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Aibu to let toddler have 2+ hours of screentime a day?

(124 Posts)
Sheilasfeels Tue 22-Jan-19 23:41:19

I am at home with my nearly 2 year old. I work hard to make sure she's getting everything she needs, but on the average day I can read books, use playdough, play with duplo, play a letter/shape/puzzle game, give myself a pat on the back for being such an active and involved parent, and then look at the time and it's only 10:30 am! The toddler starts shouting for Mr Tumble or Dugee and I cave because I'm at a loss for what to do next. I make sure she gets a physical activity once a day, and a nap, but then there's another big gap between getting home and tea time and once we've played building blocks and drawing and tea parties there's still two hours to fill before dinner. I don't have the TV on in the background so it only goes on for kids programmes.

I have no idea how to fill all the day without my cbeebies crutch. What do you do to keep toddlers entertained and screen free?

WeeCheekyBird Tue 22-Jan-19 23:49:25

I would be lying if I said I didn't give dd more screen time than she should. I tend to put movies on though as she loses interest in them faster (shes 19 months)

We do a lot of noisy play. She likes to play with our guitars and she has her own music set which keeps her amused for aaaages.

She also spends time playing on her own - she loves imaginative play so we can leave her to it for a bit and just watch her.

Our general day looks like...

Get up and have breakfast
Help me put the washing on and put away (she loves this for some reason)
Pop a movie on
Nap pre lunch
Out for a walk/to shops/swing park etc
Home to play by herself while I tidy up
Play/do activities together
Chill out with a book and/or Simpson's/futurama

Sometimes mixed up with the toddler group once or twice a week. You don't always have to be keeping them occupied. Sometimes its good to let them spend some time doing their own thing. It helps develop their imagination smile

TillyTheTiger Tue 22-Jan-19 23:52:31

I do something very similar, I do try to watch TV with my 2yo so I can discuss things with him as we watch - he likes programmes like Bitz and Bob, Do You Know and Blaze and the Monster Machines, which all have a little bit of educational content or at least I tell myself that to justify it. I tend to use only catchup services for TV so that it doesn't autoplay the next programme, therefore making it easier to switch off.
Other activities we do - mine loves 'washing up' so I get all the pots and pans from his ikea kitchen and he stands on a chair at the kitchen sink to wash them, that keeps him entertained for ages. I also get him to do things like pair his own socks when I'm sorting laundry, or put his own plates and bowls away when I'm emptying the dishwasher. Another favourite activity is putting on a playlist and the disco light and having a 'dance party'.
If you're on Facebook check out Five Minute Mum and The Dad Lab - there are some good ideas on there.

JingleJake Tue 22-Jan-19 23:52:31

I’m interested to know as I already know what you mean and my DD is younger! Considering being a sahm so would love ideas of routines

Pernickity1 Wed 23-Jan-19 00:07:15

It’s hard isn’t it? I try my hardest to keep screen time to a minimum but there are days when I let it slip. My only saving grace is we live in a bungalow with a really long hallway - perfect for scooters/those little sit on cars/playing fetch with the dog/throwing a ball - when I’m at a loss I’ll usually resort to one of those. If I’m feeling energetic I get busy with housework and my two potter round entertaining themselves or “helping” usually? I pray for when they start preschool and I won’t have to spend so many hours longingly eyeing up the remote!

ruffaloBuffalo Wed 23-Jan-19 01:22:02

At nearly 2 surely they can play by themselves without needing to be entertained by you or a TV for a little while? It's an important skill which seems to be in decline for younger generations.

There's mountains of research showing how a little 'boredom' is great for even young children.

Redskyandrainbows67 Wed 23-Jan-19 01:34:12

You need to get out the house more!!!!

LadyBathory Wed 23-Jan-19 01:36:19

My pfb used to only watch 2 hours max 17months generally songs, but me and my ex have just split up and we’ve both been ill and now she has friking 3 teeth coming through, I’m barely holding it together so yes she’s way over her limit but I would be going crazy...without it I can’t clean or find paperwork or anything she’s very demanding right now.

