apr-14 15:50:02

oops sent before finished, stupid phone

...she has a massive strop if I tell her she can't watch a film and that she needs to do something else, maybe play with her numerous toys, she has way too many and refuses to get rid of any, yet won't play with them. She has literally been in floods of hysterical tears over this. I don't want her sat inside watching film after film all the time. How do I get her to play with her toys by herself sometimes, I don't think this is unreasonable!

LastingLight Mon 14-Apr-14 08:43:26

Unfortunately children who were allowed to watch that much tv do not have the ability to entertain themselves and I agree with you, it's very unhealthy. They don't develop creativity, which is an important skill later in life. I recently went to a talk by someone who does research in this area. As soon as a child spends more than 4-5 hours on a screen per day there is a drastic decrease in her ability to think critically or be creative.

You will have to get your husband on board with this and lay down some rules e.g. no more than 2 films a day. Can you start playing with a toy with her, then withdraw and leave her on her own? Can she read time yet? Get a big clock for her room and show her... look where the long arm is, you need to play by yourself until it moves to that number, then we will play with you again.

alita7 Mon 14-Apr-14 22:46:07

The clock thing is a good idea.
Dp struggles with this- his opinion is that she wants to do it and we get the time to do what we need to do and it saves a 'needless' strop and argument. I half see his point, but he is in many ways still stuck in fun weekend parent mode, and still needs to adjust.
I think her mum would stick her in front of the tv too much when she lived with her as she has 2 little ones and it was probably easier. So I think that's why.
I've explained to them both that she needs to develop creativity but she is too focused on what she wants, and doesn't really get it- does it make sense that to her, 'making her imagination better' as I put it does not matter to her at all.
The problem is getting her to play with the toys in the first place, she will do so if a friend wants to play with them, but even with one of us she often doesn't want to, if she has already decided she wants to watch a film. :/

Oh the joys of trying to break children out of habits the former resident parent creates!

titchy Mon 14-Apr-14 22:50:52

Sorry YOUVE explained to her parents the error of their ways? shock And they told you to butt out cos she's their kid not yours? I agree it's a bit crap, but really who made you the boss?

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 12:07:42

I haven't spoken to her mother... she has no part in her parenting except supervised contact anymore after a series of abuse.

And who are you to judge a situation where all you know about it is a snipit of info on this thread?

For your information, I cook for, clean for, do 50% of the care for, support emotionally and do every thing else a parent does for her. DP and I have an agreement, we share the care and the responsibilities like any other parents, it works out better for all of us, we make decisions about her together and both discipline her where appropriate. It works for her as she gets stability, a mother figure where she is lacking one, things done for her (dp is rubbish with chores, remembering her lunch for school etc) and she has never once said your not my mum or questioned my place. she and I get on brilliantly (except right now my pregnancy hormones are all over the place). and I find that she respects us equally and treats us the same and that works for us too

so we discuss things together and while we don't always agree we still respect each other's opinions. He feels that when its just me with her then I should do what im comfortable with. She is perfectly happy with the situation and tells people when it comes up that while I'm not mummy I do the mummy stuff for her.

In this particular situation he has the same attitude he often has which is that he sees what I'm saying, that it is bad for her to watch film after film, but just this once won't hurt... only that's every time and he says that regularly for things without realising that these things build up. He can't be bothered with the hassle of getting her to do other things and he's happy if she's watching a film as he can do what he wants undisturbed...

anyway if you have any advice on how to make other things seem attractive to a child who just wants TV then I'd love to hear it, but the anti step mum stuff is not welcome, taring us all with the same brush because the minority stick their nose in inappropriately is not fair at all... Some of us are a main care giver for our step children and do not deserve to be berated for asking for advice on caring for them...

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 12:08:38

When I said explained to them both, I meant dp and dsd.

LastingLight Tue 15-Apr-14 13:39:00

I assume you're pregnant with your and dp's first child together. I suggest you give serious thought to parenting style before this baby is born. If you cannot agree on what is best for dsd then there is no reason to think you will agree for the new baby.

titchy Tue 15-Apr-14 13:41:21

In that case I apologise - I misread your 'I told them both' bit as you told your dsd's mother and father! Although tbh I'm not sure a child with a cognitive age of 5 could really understand that she needs to develop creativity.

No suggestions other than give her a choice each day of two dvds to watch and make sure she understands that they're the only two she's allowed, cos the telly breaks after that. A lot of 5 years olds aren't really any good at playing by themselves, it's a skill that has to be learnt the same as any other, and she will probably need a lot of adult input into what she does instead, at least to start with.

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 13:47:47

We agree ok most of the time, it's just on a few things he thinks they're not as important as I do or sometimes with small things that we agree on/he decided was a rule he forgets due to a memory problem. It doesn't cause arguments.
That wasn't the issue on the thread, he will support me if she kicks off after I ask her to do something else, he just doesn't tell himself which is up to him and we've discussed it and he doesn't think it's an issue but he has no problem with me getting her to do other things providing she is occupied when he's busy. I wanted was advice on how to persuade her and avoid tantrums. I got some good advice originally, to try clocks and starting out by playing with her...

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 13:52:14

Thanks for your apology titchy, sorry for the slightly viscous response, it's a touchy subject as often people outside of the situation don't get it.

