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Setting restrictions on tv viewing for pre-schoolers

(16 Posts)
snickersnack Wed 22-Oct-08 14:49:49

Do you have rules and restrictions on when/how/what your dcs watch?

dd is nearly 4, and has become increasingly fixated by tv. She didn't watch much at all when she was little but since starting pre-school she's got into a routine of lunch then quiet time in front of the tv while ds sleeps. And then it is on at other times during the day - occasionally after tea, or sometimes if I'm busy with ds. It's never that much in total, especially compared to some of her friends - maybe an hour or an hour and a half a day. And not every day - it's not on much at the weekends.

Over the last week or so we've got to the point where she now just wants to watch tv - it's the first thing she asks to do, and if it's not on she'll claim to be bored. My mum is looking after her today and just phoned to say she'd turned it off after quiet time and dd had hit her shock. This is totally out of character - she has been under the weather the last couple of days but that's no excuse and I'm pretty annoyed with her.

So, tonight we're going to have a long chat about why we don't hit people, and I was thinking about setting some ground rules about tv so that it's very clear to her when she can and can't watch it. So, for instance, she can have it on after lunch, and that's it. Or she can have it on after lunch, and then one programme after tea (we have Sky+ so it's quite easy to ration/organise)

But then I wondered if that was a bit ridiculous. I don't have a problem with saying "no" when she asks for tv, and frequently do, so that's an option, but I think that makes it hard for her to understand when it's ok and when it isn't.

Am I overreacting to this? Not to the hitting, that's obviously not acceptable, but to her tv addiction? I'm just not sure where it's come from - she's always been perfectly happy to take it or leave it in the past.

alexw Wed 22-Oct-08 15:07:08

We noticed dd was watching and wanting to watch more tv. It zapped her energy, made her grumpy and her sleep started to go haywire. She would get up in morning and put on tv - we often didn't hear her get up. So, on Sat we announced that tv was broken. Tidied up/sorted out her toys. Moved them to her room rather than play room. Bought some new puzzzles, colouring stuff etc and so far this week she has accepted tv is broken, has enjoyed doing puzzles/colouring and is much more alert/less grumpy and is sleeping better. May all be a coincidence but am so happy to have weaned her off what was a habit. hth

snickersnack Wed 22-Oct-08 16:15:33

Do you intend to fix it at some point in the future? Or is it going to stay broken...?

CookieMonster2 Wed 22-Oct-08 16:24:46

If you start making it clear that TV time is limited and in some way special it will just make it more desirable. If our daughter asks to put the TV on we just find something more exciting to do. We don't have it on whilst she is up either which I think helps, as she often just forgets that its there. If all else fails though we find that 'its broken' or 'the batteries have run out' works really well when we need it to

Morloth Wed 22-Oct-08 16:28:08

One of the best decisions we ever made was dumping TV. We still have the TV but it is only used for DVDs, x-box etc. It is hardly ever on and tbh no one here misses it at all.

I reckon anywhere up to 2 hours is OK for little kids per day but she needs to understand that if she misbehaves when it is time to turn it off then it will not be coming back on again for a few days at all - or something like that.

Mercy Wed 22-Oct-08 16:35:15

I've never been particularly bothered about restricting how much tv mine watch/ed.

Fortunately they get bored of it after a while and I end up turning it off as they have wandered off to do something else (they are 4 and 7 now)

They watch very little tv at the weekend.

nicky111 Wed 22-Oct-08 17:46:43

my four-year-old watches it for half hour to an hour when she comes home from nursery at about 5pm. She does whine for it at other times but we have set clear ground rules ("you can have two postman pats and then you have to go and do something else>") She's at nursery full time and I think she need a bit of down time afterwards. As to the behaviour, she also throws a strop occasionally but we have a zero tolerance attitude to that. I also use it to keep her quiet while DD2 naps.

Elkat Wed 22-Oct-08 18:51:10

Like you, we have virgin+. We have never really let our DDs just watch live tv for the sake of it. DD choses the programmes she wants a season pass on, then when she wants to watch tv - she automatically turns on the programme she wants to see. Obviously, at the end of the programme, it just stops - so then she naturally goes off and find something else to do. Then it doesn't run on and on for hours. Now, it is so natural that we don't have to be strict about it - she naturally turns on tv to see a programme she wants to watch, but never turns tv on just for the sake of watching tv (iyswim). This is so ingrained in her now, that we were watching normal tv upstairs the other day (without v+) and she needed the loo and asked me to pause the tv whilst she went! She had no concept that you can't do that on normal tvs. Another bonus to this system - no adverts!

Acinonyx Wed 22-Oct-08 19:32:37

We do the same as Elkat so when the show stops, that's it. She frequently begs for more as she does really love TV. She sometimes watches live CBeebies which has no ads. We don't watch TV ourselves while she's there either.

nooOOOoonki Wed 22-Oct-08 19:52:01

We try and have as little as possible, we go through days of no telly, and they forget to ask for it and then it creeps up again (to about 1 hour a day) and it definately affects their concentration.

My 3 year old will moan for it the more he watches.

In my ideal world we wouldnt have any tv except once or twice a week.

I do think rules help; ie no tv in the morning in this house, 2 programmes and that's it ... I just need to impliment it again (did for dss and he never complained despite tv on all day at his mums)

mojoawol Thu 23-Oct-08 13:12:13

Oh dear - this is all making me quite guilty - DS (4) has TV on most mornings while I get ready for work (single mum, so no-one else to distrct him), but only really half watches it. Sometimes watches some tv or dvd while at childminders, then usually just wants to watch something in the evening when we get home - especially if he's quite tired and I'm cooking. Altogether can add up to about 2-3 hours per day. I restrict it quite a bit at weekends tho.
Do you think that's too much?

hana Thu 23-Oct-08 13:15:59

I think 2/3 hours for a 4 year old is too much, yes.

EffiePerine Thu 23-Oct-08 13:21:41

DS (2yo) has only just started watching TV or DVDs (both via the computer) and he would watch loads if allowed. Weekdays we restrict it to half an hour/an hour before bed. Weekends he might watch something after breakfast, and a bit more if it's raining or he's ill or I need to get something specific done. But I do try and limit it, as I notice a big different in behaviour if he watches it a lot.

cory Thu 23-Oct-08 14:41:41

Didn't have a TV when dd was a toddler. Not because we thought they were the devil's work, more because we never got round to getting one.

She hasn't grown up fixated, nor unnaturally anti-television either. Seems quite a normal person to me.

lingle Thu 23-Oct-08 15:54:29

Much sympathy as our tv watching got totally out of control for about 6 months.

One solution is to have terrestrial tv only. Get rid of any freeview/subscription services and also of the dvd player.

The kids can then go back to watching tv as we did in the 70s - no rationing, but the children's programmes are only on at certain times (and blue peter was too boring to watch).

It's lovely when they watch one episode at a time, which is how the programme were meant to be watched after all....

sunandmoon Thu 23-Oct-08 16:10:59

Our DD (3yrs old)is an early waker, she watches Tikkabilla in the morning with DH and then DH leaves for work, she watch the same Tikkabilla with me(we record them). And at 7am it is time to get ready for nursery and work!!! it just give us time to drink our coffee and DD have her milk. But after that, the TV "doesn't work" anymore. And she seems to understant the rules. But it is 1 hour of TV per day...
One day in the week end, we usually treat ourselves to old movies (Shirley Temple's, Annie etc..). She prefers these than Nemo, Shrek, Jungle book...

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