Struggling with DS4 in lock down after the worst year ever *possible TW*

(37 Posts)
PinkSkiesAtNight Sat 09-Jan-21 07:46:05

Basically, I don't have the energy to play with my DS as he wants me to, and to stop him watching too much TV during another lock down (not UK). I can feel his addiction building up again and I can't do it.

Background:
Divorced Nov 19, moved into new house with DS (then) 3 and DD 11 months. Went to my mum in UK for Christmas. Christmas Eve blue lighted to Great Ormond St Hospital with DD in an induced coma. Spent a month there with her, while DS was with my mum in another city, they visited every 2 or 3 days. DD diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Ex flew over too. We brought DD home end of Jan, the day after her 1st birthday. Went into full lock down in March. DD passed away a week into it.
My Dad passed away in October.

I coped, for DS, but he got very very angry, due to losing his sister, being away from his school and friends, divorce and being just 4. He started watching waaay too much television and I didn't have the energy to deal with it.

We got through it and he has got much much better, I have spent time on myself, lots of physical exercise, online personal trainer, sorting my flat etc.

We had to isolate for 10 days from 26th Dec. All the thoughts and memories came back from last time. And we are back into the same thing. Too much TV. I play with him but he wants to push a fucking car around for hours and I do it 'wrong'. Or jump around on the sofa or chase him round the house. He doesn't want to draw/lego/be creative for more than a few minutes at a time. So he watches too much TV.

I would be fine at home on my own. Books, exercise, yoga, films, I would actually really enjoy it. But I am seriously struggling with him. To give him what he needs and cope myself. I can't do it again. And I think we will back in full lock down from Monday. Last time children weren't allowed out AT All. Not even for exercise. I can't do it.

OP’s posts: |
inappropriateraspberry Sat 09-Jan-21 07:58:14

He's only 4. Too much tv isn't the worst thing, as long as what he watches is suitable. He's dealing with a lot of stuff, like you said, and I wouldn't force him to do too much out of his comfort zone. How about just leaving some paper and pens, Lego out in the room. Don't point it out or pressure him to use it, but you may find he'll naturally go to it at some point.
You are both dealing with a lot of things and I am so sorry about your daughter.
You want to do what you like - reading, yoga. He wants to do what he likes - watching tv. He is old enough to play on his own. I'd really leave off pushing him to do other things. He has plenty of time in the future for finding new interests.

WinoLino Sat 09-Jan-21 08:03:27

I completely agree, @inappropriateraspberry. Plus the suggestion of leaving things out is a great one.
Do not be too hard on yourself. You've done amazingly. There will be lots of children watching "too much" TV at these times, of parents who haven't been through what you have been through and they are also doing their best. At most I think try to vary what he watches and be kinder to yourself cake

WinoLino Sat 09-Jan-21 08:05:28

Also, it's great that he sees you enjoy things like yoga and reading. We don't tell our children who to be, we show them, and you are setting a great example by showing him how to enjoy hobbies that are great for the body and mind.

TwoHundredThousandTimes Sat 09-Jan-21 08:06:37

I am so so sorry. thanks

Too much tv, too much screen time..... we are all doing that and it is only temporary. Honestly, whatever you need to do to get you through this and your DS thought it, you just do- without guilt. Give yourself a break xxxxxxx

MrsDeadlock Sat 09-Jan-21 08:06:42

It sounds as though your resilience has taken an absolute battering, and no wonder flowers

These are awful times even without what else you have been through.

TV is fine, my toddler watches loads. It's not ideal, but it's how we're coping.

Have you got any support in place for you?

inappropriateraspberry Sat 09-Jan-21 08:08:17

Also, a lot of children's tv is educational - even if they don't realise it!

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DottyWott Sat 09-Jan-21 08:09:02

My children are watching “too much” tv and haven’t been through anything like your son. It’s OK. “Too much” relates to normal times when there are a range of options. Now is a time for surviving using the tools that help us get through it, so don’t worry, just keep him happy.

SwanShaped Sat 09-Jan-21 08:10:21

So sorry for you loss. If I were you, I’d put time limits on the play. So you can play with him but if not be interminable. I also hate cars. Tell him you’ll play for half an hour and then he’ll need to play by himself. And get him involved in activities with you. Laundry, prepping lunch etc. And then, don’t worry too much about the tv.

TJ17 Sat 09-Jan-21 08:16:03

Oh my word you've been through hell and back!

Please take the pressure off yourself right now. It won't always be this way. Sometimes we have to just "be" and not "do" in my opinion.

These are not normal times and you're not in a normal situation. Be kind to yourself winethanks

TJ17 Sat 09-Jan-21 08:17:33

Also to add I feel the same way with my 3YO and I've not been through what you have!

Every time I try and play it's "wrong" or it's so mundane it makes me want to gouge my own eyes out! 😅😂
We are already watching back to back Gigglebiz and it's not even 9am 😅😩

You're not alone thanks

FreiasBathtub Sat 09-Jan-21 08:29:33

What a horrendous year you've had. I'm so sorry. Please don't beat yourself up about the TV. Life is long and this is an awful, but time limited, period for you. You can fix this later. Now isn't the time to add to your load of things to worry about.

My 5yo is a great watcher of TV but I've noticed that she will, eventually, treat it as background noise and potter around with drawing, Lego etc. So leaving those things out and available for your DS is a great idea. No pressure on anyone. We also removed the more irritating programmes from her Netflix account - we are working on the basis that everything on the BBC is educational!

Honestly, just do what you have to in order to get through the next few months. Your DS is young, struggling with a lot (as are you) and everything can be sorted out later when you both have a bit more mental and emotional strength. Good luck.

FreiasBathtub Sat 09-Jan-21 08:32:46

I'm sorry, I've just realized it could be pretty insensitive to say that life is long given that your DD died so horribly young. What I mean, is that you have time to figure out the balance you and DS can live with in terms of TV. This period is a blip, you're not setting a habit that can never be broken and you're not going to do irreversible damage with 3 or 4 months of too much screen time.

indecisivewoman81 Sat 09-Jan-21 08:35:50

I am so sorry to hear about the awful things you and your son have been going through.

You have both had such a traumatic time. I really don't think that the screen time thing will have lasting repercussions. Your son probably uses the tv as a soothing tool to calm him and occupy his mind from all the harsh realistic s that have happened recently.

You are doing really well. You are not failing.

I agree with the other posters. Show don't tell.

Enjoy the yoga, the fitness. Maybe go for a walk and chat about what he likes on tv. Who his favourite characters are etc.

Xx

themusicmum Sat 09-Jan-21 08:39:41

¥ have both been through hell and i think you should cut both of you some slack. This time won't last for ever, and a little too much tv won't do any harm for the short term. Worying about it will just stress you out more.

PinkSkiesAtNight Sat 09-Jan-21 09:19:46

You've all made me cry. In a good way! Thank you.

I will try and let it go. I have noticed that if it's on long enough, he will play around the TV, but it does have to be on for a while to do that. It is age appropriate TV, but I wouldn't say educational. Unfortunately, I don't have the BBC here. On a side note, @FreiasBathtub how do you remove certain programmes from a Netflix account??

I try to get him involved with food prep. Sometimes he will help, other times it's another battle so I don't bother. He likes baking so we do quite a lot of that. And then I eat most of it, undoing all the exercise!

@TJ17 yes the mundaneness(?) is awful! Gaah.

@MrsDeadlock yes, I had online counselling for a few months, but a, it was very expensive, and b, I felt I got enough out of it. I have wonderful friends both here and in the UK, and my mum is great, but I am not very good at reaching out. I tend to just say, yes I'm fine, with a big breezy smile.

@inappropriateraspberry, or anyone else, any recommendations for educational things he could watch? Either Netflix/Prime or maybe YouTube. He tends to just flick through Netflix watching what he wants.

Today we have made banana bread, then he has watched TV for about 2 hrs, while I have done my workout, tidied and showered. We will go out for a walk now.

It's the relentless pestering for TV from the moment he wakes up that gets me.

Thank you everyone.

OP’s posts: |
Toocold Sat 09-Jan-21 09:23:20

I am so sorry for your loss and what you’ve been through.