MrsTerryPratcett Wed 23-Jan-19 01:38:26

I second getting out. The ONLY way I could entertain DD without screens was park, woods, beach, shops, park, repeat. Over and over.

Limpshade Wed 23-Jan-19 01:48:51

My routine for my 2yo (when she's not at nursery, three days a week) looks like this (I have a 7mo too):

7-7.15am: Wake, cup of milk
7.30-8am: TV
8am: Breakfast
8.15-9am: Play (she's really into magnetic tiles and stickers at the moment)
9-10.30am: Out and about (the park, the shopping centre, the supermarket, softplay etc etc (The 7mo naps in the front pack)
10.30-11.15am: Home and play (Dancing around to music or play kitchen while I cook - she has a lot of energy! Sometimes I put the step stool up to the counter so she can watch me and/or "help")
11.30am: Lunch
12.15pm: Nap. This is when I get stuff done around the house! If the baby needs to go to sleep at the same time as the 2yo I might put 15 mins of Little Baby Bum for the 2yo on while I settle the baby. That way she doesn't disturb us, plus she thinks it's a HUGE treat.
2.15pm: Wake
2.30-3pm: TV and snack
3.15-4.45pm: Out and about, see above!
5.15pm: Dinner
Then it's the bath and bed production line grin

So she watches about an hour to 1.5hr a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I don't feel bad on days when she's tired and watches a bit more because as you can see I take her out an awful lot too. But that is the key: you must take her out! If I was stuck in all day with my 2yo she would watch WAY more too.

Sheilasfeels Wed 23-Jan-19 08:56:15

Thank you so much all of you! It really helps to hear other people's schedules! She doesn't like being left alone while I potter around so I'll definitely focus on getting her more used to playing alone, and getting her involved in helping me with cleaning and tidying.

My1stNameIsTaken Wed 23-Jan-19 09:29:18

IMO, 2 hours a day is OK if split in parts. My vote is for learning videos like this:
Perhaps, it's a bit long? Anyway, I think that 3-5 videos of this kind a day may be enough.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 23-Jan-19 09:34:15

All Kids have more screen time than they should

All the parents in DS class say they only have Fortnite a few hours a week . But when my son furtively logs in — they are all bloody there smileangry

So 2 hours is OK IMO

bridgetreilly Wed 23-Jan-19 09:35:49

Yes, 'helping' you do housework is a good thing. It won't be much help, usually, though there are some small jobs they can do, but it teaches them how much work around the house there is and builds the expectation that they will be involved in it. And at that age usually what they most love doing is the same thing that mummy is doing.

Namechange8471 Wed 23-Jan-19 09:38:11

Sheilasfeels How often do you take her out?

You're doing great but if try and get out everyday if I were you

Aquilla Wed 23-Jan-19 09:38:50

I used to have the telly on all day before mine started nursery! They would mostly be playing though. Hasn't done them any harm...

Ribbonsonabox Wed 23-Jan-19 09:41:16

YANBU I did the whole 'no screens' thing with my first. Then i fell pregnant with my second and it was a difficult pregnancy. There were some days my first was then sat in front of the laptop watching kids TV pretty much the entire day whilst i vomited into a bucket.
Now I'm much more relaxed about it. My son loves films and TV but he also loves playing outside and going places. I think as long as you have a good balance and your kid is active and has a variety of interests then it will be totally fine. He doesn't actually pester me at all to watch TV nowadays because it's nothing special to him! I think he watched so much TV whilst I was pregnant that hes bored of it entirely and posters me to go out to the woods instead!

NoAngel1 Wed 23-Jan-19 09:45:52

As long as there’s a balance then I don’t think it’s a massive problem. So if it’s 2 hours a day and then the rest of the day has other, non screen activities in then it’s fine. If it’s 2 hours and then child has no constructive play/activity to do then probably not ok.

I find that when it’s cold out we watch more TV but during the warmer months it feels more natural to be outside, in and out from the garden or going for a walk. I’m not a fan of being cold!

