Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Alternatives to TV

(41 Posts)
behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 12:12:44

It was my intention that DS (2 years) should not watch any TV, or at least only xceptional circumstances. I'm keen to avoid starting any sort of the debate about this, as I'm not dogmatic about the issue, it's just a personal choice based on what I've read about the issue, and some other experiences.
Did well for the first year and a half but at this point seem to be failing drastically, and he is currently watching about one and a half hours a day, before we start our bedtime routine. I think this is far too much.
Also I can see it having a negative affect on him.
It's completely my fault, I'm pregnant and tired and use the time he's watching to cook the evening meal, and tidy the house, so that once he's in bed I can just relax.
If there is anyone else who tries to avoid TV, can you share any tips you have for other activities that would keep him quietly and unmessily occupied for a length of time (!!!), or any other thoughts about how you organise your day so you do have some time to do stuff you need to do.
DS is not badly behaved, but as he is an only child often needs me to play with him, and seems to be able to make an extroadinary amount of mess in a small amount of time!

pussycatdoll Mon 03-Feb-14 12:14:06

Would he look at library books at The table while you cook ?

icravecheese Mon 03-Feb-14 12:41:35

I started a thread recently about TV after school (so slightly different situation, but was realising my 3 kids, aged 2, 4 & 6, were default turning to TV more often than not upon coming home from school).

I simply switched it off and let them get on with doing something else. Easy to say, I know, as your DS is quite young plus you're a knackered pregnant mum (so dont' beat yourself up!). Have you tried just giving him blank paper and felt pens at the table, whilst you sit with a cuppa and watch / read mag? Or sit on floor with him whilst he plays, but don't interfere with his play too much?

I only say this because my eldest (now 6) is COMPLETELY useless at playing on his own - I permanently entertained him until his sister turned up when he was 2, and now he can't think of anything to do on his own (hence switches on TV!)

Often kids are happy playing on their own, so long as there is the presence (but not direct interaction) of a parent....good luck!

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 12:44:20

Table based activities were what I was thinking, it's just the question of what he can do on his own. He likes books but for quite limited periods and tends to like to talk about the pictures so it's something we tend to do together. Have an annoying off-shot kitchen and the dining table is in the next room which doesn't help, though maybe I could put his highchair in the kitchen and put some books on that, I'll give it a go tonight and see how we get on. Thanks for the suggestion.

Panzee Mon 03-Feb-14 12:46:05

iPad? It's a screen but it's more interactive. Of course it depends on why you're restricting TV.

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 12:52:04

thanks icrave, funnily enough he did used to be pretty good at playing on his own, and I think the TV has got him too used to being entertained! maybe it is just a case of cold turkey.

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 12:53:42

Panzee, yeah in some ways I would prefer him to at least be interacting with something, however, we don't have one and I thought I would hold off until he started being more aware and asking for stuff like that, as I know once you have it it's yet another thing to try and make sure they don't do too much of.

Panzee Mon 03-Feb-14 12:56:37

Well of course it's up to you, and it very much depends on the child you have! But my first (now 4) has never been restricted from TV or computers and he can take or leave them, will go off to read or play or draw or whatever. He's pretty good at playing on his own though. I have an 11 month old who is very different, I'm not sure how it will go with him! grin

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 13:07:07

DS seems a bit addicted, not sure if that's just him or because we tried to restrict it!

Seeline Mon 03-Feb-14 13:12:11

Would he listen to a story on tape? Or some songs?

Thurlow Mon 03-Feb-14 13:15:15

My default is to put the telly on while I'm trying to cook blush

However, a few things that have helped keep our 2yo occupied while cooking are setting her up with a little table and her tea set, put some teddies in a seat opposite her so she can have a 'tea party' which is one thing she will concentrate on playing with for 10-15 mins. Other times we have her in the kitchen but get her to stand on a chair at a different part of the counter to us, and give her toy pots and pans and something like dry pasta to pretend cook with. This again works for 10-15 mins.

waterrat Mon 03-Feb-14 13:15:25

sticker books? have you looked at the website the imagination tree ? many many ideas on playing and crafts on there.
- get big sheets of shiny wrapping paper, let him play with them..
- put flour or rice or something in a tray and put his toy cars and diggers in and let him make a mess/ play
- water play on the kitchen floor in a washing up bowl with some toys?
- pile of pots and pans and spoons to bang about?

I agree that its about biting the bullet. Just dont turn it on and he will have to learn to play - I find its easier if you put in 5/10 mins of playing with them to get them started - put out the train set or cars sit and play then walk off ...ignore whining!

but I would also not worry about too much tv while preognant - you could swap for dvds if you preferred? dvds of singing and dancing for toddlers?