No I don't think she understands but I still feel it's important to try to explain things to her rather than just say cos I said so :/ I guess I wouldn't mind so much but she has a room so full of toys you can barely move and she cries lots if you try and clear things out so we struggle to make her do it :p

LastingLight Tue 15-Apr-14 14:13:28

Regarding throwing stuff out... we do this when dd isn't at home. I know some people will shoot me down in flames but it's the only way we ever managed to get rid of stuff. We either donate/throw away immediately, or store in the garage for a couple of months first to see if she misses something. It's only now that she's 11 that we finally managed to get her to participate meaningfully in this process. Maybe the amount of stuff your dsd has is overwhelming for her?

How would she react if you took some toys (Lego, cars, teddies) and just started playing? Could you get her interested in what you're doing,maybe teach her how to do something (like build a Lego wall) and then slowly withdraw?

LastingLight Tue 15-Apr-14 14:18:09

Sorry that sounds like my first suggestion. What I mean is just start playing with something, completely ignoring her as if you don't care whether or not she joins you.

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 16:46:08

there's a lot of problems with chucking stuff out. She forms sentimental attachments to things depending on who gave them to her and this is especially bad for the stuff from her mums, she is very confused about how she feels about her and holds on to any nice gestures she makes, so it seems the things she has from her are a symbol of the love she craves from her (I think, this is my interpretation anyway). Then we have the problem that she came to us, and we had a few bits for her and her sisters here, then we thought she wasn't bringing much so we bought her quite a bit of new stuff and then about a month later her grandad turned up with the contents of her old room as her mum had decided to use it for something else seeing as she's not able to sleep over there. So we're struggling to get her to wittle things down.

I think the starting to play with things could be a good idea, though I wonder if we'll ever get over the initial reaction when she asks to watch a film and is told no, her feelings are but I asked nicely :/ once she's in a tantrum it's really hard to get her to switch off and come and play if that makes sense.

LastingLight Tue 15-Apr-14 17:08:35

Can you just store some of the stuff in the garage, then you can rotate which toys she has in her room?

Use the clock - the long arm is now on the 12. If you can play quietly without throwing a tantrum until the long arm is on the 4, then you can watch a movie. Or get a kitchen timer.

steppemum Tue 15-Apr-14 17:12:03

We have found that the easiest way to deal with screen time is to have a set time of the day when screens are on, and the rest of the time all screens are off. For us, in the term time it is 5pm (we eat around 6). In the holidays they come down and watch/play computer from when they wake up until breakfast (which can be anything from 8-10 am) and then they are off again until 5.

It takes all the stress out, because once the rule is established, then they know it will not change.

If she has ld, she may struggle to initiate imaginative play on her own. She may also just not be the sort of child who plays with toys. One of mine dds (age 9) doesn't unless there is a friend round to play with. In fact she hardly does anything, except read, on her own, she really likes company. She is close to wherever I am, and often just helps me with what I am doing. She doesn't play with toys, she does like craft stuff.

WRT to throwing away, at the moment I wouldn't. I would let her keep anything she wants to keep, as she needs to work through her complex feelings over mum, and moving in with you permanently and so on. If she knows she is allowed to keep them until she is ready, she may feel free to let go of them sooner. Another way may be to talk about passing them on to other children who don't have many toys, so they will be loved and played with my someone. then take them to the charity shop.

zipzap Tue 15-Apr-14 17:27:17

DS is 6 and adores watching films but he also likes playing alongside them iyswim.

So a current favourite is Wacky Races (yes, the old cartoons from when we were little!) and he'll have them on, but he'll be building a wacky race track of his own, using bits of lego, duplo, stuff from other games, all sorts of odds and sods that he squirrels away... plus then he has several cars that he'll race through it.

he also loves scooby doo - so at christmas time I got him a set of the scooby gang characters that are similar to playmobil size. He and his brother also have typical boy toys like boats, cars, a castle, a pyramid, a fire engine and so on. All of which can be neatly repurposed and pressed into action for a scooby adventure when it's on tv - doesn't need to match what's on exactly, but the film seems to be the starting point and then once it's finished he doesn't really notice, his game carries on.

So maybe a different way to attack this would be to see if there is anything you could get her to do whilst watching the films - hopefully it will become something she enjoys doing by association with the positive vibes she gets from watching the film. And as she gets better at it, she'll start to do it herself, even without the film or continue after the film finishes. and at least she isn't then just sitting and watching the film to the exclusion of everything else.

Only thing I wouldn't recommend doing this with is Tom and Jerry shudders to think what lounge would look like if ds2 re-enacted that in here grin

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 20:30:00

lasting light we have a tiny 2 bed flat sad no garage, no attic, no garden etc we still have lots of boxes just in corners etc we just don't have any storage for stuff we want and use occasionally (like dps tools etc)

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 20:38:26

I always try the playing alongside thing but she literally gets glued to the screen and will be sat holding her pencil or whatever with a blank piece of paper :p she can't multi task like her dad :p I think specific screen time may work to an extent but she can't tell the time (which leads to arguments when I have to prove to her it is bed time, because "i know it's not 8 o clock, you just think it is" but I will try the clock hands thing. or tell her when the first number on the digital clock we have is at a specific number.

maybe telling her she has to draw pictures about what happened in the film before she can watch another may work?

steppemum Tue 15-Apr-14 21:54:26

Have you tried a timer? If she can't tell the time, then a timer may work better. If you set it for one hour, or half and hour or something, then she can watch until the timer goes off.

alita7 Tue 15-Apr-14 22:56:38

Ooh that's a good idea actually- a timer would be easy for her to understand and indisputable (she can't say oh but I thought you said x) - she might still moan, but she will know it's totally fair and that will reduce problems. Will have to have a look for one smile

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