Deadringer Wed 23-Jan-19 09:48:17

You do lots of stuff with her, a bit of tv won't do any harm at all. Three of mine are grown up now and a couple of hours of tv a day didn't stunt their development in any way. I never had it on in the background either, l would let them watch it so I could get a few bits done, it was a trade off. Tell her she can watch it while you do whatever, if she won't let you get on with doing stuff, turn it off as it's not benefiting either of you.

HalfBloodPrincess Wed 23-Jan-19 09:56:13

My toddler had the tv on all day whilst I was in the midst of Morning sickness as it was the only way I could survive the day. It’s passed now and we have an hour in the morning (tv is on a timer so when it goes off that’s it) but I do confess to putting it on as a way to keep him awake sometimes - he’s going through the ‘I don’t need to nap’ stage and is ready to sleep at about 5:30, so I put the tv on until 6:30 when it’s time for bath and bed.

Bouchie Wed 23-Jan-19 11:41:42

I'm going a bit against the grain. I had three under four and most days didn't allow TV or any screens until they went to school. They got very good at finding their own entertainment (with a bit of help). I still have 3 no screen days a week, then a couple of hours on the other days and two of them are at secondary school. They still a very good at finding stuff to do. The youngest one is the most unable to self entertain and I think that is because she started screens much younger. The times when I've broken this routine (usually because of illness) the inability to find something to do after they are used to relying on screens is really obvious. I then have to 're-set' them!
I don't think screens are inherently bad but love the fact that they not only get to play Xbox and watch stuff on telly but also can find things to do.

EmUntitled Wed 23-Jan-19 11:59:42

My DD is a similar age (2 in March) and probably has about 90 mins of screen time.

Half an hour in bed with me in the morning while I wake up, because 6.30 is too early to get up!
Half an hour at about 8.30 while I have a shower and get dressed.
Half an hour in the afternoon while I prepare dinner - although recently she has been happy to sit in her high chair and do a puzzle, drawing or sticker book while I'm in the kitchen.

I think as long as you do a variety of activities in between its not a problem. I also think the type of programme makes a difference, I do try to pick something somewhat educational like Something Special if I'm not watching it with her.

Sindragosan Wed 23-Jan-19 12:12:52

What is great here is that most churches have a playgroup that is typically 10-11:30 or 10-12 and includes drinks and snacks for £1-2. So morning is taken up by breakfast etc, playgroup (not every day), lunch, afternoon activities, tea, play, bed. Morning and afternoon snack time if we're at home tend to be with cartoons for half an hour, so an hour screen time or less on a good day.

If there's any illness it tends to be constant TV or sleeping, but I'm fine with that occasionally.

kabs Wed 23-Jan-19 12:15:07

Not judging you at all for putting the telly on, but in case it is of interest, we don't do TV for my one year old and this is a typical schedule:

7: wake up. We have a stash of toys and books in the bedroom so toddler brings us things he wants to play with while his Dad and I take turns to doze, have a shower.
8: breakfast
8:30 toddler potters around with his toys while I tidy up, get him dressed and pack a bag.
9: playgroup. We try and go out to a playgroup or a mum and baby exercise class every morning.
11: lunch
12: nap
Afternoon: I try to turn things that need to get done into games. So sorting the laundry, going to the supermarket or the shops, gardening (he rearranges all the plant pots while I weed), cooking (I do all the prep on a low table so he can play with tins/pans/carrots etc).
5:30 dinner
6:00 bath
6:30 PJs milk bed

We do duplo, painting, baking, reading books, going to the park, or library, occasionally meeting friends/family for coffee, bla bla together as well. But I try and save them for when we are bored. So if we still have time to kill before playgroup or it's only 3pm and we've run out of other stuff to do. As you know, there's usually plenty of hours left to fill!

CalamityJane10 Wed 23-Jan-19 12:20:01

That sounds like quite a lot. Mine didn’t have any screen time until he was 2. Are there any classes - swimming, tumble tots, music that you can go to to give your day more structure?

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