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Help!.. DS's obsession with tv is of the charts!!!

(12 Posts)
mysonben Wed 30-Sep-09 14:46:26

I don't know what to do for the best, DS has always loved watching TV, and this from a very early age. Attention span for tv + hours!!!

But it is getting to such a point that he wants the tv on and especially his disney dvds on all day long.
And that is from the moment he is up, while i prepare his breakfast he starts whining for the tv.
I try to make him wait a bit, but he will constantly goes on "tv on, i want dvd" until i say ok. He drives me insane!
Then i simply cannot turn the bloody thing off, it's one dvd after another and another,...
A lot of the times he will play with his cars while the tv is working and say part of the dvd script as it plays along.
If i try to turn it off, he has a tantrum, or when my back is turned he turns it back on.
If he is watching CITV, and a programme he doesn't like comes on, he has a tantrum unless i find quickly another programme he likes.
At home he doesn't want to do anything else but watch tv or watch trains videos on youtube (he will go to park and nursery thankfully).

Don't know what to do for the best! His tv and dvds obsession has taken over.
Also he is always going through his dvd collection, looking intensely at the covers, taking the dvd out and spinning it or fiddling with it, so they get scratched and he has a fit when thay don't work anymore.

I'm truly fed up! What can i do to "wean him off" the tv? sad

Any advice?

sc13 Wed 30-Sep-09 14:52:17

TBH, the only way may have to be to put up with/ignore the tantrums, and then when he sees that you won't budge, negotiate something to the effect that he can watch a stipulated number of dvds but not more.
The only positives I've found in obsessive tv-watching are: first, you can talk about what happens on screen, but I understand not all kids want to do that. Second, you can use tv as an incentive for him to do things he normally doesn't want to do (we use a first/then chart for this, as in 'first we do 5 turns of a turn-taking game, then you watch 30 minutes of Pingu' - nb he only understands first game, then Pingu but ikwim).

linglette Wed 30-Sep-09 16:42:56

sounds like he feels safe watching it. predictable and all that.

DS2 watched way.. too much in his third year. I think I've mentioned before that we went on a tv-free holiday when he was 2.8 and on getting home I covered the tv in a big red cloth.

But you'd have to feel quite strong to go cold turkey.

How about starting with "first breakfast, then tv"?#'@??

Barmymummy Wed 30-Sep-09 16:58:50

Am going through a similar thing with DS but its tenpin bowling. From the minute he wakes up to the minute he goes to bed he wants to do bowling. At socatots he bowls the ball at every opportunity instead of kicking it. If there is a ball anywhere he bowls it hmm. It got to the point that it was taking over so as of today the skittle set is up on top of the dresser.

He has not taken well to it and I have been trying to distract him with other games/activities. He is sitting there for a max of 5 mins and then wants the bowling again. Its been along day with alot of tears and tantrums but as I type he is out in the sand box so thats good. He has been asking for the tv as a second choice and I have also banned that for the day too. Its just becoming one big predictable routine.

I find that cold turkey is the only way to go with him tbh but I realise thats not possible with some kids.

HUGS to you coz I know how irritating it is wink

Marne Wed 30-Sep-09 18:23:56

Could you make him a time table with pictures, put lots of other things he likes doing on there (maybe painting, playing with cars) and then watching TV maybe at the end of the day for an hour before bed, let him help you put the time table together so he has some choice of what he's going to do.

Also use 'now and next', eg, first we are going to make a cake and then watch tv.

We use a egg timer for dd1 so we can tell her '5 minutes and then its going off' it seems to work, she grizzles a little but i can soon distract her with one of her chosen activity's (playmobil, lego).

Dd1 was addicted to game shows and we would record them for he and then she would watch them over and over, now we record one a week which she watches sunday morning with daddy whist i'm out.

flyingmum Wed 30-Sep-09 18:35:27

Mine went through a bit of this and also my NT son would sit infront of the TV all day if I let him. I made a rule with number 1 son (the one with SEN) when it was all getting a bit much (by the age of 3 if I remember) that he could watch 2 videos a day and not the same one each time. As he got a bit older I had the rule with him and NT son that if they watch a dvd one day then they can't watch it again the next day (unless its something we borrowed from the library).

Put the DVDs out of reach or lock them away.