I wouldn’t worry about screen time for now, when things go back to normal it’ll eventually ebb away and your son won’t want the screen time as much, it’s just a period in his life that will eventually get easier x

inappropriateraspberry Sat 09-Jan-21 09:30:11

Can you get any BBC programs where you are through Netflix etc? YouTube often have streams of CBeebies programs like Hey Duggee, Waffle the Wonder Dog, Topsy and Tim etc. Or check out Disney+, lots of things on there, not just the usual animated films.
I would take control of the TV and tell him he watches what you choose or it gets switched off!
My children have the TV on almost all day, but like others it becomes background noise like a radio. I really would t worry about it too much. He'll be at school before you know it and

inappropriateraspberry Sat 09-Jan-21 09:31:50

Posted too soon!
He'll be at school before you know it (lockdown permitting) and there will be a lot less TV then.
Look up Time Tokens. You could make your own version, but it's basically a reward scheme for screen time. It may allow you to break it up a little bit.

SallyTimms Sat 09-Jan-21 09:34:57

Oh op you sound amazing with what you have been through.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter flowers

I don't know where about you are, but was your ds on school, and if so could you speak to school to explain you are struggling and see if he can be given a place, explain he needs the routine in view of the recent trauma he has been through?

Birthdayhat Sat 09-Jan-21 09:37:34

Oh lovely, you have had an awful time, please be kind to yourself. Even in non covid times, 4 year olds are hard work.

On YouTube there are lots of things like Let's Go Live with Maddie and Greg - he might be a little young but my 4 yo likes it and it gives ideas of things to make and do. The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth have done some great videos and places like zoos too. Also numberjacks which is a bit odd but my 4 yo watched a lot of it when he was older 3/younger 4.

Do you have a games console? I have convinced myself that playing games is marginally better than telly as at least they are having to think about it!

bobby81 Sat 09-Jan-21 09:44:22

So sorry for your loss OP.
Does your DS enjoy playing with water? At that age my DC loved having a bath & would play for ages in there with bath toys or cups, bowls, spoons etc. Obviously you would still need to be supervising but it does help to pass an hour when the days seem so long!

FreiasBathtub Sat 09-Jan-21 09:48:06

@PinkSkiesAtNight - login to Netflix on a web browser. You'll need to set up a profile specifically for DS if you haven't already. Once you've done that, you go into your account, then select his profile by scrolling down to it, and then select 'Change' under 'Viewing Restrictions'. You can then set the maturity rating (we use U) and then, scrolling down, use the Children's Profile if you like, and use the search tool to select specific programmes to remove.

DD is pretty good about using her account but if you think DS will try to get around restrictions by using yours you can put a password/pin on your account.

In terms of what we like - Hey Duggee, Magic School Bus, Peppa, Octonauts, Storybots, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are the more educational, PJ Masks, Ben and Holly, Dragon Rescue Riders and various Lego series are less so...

Feel free to DM me if you want any more info!

Metafizzical Sat 09-Jan-21 09:49:32

Hugs. I can't imagine what you have been through. You sound amazing to me.

Let him chill and watch TV. I love the idea a PP had of setting up a bit of colouring and a play space and seeing if he comes to it.

Could he go to nursery/pre-school for a couple of days if it is open?

Don't worry about the screen time. Just go with it and be kinder to yourself x

Bubbinsmakesthree Sat 09-Jan-21 09:54:57

I’m so sorry for the loss of your DD and the other huge challenges you have faced.

But please, please don’t beat yourself up over screen time or feel like you are failing your DS. My 3 and 6 year old can be complete screen zombies and pester me constantly for the TV or iPad and whinge and cry when it’s taken away. It’s normal if infuriating. I also find joining in with their imaginative play tortuous and I try to avoid it. Cut yourself and your DS some slack - I think understandably you are over-thinking normal 4 year old behaviour when it comes to screens and play.

The only suggestion I can make is try to create a routine if you can where screens/TV are at particular times of day and he knows they’re not available at other times, which my limit the nagging. I also try to give them fair warning when screen time is nearly over and try to let them watch to the end of an episode rather than just flipping it off. And break into something desirable (dinner time, a snack) then it’s easier to pick up an activity like lego or something after that rather than going screens > Lego which makes Lego seem like the poor relation.

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