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TV - how much is too much?

(26 Posts)
soswab Mon 11-Aug-08 09:40:03

My DS1 loves TV. Its the first thing he asks for in the morning. If we go out anywhere, as soon as we get home again, its the first thing he asks for. We have a hard-disk recorder (similar to Sky +) so we tape him his favourite programmes. Big Cook, Little Red Tractor, Thomas, Brum are his faves. I find myself becoming a human remote controll - 'MORE BRUM MUM, THOMAS (we have 3 Thomas DVDs and now he knows which are his favourite episodes he gets in a strop if I dont' get them right!). I ration his TV watching as much as I can as i'm so anxious he doesn't become a couch potato. I'm no push over so inevitably we seem to find ourselves in situations of conflict, I find myself constantly bargaining with him, bribing him, dealing with screaming fits because I've turned it off. My main worries are a)he'll become a couch potato b) he will start to hate me because I'm strict with how much he watches c) it will become his object of rebellion ie make him even more keen to watch it because I don't let him watch too much. He's never been very good at playing by himself so sometimes it is easier to plonk him in front of it if I need to get the dinner on etc but I'd prefer not to be doing that even. how much TV do you think is ok for a 27 month old? Would appreciate advice. Thanks

Tortington Mon 11-Aug-08 09:42:38

its everything in moderation isn't it. as long as you are doing other things with him, then your own judgement is best.

posieflump Mon 11-Aug-08 09:44:55

my 2 watch Milkshake until 9am
then we go out, then ds watches a dvd while dd sleeps after lunch
I think that is too much but he's off to school in September so he won't get the dvd after lunch but will probably watching cbbc when he comes home!
A ot of people think just 30 minutes a day.

TheGoddessBlossom Mon 11-Aug-08 09:51:30

Ironically in my house it's the other way round. I make them sit and watch (two separate) TV when I need to get something done, or need a bit of peace and bloody quiet as they fight all the time.

This translates to about an hour or 2 of TV from about 6.30am when they get up, then DS1 watches a DVD while DS2 sleeps, then they both watch Little Bear before bed.

HOWEVER - I too don't want them slumped in front of the box all day. We do loads of other things, at least one outdoor activity a day for a couple of hours, then play dates or play zone, or various other things in the afternoon. We swim, read books, playdoh, painting, drawing, cutting and sticking, puzzles etc etc. The problem is that they cannot play nicely together (they are 2 and nealy 4) and I am hoping that as this gets better (say it will!!!) the TV time will lessen.

twoGsinBuggerOff Mon 11-Aug-08 09:59:38

whne the same episodes are being repeated for the second time that day on cbeebies its time to turn it off winkgrin

i worried about this a lot too actually. for some reason im not worrying aqboiut it now... but then im v lucky in that we have a great garden i can turf them out into and a m-f nanny to do stuff with them even when im at home (shes leaving in sept, but theyll all be at least PT at school/nursery then)

i took them all for a bracing country walk at the beginning of spring this yr coz i was so fed up of the tv zombified behaviour over winter and my then 4yo moaned 'i dont wanna run around, i wanna watch tv'. which steeled me into action. i just encourage them out more, tell them im turning off after this prog/in 5 mins and do it, and they accept it, and go off and do other things.

you need an alternative. if you say 'no dont do this' its less acceptable than 'hey, lets do this instead' iyswim.

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 11-Aug-08 10:12:00

Hi Soswab

Not sure about how much TV is suitable for a 27 month old to be honest.

I'd certainly be interested in any links to guidelines out there ??

dd (5) watches 30 mins or less in the morning while I'm gettng myself ready and 30 mins in the afternoon while I'm preparing supper during school term

- and maybe 30 mins more overall per day during holidays (she keeps up with school languages this way because we live abroad)

she would watch a lot more left to her own devices and we do have arguments about it (I use a kitchen timer now because she seems to obey the authority of that more than me!!)

I dunno if it is too much - like you I wonder about it - I must admit I didn't really allow her to watch much at all under the age of 3 and I worry that that is why she loves it so much now ....