It's really hard and harder now because children's TV is on tap all the time - which is something of a problem. TV is a godsend to give one some down time but I do know what you mean about taking over your life. You have to be very very determined. I do think the choice of activities and building in a timetable would be good.

Good luck. If it's any consolation DS1 hardly watches TV or DVDs now.

RaggedRobin Wed 30-Sep-09 21:26:37

as others have said, a "now next later" board was our salvation. ds was watching far too much tv and it was compounding his language problems. we got into a vicious cycle where he would wake at around 5.30, i'd be knackered and put on a dvd, and by the time the day properly started, he'd already watched it for hours. looking back, i wouldn't be surprised if he was waking so early so that he could watch tv!

we got it down to 2 X 30 minutes a day by saying, " now: dinner, next: bath, later: tv" and so on. it was amazing, he seemed to accept the visual reinforcement of the board, as though it was indeed written in tablets of stone. now he only watches half an hour in the evening and i'd be over the moon if he hadn't developed a computer obsession instead. now where did i put that "now, next..." board?

mysonben Wed 30-Sep-09 23:23:03

Thanks for tips.
Will have to seriously consider making a visual board to help him get to grip with 'now, next, later' concepts.
Somehow i don't think the cold turkey will work too well with DS hmm, still as we are off to visit my parents next week, it will provide a welcome break from his routine with the tv.
I can see how a visual timetable can help. And i hope it does, because the amount of watching tv is way ott for a 4 years old.
My ds1 (nt) who is now 16, did watch a fair amount of tv at that age but nothing on the scale of DS.
That's the thing! DS doesn't do anything half mesure, when he enjoys something it quickly becomes constant and relentless, he will not give it a break! (surely an asd trait.)
And as you know too well it is so tiresome and irritating for the rest of us.

sc13 Thu 01-Oct-09 10:51:18

I'm quite impressed by the bowling - at least it's a sport, no? We can't get DS near a ball at the moment

Barmymummy Thu 01-Oct-09 18:01:44

Yes you are quite right sc13, which makes it harder because if it was something mundane I would be much more inclined to distract but because its a 'sport' I feel mean or wrong taking it away from him. I like him doing it but just not 24/7!! Once he takes a liking to something it becomes an obsession so fast...

GoppingOtter Sat 03-Oct-09 21:18:40


I have a 12 year old recently assessed but not statemented for asd
i could have written your post years ago. It got so bad that ds would start talking about what he wanted to watch from up the street when we were walking home- he would run to me to 'tel' me what he wanted to watch nest before a dvd was over

he would also quote swathes of films

he was maybe 4 or 5 when it peaked

from maybe 8 onwards i decided to act on it and now at almost 13 he watches very little 'screens'

last christmas he got an ipod and he started obsessing again - cataloguing and lyric learning rather than listening

we have found NOT having the screen to be of benefit but i have come in for a deal of hmm and i am not saying it is easy

I think ds is happier for the temptation just not being there
he can watch dvds on weekends but not at all in the week

I asked the psychiatrist who was involved in his group assessment whether or not i was doing ' the right thing' and her response did make me think maybe we had been right in our approach to helping ds with his obsession

she said some folk manage the obsessional screening with time limits - so that the child learns to know that they are limited and 'off means off' but for 'boys like ds' it will NEVER be enough - they will always want more.

She said as we were bumbling along realtively calmly with this approach then stick to it

i hth

did you say your son had a dx?

mysonben Sat 03-Oct-09 22:40:50

GoppingOtter, thanks for reply.
We have a verbal dx of mild asd atm, we're slowly and painfully waiting for more apponitments and hopefully dx assessements with CAMHS.
DS is so bad with the tv , it breaks me in half to see him watching so many dvds (he watches the credits at the end too) and no one else must press the buttons for turning it all on or he goes doolaly!
He has a big collection and he will pick one and watch it over and over for a couple of days then move onto the next one.
He knows them all by heart, including music and sounds effects, and like your ds did he also quote bits from them while he plays with toys, once he went through the whole fifi dvd, yabering away in perfect scequence!
It always shock me to hear him as DS has speech delay and i can't get my head round to the fact that he knows so many sentences by heart, and yet cannot tell me he went to the park this afternoon!

I have made him a visual schedule and got a timer too especially for him, as soon as we are back of holidays , we will start with these , i hope it will help.

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