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My No TV Challenge

(25 Posts)
TheHeirOfSlytherin Tue 25-Sep-12 19:41:45

The story is that I start work stupidly early every weekday morning and am with ds (aged 2) at home from around 3.15pm. The problem is, due to extreme tiredness on my behalf, the evenings are pretty much spent making tea, then in the living room until it's time for his bedtime routine. Inevitably, he asks for "beebies" and I am only too glad to oblige and jump at the chance to collapse on the sofa!

But I'm not happy with this and feel like I'm wasting the time I have with ds. So I am challenging myself to get through every weekday without turning the tv on.

I have looked everywhere for afternoon playgroups or activities but there aren't any near me, I would take him swimming but he absolutely hates it and soft play has to be kept for early Sunday mornings when it's quiet or it's too loud and he just cries!

So the plan is to plan something to do each evening after tea based around the schedule below:

Monday - Park
Tuesday - Craft
Wednesday - Free play (I will be using the Imagination Tree's discovery box ideas a lot here I think) & Wednesday is bath night anyway so I may include some messy play.
Thursday - Library & then building (blocks and trainsets etc) or role play
Friday - Baking

So I'm about to press send and commit myself to this. If anyone wants to join me feel free but I don't mind if you all think I'm mad and ignore me, I'll keep posting to keep myself motivated. grin

Iggly Tue 25-Sep-12 21:01:31

Good luck! But don't beat yourself up about a small amount. I let ds watch too much when dd arrived but now we're down to 20 mins a few times a week...

sarah01372 Wed 26-Sep-12 12:22:27

Trying a similar thing here .. i have found that the more tv they watch the more horrible they become, so trying to do at least one activity with them together when they get home. Lots of ideas on gettingstuckin.co.uk - we have used lots of them ... from making a pretend post office, to baking chocolate cake, to word games .. and games like the flour game and apple bobbing! Working so far ! Good luck! x

trixie123 Wed 26-Sep-12 14:29:56

blimey, am impressed and feeling slightly inadequate now! My DS (3) has two afternoons a week with me. We do usually do the park but otherwise the TV is on a fair bit - he is in pre-school every morning though. Best of luck - come and tell us how it goes

Molehillmountain Wed 26-Sep-12 18:37:32

Can I join in? Tv is my excuse to switch off at the moment I'm ashamed to say and i don't like what it does to us. Dh does until seven in the morning with ours and they watch then, but I'm going to switch it off then. Please help me not to feel guilty that we've not done it before. I think dd2 has been my excuse almost since I became pregnant with her. She's now 14 months old blush. I also have dd1, nearly 7 and ds, nearly 4.

ShowOfHands Wed 26-Sep-12 18:47:22

I made the same decision a year ago. Not in a rigid way but I did notice that when the tv went on people would just sort of stare open-mouthed at it. It would take me a while to get people's attention. Instead of it being switched off after a programme, people would idly flick, looking for something mindless to watch. I just didn't like the focus of it. The way it'd be switched on as a sort of automatic reaction to being in the front room.

So I decided we'd watch television only if there was something specific on we wanted to watch (we watch Dr Who as a family and Downton a a couple and that's it really). And television would be a pleasurable treat, not an expected and invasive norm. So we do watch a film at the weekend, all cuddled under a blanket and view actively and happily. It's not 'banned' but it is a rarity.

DS is 12mo and has never watched television actually. And we spend so much more time as a family, actually paying proper attention to each other.

It's refreshing and you'll be surprised how little you miss it and how quickly it becomes forgotten about.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Wed 26-Sep-12 21:20:57

Well today was ok, I had an unexpected meeting at work so I was home late and my mum was drafted in to look after with ds all afternoon and she doesn't know how our tv works so that's ok grin

Mum bought ds a ukelele hmm and they had spent the afternoon colouring in the box it came in grin and in the process ds's face had become magnificently coloured in too.

Another late finish in work tomorrow but he is with MIL tomorrow and as she still has school age children I know he won't even have a chance to watch any tv and the kids keep him occupied. When I get home it will probably be nearly bedtime so we will spend some time in his room with the duplo and reading (must ensure I read him a proper book eg; the gruffalo etc and not just Goodnight Moon which is my "mummy eyes are too tired to work properly so lets read something she knows off by heart" book blush)

I'm glad it's worked out for you SoH that gives me hope! and welcome aboard Molehill

issimma Wed 26-Sep-12 21:25:14

I have beebies on before 8am and after 6pm. Dd is 19mo and spends the rest of the time asking for beebies hmm.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Wed 26-Sep-12 21:40:48

grin I know the feeling issimma that's why if this is going to work I need to ensure I can keep ds occupied. I'm not very good at thinking on my feet when it comes to entertaining little ones and need to plan, and make lists and be in control. I found it really difficult to play with him as a baby and love how much he interacts and learns at this age. If all else fails and he will not be entertained by my activities then my backup plan is to dress him appropriately and take him for a walk!