As the GoddessBlossom says, if you do a balance of things then it shouldn't matter that much. It's when it's the ONLY thing they do or they are watching it endlessly and not taking any exercise that it becomes really detrimental I think....

Could you reduce the conflict by just allowing tv at prescribed times and for a prescribed length of time? Use a timer and make it part of a routine. That way you won't have the endless negotiating and pleading to contend with ....

Another good tip is to get your ds to 'prepare' the dinner with you. I used to give dd a bowl of dried lentils/dried butter beans/dried spices and she mixed them all up in an old pan with a big spoon or she "washed" carrots for me in the sink or "weighed out" flour etc etc. Messy but keeps them away from the dreaded screen!

JuneBugJen Mon 11-Aug-08 10:21:08

no such guideline IMO!

but.. if you are starting to feel guilty then pehaps it is too much at mo for your ds. but in this terrible weather i wouldnt be surprised if the tv isn't on too much for all kids!

some days my dd watches an unholy amount, sometimes none. don't beat yourself up tho, sometimes its whatever gets you through the day!

Shoegazer Tue 12-Aug-08 19:35:51

Your DS sounds like my DD who is 2.2. We also have a Sky+ type thing and she knows exactly what episode of something special she wants on, or pingu or tikkabilla. I am also of the school of thought that as long as you are doing a variety of other things in the day then TV can have a place in that and can be really positive. My DD knows quite a lot of Makaton signs from Something Special and I've never had to pay £50 a term for baby signing! Sometimes she watches more, other times none, but I generally try to make it part of her routine so she can watch 1-2 programmes after she is dressed and 2 before bath. She does ask inbetween, but generally its a no unless she is unwell or she has not had a nap in which case she is allowed one to have a bit of down time as she has only just started to drop the nap and is still adjusting.

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Tue 12-Aug-08 19:39:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Tue 12-Aug-08 19:41:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tassisssss Tue 12-Aug-08 19:43:50

We have a one hour "screentime" tops rule in our house. This is computer and TV time. Often it's less, sometimes it's more, in the hols it's been an hour almost to the minute!

This only really applies to ds who's 5, dd at 23 montsh isn't interested really and ds tends to watch TV while she naps and I MN or do jobs!

funnypeculiar Tue 12-Aug-08 19:49:10

Agree that the easiest way to lessen conflict is clear times/routines around TV - whatever time/s of day work best for you, plus a timer. And absolutely stick to it. Sometimes this will mean you are unpopular smile

mashedbanana Tue 12-Aug-08 21:14:19

my dd would ask to watch tv all the time.i let her watch 30 mins in the morning while i have a shower and clear up breakfast pots.then i'll let her watch 1 dvd or video in the afternoon.i've noticed a difference in her behaviour since she does other things than watching tv.she used to have tantrums if you switched it off now she'll go and play or paint etc.some days i don't even put the tv on

bigspender30 Tue 12-Aug-08 22:28:58

It could have been me writing that! I have a ds same age who is a telly addict. I think I am noticing it more since the weather has been so crap and we are stuck in. I take him out to various clubs and classes but as soon as we are home, he wants the tv on. I am going to get tough I think and reduce the time he has it on. Going to post another thread so as not to hijack, but looking for ideas of what to do with him in rainy weather. Think tomorrow we will decorate some cakes and make a den.

bigTillyMint Wed 13-Aug-08 08:06:39

I read some guidelines in a newspaper article quite recently - not sure where they came from, but it was something like:

NO TV for under 2's
30 mins a day for 2 - 5's
up to 2hrs a day for school age children


charmkin Wed 13-Aug-08 08:26:19

Had this problem
Banned it all together for about a month.
Now watches occasionally, but has lost interest tbh.

Changed boy.

bigspender30 Wed 13-Aug-08 08:29:42

now that is interesting charmkin! I was up with him at 6.30am and refused to put it on til 2 mins ago and explained he could watch Thomas then it was getting switched off. I may try the total ban altogether.

liath Wed 13-Aug-08 08:37:16

I go for no TV until after lunch and no cbeebies until 6.30pm. Dd knows there's no point asking for a DVD until the afternoon and doesn't realise that cbeebies exists outside of the bedtime bit. I'll only put on the post-lunch DVD if the weather is crap or she's tired and needs a lie down and it usually is on for half an hour max.

