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tv obsessions...ideas needed! How does everyone else manage it?

(14 Posts)
lallyp Sun 10-Jul-11 13:37:31

my ds is 4 and is obsessed with watching tv. this morning he woke really early and the first thing he said was "can i watch something". This is his mantra all day long and it is driving me batty. I said "how about we build an airport with the lego?" and he just wanted to watch something.

We tried a chart where he was allowed to watch one thing a day but he would start demanding it as soon as he got up and when i 'needed' to cook/put the baby to sleep I would end up putting it on again.

I used to just put it on to put the baby down to sleep but then he spent the morning saying "She looks tired" and "can she go to sleep now".

I feel like his whole life is waiting for the tv unless we are out and i have started going out just to get him to shut-up about it.

We only really started using the tv when dd was born 8 months ago. He only ever watches dvds...

Any suggestions for how to manage it? I want to throw the tv out the window but i need to plug him in sometimes to get a break...(i am a SAHM and i work from home (usually in the evenings) and he loves it and i want a bit of it in his life but can't handle the obsession...what to do?

cory Sun 10-Jul-11 15:39:31

I think you just have to condition yourself to shutting out his whining when you say no. I used to hum to myself a lot during those years. Easiest if you decide beforehand at what time/under what circumstances you are going to allow the telly so you don't have to think about it every time: it's the thinking that is the tiring bit.

mumblebum Sun 10-Jul-11 15:46:06

My approach, which will probably be frowned on, is not to limit it at all. I don't offer it or refuse it. I find the kids go through phases, which may last a few months, where they do something a lot (TV/Wii/computer/train set/cars/craft stuff/whatever) but then something else takes their interest and it loses it's hold on them and it gets forgotten. Anything limited immediately becomes very desirable. DS (4) is currently playing on the Wii a lot and DD on the computer, but it's very rare for either of them to ask for the tv on. In fact I honestly can't remember the last time DD (8) asked for the TV on at all. She'll watch it if it gets put on but never puts it on herself.

IslaValargeone Sun 10-Jul-11 15:51:48

I think if you really want to get a handle on it you may have to prepare yourself for a few days of hell while you wean him off it and just stick to your guns. Choose what times it suits you and take it from there, just don't crumble in the early stages and he'll know you mean business.

chillybits Sun 10-Jul-11 16:43:03

Another for the not limiting option. I found there's nothing more likely to turn them into obsessing about it than limiting it.

I make sure they're busy generally - we're often out swimming, various sports clubs (now the eldest are at school), visiting friends/relatives, playdates etc that I don't have any problem how they spend their time at home and consequently the eldest stopped being so bothered and the youngest will hopefully go the same way.

Fennel Sun 10-Jul-11 16:51:04

I just turn it off. I limit the tv/computer time to an hour a day and they can choose more or less when and what they watch. And if they complain, it goes in the loft for a week.

They don't complain very often....

But I really would get rid of the tv if it started to be a problem.

Flyonthewindscreen Sun 10-Jul-11 16:54:27

Another vote for not limiting but keeping DC busy/out and about generally so they don't have time for loads of TV/you don't feel bad about them watching. I appreciate this isn't always easy if you have a baby also, mine are both school age.

clarlce Sun 10-Jul-11 21:24:15

Pretend the TV is broken - devious i know. It will stop him watching it and he wont feel he's being denied anything. Its perhaps not the best solution if you want to plug him in later on though...

Maybe find a better way of occupying him so you can have time to yourself? Their attention span goes if they watch TV so there will be an adjustment period where he'll sit around moaning he's got nothing to do. Persevere and he'll soon be engrossed in some imaginative play with his toys.

potterschmotter Sun 10-Jul-11 21:26:44

just make them watch bbc news24 only grin

InLimboAgain Mon 11-Jul-11 07:06:41

Yeah i would either go with unlimited (he'll soon get bored of it, or have his fill so you can encourage him to do something else), or an absolute set routine with it (e.g. choose the time that you most need it on for him & stick to it, and make it clear to him from the start that that's the case. Routines like that helped me with dd.

tbh i am not surprised he's addicted to it so much if he only started watching it age 4! We grew up without a telly & our friends found it hilarious when in our teens we'd go round to their houses & be completely glued to the telly, even if it was just on in the background; you couldn't get through to us!

kiteflying Mon 11-Jul-11 10:04:36

I am for not limiting - and I really hate it when my DD watches too much TV as well, but I recognise that sometimes it is just for company, and she will leave it on whilst building with blocks, or creating a teddy bear's picnic - and then lo and behold one day she will turn it off at ten am and start getting her painting stuff out and ask for help with some jigsaws. It seems to go in waves, and I agree that spending a lot of time out of the house makes other things look more interesting than TV, but if you make it "chocolate" by withholding or being obviously stressed, that's what it will be.
Routine would be good if he will accept it, but it sounds like he won't.

niamh29 Mon 11-Jul-11 10:44:28

Thanks! This thread has made me feel a lot better, I have a 23mo and when I was pregnant I encouraged her to watch a bit of tele case I knew I would need it when the baby was born, just while feeding etc but now baby is 3mo and I don't need the tele as much but DD2 is obsessed, I let her watch 30 mins and then turn it off but all I hear all day is "tele on" I feel like I've created a tele monster!!

This thread gave me a good idea, once her programme is over I'll turn on the news and encourage her to do something else........will see how that goes, if tele is on maybe he won't care so much............fingers crossed!

lallyp Sat 16-Jul-11 13:23:20

thankyou all soooo much. We are back from a trip away and i have started a new 'regime'! When he asks for it in the morning i say yes to one thing. When its over its over. Today is day 1 but this morning after it ended he turned it off and got out a pile of stickle bricks. So many good tips. thanks again.

Now i need to deal with:
saying "poo poo bum bum" all the time
& pulling on his sisters fingers!

colditz Sat 16-Jul-11 13:28:46

I've never limited the TV and my children rarely bother with it. I sometimes force them to sit down and watch a DVD if they need to be still and in one place, but most of the time they are doing ANYTHING rather than watch TV!

So IMHO, Stop limiting it.

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