FannyBazaar Wed 26-Sep-12 22:38:22

My DS has never watched TV at home. I got rid of it when he was about 3yo anyway. We go to the park, play games together, cook together (even when he was small, he was involved) or he will play on his own. Sometimes I actually find it hard to explain what we do without a TV because we are just so used to it. We do watch stuff online, but that's not every day.

McLurkin Thu 27-Sep-12 17:04:07

Watching with interest... I'm always wondering if we ought to reduce tv consumption (2.2yo watches an hour almost every day). Otoh I'm not sure I'm convinced it's a terrible thing and I like the quiet time it gives us (either we sit and watch together or it is useful to have on if I need to get dinner on/grab stuff together etc.) I grew up in a house with no TV and have lived several times since with no TV and I like it but I don't think it made my childhood any 'better'. As long as it's used consciously and not indiscriminately as habit I think it can be a valif enjoyable thing to do.

Having said all that...... I would like to do a trial no TV period just to see if it improves dd behaviour/our connection/how the day feels.

What I'm stuck on though is what quiet thing I can replace tv with. we do craft and baking and reading and lego blah blah blah but all quite involved and for those half hours where I just want dd occupied whilst I clean up/have a cup of tea/mn (like right now!) I feel like I need something else... Not sure what

How are you finding it so far anyway OP?

farrowandballs Thu 27-Sep-12 18:57:02

This is making me feel awful. DD watches at least 2 hours a day. We don't have a telly so she watches like 10 episodes of propaganda pig or 3 episodes of show me show me online back to bac. She's dropped her nap recently and I had a ruptured ectopic 4 weeks ago and ive just been really reliant on it to get me through til DS (5) comes home fRom school. It turns her into a nightmare and I feel like shit for it but it's so much easier than playing with her all the time. reading this it's hit me how much I'm using it sad

farrowandballs Thu 27-Sep-12 19:00:10

DD is 2.2 btw and pepper not propaganda pig!! grin

issimma Thu 27-Sep-12 19:20:31

Go easy on yourself farrow. Sounds like things have been extra hard recently, and lots of telly short-term isn't going to harm her. Things will get better, and you'll just find yourself using it less. Could you try getting out 3 or 4 of her toys and sitting on the sofa with her while she plays with them for 10mins or so three times a day? DD is younger than yours, but she loves her shape sorter at the moment.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Thu 27-Sep-12 20:05:22

Please don't feel bad! I don't think tv is a bad thing at all, I just seem to spend every afternoon not doing anything because of the TV and want to change that because it's the only time I get with ds during the week.

If either myself or ds gets ill during my little challenge then I consider that to be reason enough to have an afternoon cuddling on the sofa grin.

Ds doesn't even really sit and watch tv unless he is ill or very tired (the stage before the overtired tantrums start usually!) it just seems to be on as background noise so he can stop and watch if something catches his attention.

What I find most difficult is getting myself out of the habit, rather than ds. From I was a child the tv has always gone on as soon as you get home from school (and now work).

Tonight I didn't get ds back from MIL until after 7pm so it was a story and straight to bed for him (although he's still not asleep hmm.

TheHeirOfSlytherin Thu 27-Sep-12 20:25:50

McLurkin I have a possible idea for a quiet thing to replace tv if you have to get on with something, obviously this depends on how good your dd is at entertaining herself but I let ds be "bored" sometimes if I have jobs to do. He usually finds a toy to play with or something else to keep him occupied (though there is usually a degree of mess involved).

If left alone, gets up to things like;
Looking at old photographs of dh and I (for some reason ds loves this and it will keep him quiet for ages!)
putting all the sofa cushions on the floor to jump on
removing all the dvd cases from the shelves
Sifting through the recycling bin for interesting rubbish (we don't keep glass or sharp tins in there for this reason - they go straight into the outside recylcing wheelie bin)
Emptying the kitchen cupboards of tins/pans/tupperware.

They're all relatively harmless activities and while they do make a mess, ds likes to help tidy it up again. I also get him to help with things like unloading the dishwasher (he puts the cutlery in the drawer), loading/unloading the washing machine and dryer and putting the shopping away in the cupboards.

farrowandballs Thu 27-Sep-12 22:07:10

Thanks issima and THOS. I'm at home with her 3 days a week (work 2) and we do spend every morning doing arts and crafts and she has about 10 puzzles - pegboards, mosaics, stacking toys etc - that we HAVE to do together every day after lunch (she's AMAZING at jigsaws grin) but I just feel so guilty and frustrated that I jump at the chance to whack youtube on and let her vegetate and slowly transform into a whinging, volatile wreck EVERY AFTERNOON.
Tbh I think she still needs her naps but she only goes down in the buggy and I can't manage the hills at the moment (we live in a very hilly part of the lake district). Telly just seems like such a self-defeating thing. It seems to make a monster of her - I'm sure it uses too much mind and not enough body and knocks her equilibrium out. Then it's like she's addicted and she doesn't even want to sit at the table with us and have tea (I am strict about that but she WAILS and begs for telly for the first 5 minutes and it's really disruptive and upsetting!)
ugh I dunno, sorry, you don't want my life story!
Anyway, yes, good luck everyone!

issimma Thu 27-Sep-12 22:11:16

Would she lie in your bed w you? Might be a way to reintroduce naps.