LadyintheRadiator Mon 03-Feb-14 13:16:34

When you're cooking can he join in with toy pots and pans, and likewise when you're cleaning give him a duster?

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 13:21:20

some great suggestions I'm going to write a list! He does love joining in with cooking and cleaning, it's just me not being patient enough to let him at that time of day sad

Thurlow Mon 03-Feb-14 14:00:50

I'm not patient enough either, behind, and also I'm not a good cook so I don't like being pestered while cooking! Hence she gets to play cook near me but not actually with the food I'm cooking.

HelenHen Mon 03-Feb-14 14:17:06

Oh good thread, I'm in exactly the same boat as you. Managed to avoid tv for about 18 months til the past few weeks now he goes mad if I don't put it on so I give in cos I'm 7 months pregnant and enjoy the break! I hate how he turns into a zombie though and just stares when he used to play brilliantly! I feel terrible about it!

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 14:37:27

Helenhen, exactly!!!! Perhaps we can support eachother in weaning them off!

chocolatebourbon Mon 03-Feb-14 15:15:15

Have a kitchen drawer that is "his". It can just have normal kitchen stuff in it like baking trays, shaped cutters, wooden spoon, but he is allowed free access to it and can dig in and empty it/bang the cake tin with the spoon/stick paper in the muffin tray and tell you it's a cake etc Anytime he tried to open other kitchen drawers or do something forbidden in the kitchen - steer him back to "his" drawer. Paper and pens/crayons. Simple jigsaws. Special toys box/bag that only comes out when you are trying to cook/clean. Building a tower out of food tins. Small table/chair in the kitchen for stickers etc if you have space. Accept that he might need you to talk to him/interact with him at the same time as doing your other stuff (as you would do if you had another adult with you). A really good tip I read is to give them your real full attention for an hour or so first thing in the morning after breakfast - not trying to get anything else done at all. Later you can start getting jobs/cooking done because you have now reassured them that yes, you are available and they should feel secure enough to play alone (or at least with just half your attention!) for a bit. Be consistent in saying no to TV, or have a fixed time/time limit so he knows he will not get TV at any other time - again, then he will accept that he needs to find something else to do. Good luck!

drinkyourmilk Mon 03-Feb-14 15:22:13

I'm a nanny and try not to let my charges watch TV. My current charge is given crayons and paper to draw with. Sometimes I bring in his garage and cars so he can play on the floor. The family have a tile floor so sometimes give him water and a brush to 'paint' on the floor (if you wear just socks You don't slip). It can help if you have a small box of toys and books just for use while you are busy in the kitchen.

Thurlow Mon 03-Feb-14 15:38:02

Oh, another one is strapping DD into her booster seat at the table with pens and paper etc to drawer where I can see her.

HelenHen Mon 03-Feb-14 16:17:37

Good idea behindthetimes! He loves the last half hour of cbeebies so I might just limit it to that for a while! And follow all the other ideas in here! He does have his own presswe in the kitchen with safe stuff and that keeps him happy for a while. Again though, our house is also slightly unconventional... Kitchen on ground floor, sitting room is on first floor!

poocatcherchampion Mon 03-Feb-14 18:56:54

Ive got a nearly 2 yo and nearly 6mo. we've never had telly on for the babies. just not got in the habit and I dont fancy any of the programmes smile

isit them in the highchairs in when I'm cooking and normally after brekkie for a while. play doh is good and then "working" - scribbling in a pad like daddy, colouring or chalk board. as a proper activity is do gluing or sticking if I need to make a cake or do some admin or something.

from 4pm is the hardest often I take them out or else I just sit on the sofa with the littley and dd1 wanders around and brings me books etc to read. I dont really initiate play but give her the space to lead it.


TheSurgeonsMate Mon 03-Feb-14 19:03:58

There are a number of people who post about their busy box systems on Pintrest. These are basically boxes of activities that they have somehow persuaded their child to use quietly on their own at the time of day that used to be their nap time. There could certainly be some ideas there for achievable tabletop activites, although note that some of these folk are quite dedicated and may have made their own toys....

behindthetimes Mon 03-Feb-14 19:48:50

There's some great suggestions here, thanks so much. Well today was great, as the time he usually watches TV we popped to the local shop, and then he sat at the table for A WHOLE HOUR, cutting up an old diary with some childproof scissors while I did what I needed to do. I told him the TV was broken grin
It helped though that him and his dad had been out all day, so he wasn't bored of playing and I had had all day to myself. More normal days will be more testing of my perseverence!

poocatcherchampion Tue 04-Feb-14 08:25:21

we do have some whole days out to too mix it up and toys feel fresh again after. today I'm toying with IKEA but it will take all say once you factor in meals and naps.
well done on a good start!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: