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Too much television

(28 Posts)
HopHopALady Mon 11-Oct-10 13:16:24

Look at this page

I have a 2 and a half year old and try really hard to limit her tv exposure but sometimes it's just a bit too much of an easy solution if I need to get on with something. Any one with any great tips for keeping the kids away from the tv and from under your feet?

Meglet Mon 11-Oct-10 13:21:21


They will sometimes play in the garden when it's nice, but other than that this is something I have failed on.

HopHopALady Mon 11-Oct-10 14:23:49

If you also click on the link within the article to the story about the boy with the Thomas the Tank Engine fixation, that's scary, and I can see how easily it can get to that point, which is even scarier. On a recent long car journey, we experimented for the first time with a portable DVD player and switching it off was like what I can only imagine taking heroin off an addict is like.

And I try and alay my guilt by saying she's watching educational stuff, but is it? Just how educational are the kids programs that are on at the moment?

cory Thu 14-Oct-10 11:11:19

As sensible people have pointed out at the bottom of the Thomas the Tank link, it does sound like the boy in question is actually autistic and that his Thomas fixation is the result of his SN rather then the other way round. Personally, I didn't have a telly when dcs were little, so that was easy enough, but I know of plenty of children who have grown up in households where the telly was on all the time, and they are none of them like this little boy.

Chil1234 Thu 14-Oct-10 11:16:16

Age 2.5?.... Duplo, wooden train sets, paper and crayons, building blocks. Has to be something pretty absorbing. I used to find that my toddler kept the TV on in the background but was actually doing something else rather than watching it all the time.

Sit with them, watch the programmes and talk about what you're watching is a good move. And long films/programmes rather than quick-fire cartoons and sketch shows improves concentration!

looklauren Thu 14-Oct-10 18:50:47

I got rid of my TV when my son was a few months old, he is three now.. We don't watch DVDs or online videos either..

I am concerned by the content but also by the effects the moving images have on the developing brain (and the adult brain) and how a person can so easily become dependent on the TV.

There was a time, like with all young children, when my child wouldn't play alone but I had to encourage that, just like I encouraged walking, talking and eating and now because he has known no different, he is extremely content to just use his imagination to entertain himself. I also get lots more done than during my TV years because I don't get hooked by programmes (just the internet!).

Books are amazing or read along tapes. Montessori type activities are fantastic too; slotting coins into a plastic tub, cutting/tearing paper, a Russian doll, some padlocks and keys, assembling a torch with batteries. This is real life and appeals to children's desire to 'do'.

But the main point is that when a child has nothing other than his imagination to entertain himself, the imagination will grow and grow and then the child will never be at a loss of things to do and can be content almost anywhere. The more artificial stimulation children (and I guess adults) get, the more they expect and the less likely they are to use their imaginations or be at peace with stillness and silence.

TV/radio on in the background can also delay their speech development.. People of all ages should be able to spend some time in silence, doing something or being still.

sailorsgal Thu 14-Oct-10 18:54:53

It hasn't had any detrimental effect on my son. Everything in moderation is my motto.

Obviously if it bothers you then get rid of it.

Unwind Thu 14-Oct-10 21:40:46

shame on newscientist magazine

they have turned an innocuous, inconclusive bit of research into an excuse to bash mothers parents. They are implying causality, where the researchers found none.

They were unable to establish whether the television watching caused the behavioural and social problems - or whether the behavioural and social problems caused the tv watching.

This rubbishy reporting does not make the limitations of the findings clear. I'd expect better from the daily mail.

unusualspectre Thu 14-Oct-10 21:43:03

Its no biggie really ..my brain and my childrens brains seem ok

justj Fri 15-Oct-10 10:35:07

My kids (twins) used to watch more telly than they probably should have when under two but now they barely watch any at all.

they would far rather entertain themselves, usually by trying to kill/maim/argue with each other ;-)

Karola Fri 15-Oct-10 12:42:50

I have a 3.5 year old and she watches telly now and then. I agree as somebody else said everything in moderation is fine! I tend to use DVD or Iplayer because then she can choose what she wants to watch and we agree on how many episodes. Then we switch off - it used to be a struggle but now she knows I am not budging and switching off means switching off so she is quite ok with it and often switches off the computer/telly on her own.
I also use it as a treat (and it is a treat because she is not allowed that much telly) or if she is poorly (what else would you do with a sick child to weak to play but not tired enough to sleep?

cat64 Fri 15-Oct-10 12:58:50

Message withdrawn

RamblingRosa Fri 15-Oct-10 13:03:15

Just don't turn it on...

Books, playground, puzzles, painting, playdough, getting DC to help you out with things.

LibraryLil Fri 15-Oct-10 13:24:33

My dd watches more than 2 hours of CBeebies children's programmes most days, but she won't watch it without her dad or me sitting with her.

She's 2 years 4 months old, and has her favourite programmes. Anything with Justin Fletcher is a must, and she's learned no end of signed words from him, amazing one of her carers at playgroup who saw her talking and signing about the orange fish in the fishtank. She doesn't need to sign but just loves to do it.

She also is transfixed by Green Balloon Club and anything with animals in it, and enjoys dancing along with Boogie Beebies. Often when the tv is off she will sing songs and repeat chants or dances from these programmes. At other times she'll repeat songs and dances that she's learned from her weekly nursery sessions.

She chatters non-stop, loves books, drawing, crayoning, going out for walks, sorting out her socks, putting things into boxes and taking them out again, making up stories about her toys, cuddling her fluffy animals and 'feeding' her dolls.

I'm not worried about her development yet, but if she was the sort of child to sit still by herself glued to the tv while I'm doing something else, and if I was the sort of Mum do let her do that, then maybe she would have problems.

Everything in moderation, I think.

Unwind Fri 15-Oct-10 14:04:46

"I think the point is, if you are at home with a 2 and a half year old, then looking after them is actually your job. "

I have yet to meet a SAHP who had childcare as their only job. Usually there are a million and one other things to be done connected with running a household, and having a 2 and a half year old constantly pester you while you try to prepare a meal, or sort out a boiler repair is wearing.

Some people don't have your health, energy and time, TV is a release valve of sorts.

This study says nothing about too much TV causing any problems, but it is being misreported to allow people like you judge those who are less lucky. Those whose children have behavioural or emotional problems, and those who resort to using tv to ease the pressure of childcare.

cat64 Fri 15-Oct-10 14:16:09

Message withdrawn

Unwind Fri 15-Oct-10 14:18:43

Do you have much experience of LOs with behavioural and emotional problems?

You might not find them so compliant.

umf Fri 15-Oct-10 14:39:14

That's spectacularly bad reporting, given that the researchers specifically say that they couldn't establish causation, and that the link may well be the other way round: children end up watching more TV because they have other difficulties.

Growing up I was allowed almost no TV. I have no SN and was v successful in the education system. My brother, born 6 years later, watched a lot - tho as a child rather than as a toddler. He has what would now be diagnosed as ADHD plus dyslexia or something like it.

However, I'm quite sure that his box-watching, and my mother's acceptance of it, was the result and not the cause of his SN. We couldn't deal with him all the time, and he couldn't deal with other people. TV - especially as he struggled badly with reading - was one of the only ways he could get sufficient stimulation to relax for a while.

The negative effect of the TV was that it diverted us from the need to deal head on with his problems. However, that was much more the result of the lack of SN support from school or GP.

HopHopALady Sat 16-Oct-10 11:17:50

cat64 yes, I appreciate it's my job and I think I do OK but every now and then when I need to do something in the kitchen that may pose a safety risk (hot food, use of cleaning solutions, etc), I'd rather know she is safe and happy somewhere else. The TV has proved quite useful in this regard. That said, I sat her at the kitchen table yesterday with a book whilst I prepared her lunch and she was perfectly happy so I take the point. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out the bleedin obvious to me.

I'm a bit of a control freak at heart and I think I need to learn to let go a bit, or as you say, adjust my "mindset". smile

merrymouse Thu 21-Oct-10 15:32:56

I think the easiest thing is to limit TV to a certain time of day. I also agree that it is easier to turn off iplayer or a DVD than television where the next programme is always about to come on (although I do miss the Cbeebies presenters).

LibraryLil Fri 05-Nov-10 17:27:27

I have to qualify my earlier post when I said if I was the sort of Mum to put my dd in front of the tv while I did something else, etc.

I've just realised how condescending that sounds - and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that when she's happily watching Justin Fletcher or Auntie Mabel I take my chance to go to the loo on my own or peel some potatoes for dinner!

Sorry if my remark caused any unintentional offence.

FreudianSlimmery Fri 05-Nov-10 17:38:14

I think we all just need a common sense approach - obviously it's bad to watch loads.

We are thinking of disconnecting our tv and only using DVDs, wii and Internet, but it's only because DH and I hardly watch any tv anyway.

Ryoko Sat 06-Nov-10 12:46:59

Theres nothing bad about watching TV, what is bad is using the TV all the time to occupy the kids instead of paying attention to em, letting them out the house, play computer games, use a PC etc.

There is no such thing as an evil electronic device turning kids into zombies/killers only bad parents making excuses.

Besides my boy is only 6 months old, I hardly ever watch TV, I play tonnes of Games, Guitar and Dizi, he is very interested in the 360 pad, the Wii remote even tho he hasn't seen me play a Wii game since No More Heroes 2 came out and he is very interested in the guitar, the flute on the other hand is laughable to him, probably because I'm so bad at it.

I think it's monkey see, monkey want to do, if parents sit in front of the TV all day they can't complain when the kid does as well.

Onetoomanycornettos Sun 07-Nov-10 17:00:22

That's why my granny had a playpen.

chatnamefortonight Wed 10-Nov-10 12:17:01

I reckon the answer is only to have it on at set times of day or in emergencies (e.g. was ill at the beginning of the week and really struggling, only thing I could do was to sit DD1 in front of tv for a bit). I don't think it's a great idea having it on the whole time obviously but it's about a balance between what you can cope with as a parent (and some days we all just need a break) and what is good for your DCs. If you ban all TV but then start tearing your hair out because the DCs are driving you nuts after a whole day with them then they will pick up on your irritation and there's no great benefit to the lack of TV IYSWIM.

We have a bit of cbeebies in the morning sometimes while DH and I get dressed. If DD1 doesn't have a nap she can watch a bit at lunch as downtime but then there's no TV before bed. If she's had a nap then she can stay up a bit later and watch a DVD while I put DD2 to bed. It's not ideal, no TV would probably be better but whatever gets you through the day I say

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