FannyBazaar Thu 27-Sep-12 22:36:17

Playing with the recycling bin contents is a popular one here to TheHeir. DS is 7 now and has tonnes of toys so will play happily or read, especially if send to tidy his room. Room tidying takes forever and is probably the activity that he spends the most time avoiding doing instead of TV.

I always let him join me in the kitchen, as a baby/young toddler it was in his high chair watching and having titbits to nibble on, then standing on a step pinching stuff off the chopping board. When it drove me mad, I had a word with myself about whether I wanted to carry on like this or get a telly and reminded myself that it was all my own making!

Of course, I see now that his room my whole house would be tidier if we had a telly. I will actually point that out to the next friends who come round and have to climb over a castle made of juice cartons from the recycling and discover no chairs without junk on to sit on.

DVDs have been my saviour on days when either of us has been sick but luckily these have been few and far between.

Iggly Fri 28-Sep-12 08:56:22

farrow I was the same with ds and tv when dd was little and I was exhausted. He watched far too much. But now 10 months later, we've got through the worst of it and I've cut it right down. Do you have a garden?

TheHeirOfSlytherin Fri 28-Sep-12 18:57:30

Tonight we managed to do bake some peanut butter cookies... ds did brilliantly but my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired and the bloody things are slightly burnt! No complaints from ds though.

I've survived the rest of the evening with no tv, ds has played well on his own for a while too while I sorted the kitchen.

I would like to get rid of the tv in theory, then there is no tempation but we do watch dvds and sometimes there's even something on that dh and I want to watch shock grin.

bbface Fri 28-Sep-12 20:16:26

2.1 Ds watches about an hour In total a day.

Got to be honest, I have no problem with it at all. He watches about 30 mins I. The morning whilst I shower and get dressed.

Then 30 minutes before dinner. I generally finish up preparing before i serve, and so we cuddle up for fifteen mins, me just stroking his hair and nibbiling his ear lobes.

The rest of the time (so 11hours!) he is playing, playground, on his balance bike, on his scooter, digging up the garden etc

It is all about moderation, and a little bit of gentle toddler tv, is absolutely fine

TheHeirOfSlytherin Mon 01-Oct-12 17:47:11

Well I spoke too soon about ds getting ill! I picked him up this afternoon and he started complaining his willy hurt, got him home and changed his nappy and got the shock of my life as his penis is terribly swollen. One emergency trip to the gp later and he has a diagnosis of balinitus (SP?) and a course of anti-biotics. He has been in so much pain, his knees have literally been bucking beneath him as he has cried out sad so he has been dosed with anti-bs, calpol and chocolate biscuits. If half an hour or so of tv makes him feel better he can have that too. It's so horrible seeing him in pain and not being able to do anything, when he hurts himself he calls out "mummy" like he thinks I can fix it. He was screaming mummy all down the road to the doctors sad

McLurkin Mon 01-Oct-12 22:12:04

Oh no THoS - hope ds is feeling well soon. So horrible to see them in pain. And defo tv=good if it distracts from the pain. Poor thing.

Well, nothing much has changed here. I did think the point about just letting dd get 'bored' was a good one, but left to her own devices she normally ends up terrorising the baby (6mo) or just emptying toys everywhere... I put together a box of 'interesting' stuff I found on a quick sweep round the house in the hope the novelty would hold her attention for a bit longer but ut was of limited success.

Also, like yours farrow she seems to be dropping her nap. aaaaaagh... Not sure how I am going to cope if this is the case, tv or no.

Ozziegirly Tue 02-Oct-12 07:19:26

My DS also watches about an hour in the morning of Playschool and Propaganda Pig (as I shall now call it) and DirtGirlWorld, and then has a couple of episodes of Propaganda before bed with some milk.

I hear what you're saying about not liking the "vegging" aspect of it, but my DS has busy and full (and relatively wholesome grin) days fulll of swimming, playing, colouring, park etc, and I kind of think that a bit here and there is ok.

I try to pick shows that match his interests a bit, so he loves gardening, so we watch DirtGirl, and he has picked up things from shows, like how we plant seeds etc. Plus, reminding him that you're not allowed to jump in muddy puddles without boots "because Peppa also says so" was handy. As was DirtGirl telling us to turn off the tap as "every little drop is precious".

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