I reckon that's a reasonable compromise. I think because I've had very rigid rules that so far it's meant she hasn't learnt to whinge for TV (she.s 3.5). She does get to look at some kids websites too.

Gemzooks Wed 13-Aug-08 08:42:16

I personally would think a child of 2.7 should not be watching more than 30 mins per day. Their brain is still developing, and they need to be exploring stuff themselves, either running around outside picking up bits of twig or whatever, or going on a slide, swings, or just at home playing with toys or getting at the pans in the cupboards, or messy play or whatever. I also think books are far better.

I know it's hard work with a toddler cos my DS is 22 months, I let him watch a playlist of nursery rhymes on youtube for 10 minutes while I clear up the tea, but he never sees TV, he knows what it is and sometimes switches it on but I turn it off and he doesn't mind.

It is draining reading the same book or making a den or putting out the tea set with raisins or whatever, but in the long run I think it's better for him.. just my personal opinion..

SummatAnNowt Wed 13-Aug-08 08:56:55

Our tv was on almost all day at that age as I was depressed. ds is 4 now and couldn't care less about tv, he much prefers going out exploring or running wild with the kids on the street.

bigspender30 Wed 13-Aug-08 12:43:43

I took him out this morning as it was dry and stocked up on arts and crafts stuff and baking stuff so if it rains this afternoon, we will have loads to do and no telly!

Lazycow Wed 13-Aug-08 13:00:38

Ds (near;y 4yrs old) gets 30-60 mins in the morning (depending when he has woken up). He know that he has to have had breakfast and be dressed/ready for nursery or to go out before the TV goes on and rarely asks for it before then.

We then either have 30-60 mins (depending on how much he had in the morning) either around lunchtime or teatime (never both) whichever suits our day.

So total is probably 1-2 hrs max on very heavy days and some days none at all.

I have to say though ds is an early riser and the two years he was getting up 5-5.30am (sometimes earlier) it was a real killer not to put on the TV . We never did though until 7.30 am at the earliest. Those 2-3 hours in the morning were always sepnt playing, baking, drawing (me crying from lack of sleep grin). Oh the joy of getting onto the high street after what felt like a full morning of craft and entertaining to find nothing was open yet !

He does like TV but I have noticed that the more firm we are about how much he can watch and explaining in advance i.e "You can watch xx' then xx' and then we have to switch the TV off" pretty much works now, though it did take a while for it to sink in.

I find that on days when he has far too much (if he is ill for instance) he will often switch it off himself after a while and look for something else to do.

One thing we also do is not have the TV on much for us either. In fact I used to have the TV on in the background a lot but since having DS I watch much less and tend to switch it off after I've watched something I'm interested in.

SoupKitchen Wed 13-Aug-08 13:07:34

We all know the guidelines but TBH the TV is on in my house all day.

DS watches milkshake in the morning until we all get up, means I can dose til the reasonable hour of 6.45

Although it is on all day, often it is the news or currently the olympics, as well as kids TV.
ANd because it is nothing special they might look up from what they are doing for a couple of minutes if something takes their interest they are always off playing, doing a craft activity or in the garden.

I think its more because I like something on in the background

charmkin Thu 14-Aug-08 18:06:51

has your telly got a timer on?
I know that on ours there is a 'sleep' button for turning off in 5 10 20 30 mins or whatever

farfaraway Fri 15-Aug-08 07:43:22

depends on how many dc you have, how pregnant you are, character of child, how much time you spend with dc etc. For some mums tv on is the only break they get from constant demands for activity and amusement. For others it can be more structured into routine.

DD2(3.2) has watched far more than DD1 (7yrs)simply because I had less time due to complicated school routine for DD1 and having dd3(12mths). And I see no sign of damage yet.

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