View Full Version : TV and toddlers/independent play
08-29-2005, 07:06 AM
I am guilty of letting my toddler watch tv daily...she usually sees Sesame Street in the morning and a bit of Noggin at the end of the day when we get finished with our activities and I start on her dinner. I know it's probably frowned upon by "experts" and it'll likely increase when DS comes along.
I really don't have a problem with her watching; she sees age-appropriate shows, no commercials, and interacts with the characters and music. My problem is that she is not good at independent play, and I fear the tv is making it worse. Putting the tube on is the only way I am able to get anything done. When I try to encourage her to play by herself, following other suggestions of playing with her for a long time, then slipping back a few feet with my own activity in the same room, she whines and clamors for the tv. I don't want her to feel she needs the tv if someone is not 100% focused on her. Any suggestions??
08-29-2005, 09:16 AM
I don't have any bright ideas, just wanted to commiserate.
We have recently started a one-video/DVD per day rule because of the same problem.
On an average day, my 27-month old DD watches 15-20 minutes of Disney Channel in the morning while my DH is getting ready for work (he does the morning routine), and then watches one DVD/video of chioce when she and I arrive home in the afternoons (she's in daycare). If she doesn't ask, I don't offer to let her watch. I used to just turn off the TV after the video/DVD was over, but she started asking to watch it over and over. So now we have the "one time" rule. (I don't mind her watching something once--it's the only way I have 30 minutes to throw something together for dinner.)
She usually pitches a fit when I turn off the TV. I used to simply hide the remotes, but now she knows how to manually turn it back on and does so. So, I have to remove her from the room. Luckily, our TV is on the lower level and the rest of the living space is upstairs, so I take her upstairs with me and close the babygates at the top of the stairs. She will then play with me and/or by herself. Sometimes that transition is as easy as going upstairs, and sometimes there is a full-blown tantrum lasting a looooong time.
I don't know how to increase independent play (other than the suggestions on the former thread), but, for us, the limiting TV rule seems to be sinking in. She knows that we'll turn the TV off after she watches one thing, and she eventually finds something else to do.
Maybe try instituting some sort of rule about how often the TV is on? You can always enforce it for now, and then let her have extra TV time as a treat (necessity!) when her brother arrives.
08-29-2005, 09:30 AM
dziner, I could have written your post word-for-word except I am not pg. ;) Zoe watches maybe 20 minutes of TV (Sesame Street or "Oobi," which she adores) in the morning, so I can eat breakfast, and a little bit of the same sort of thing before her bath, so I can clean up from her dinner, sort through the mail, check the messages, perhaps start her dinner. In other words, it is the only way to get anything done because if she is not watching TV, Zoe demands to either be played with, or to "help" us with whatever activity we are doing.
But I guess I have never thought there was a connnection between the two. I just think of Zoe as the kind of kid who demands a lot of attention, who is very social and just doesn't enjoy playing by herself. I think if she never watched TV she would be the same way; I just would never get a break! (And like you, I don't feel about the amount of TV she watches. It isn't more than an hour a day; it is always age-appropriate and commercial-free. Plus, I feel like she has learned some positive things from her shows.) I don't really have any suggestions for you. My guess is, when your DS is born, your DD will learn to play by herself out of necessity. Plus, she will be a bit older than, and that will help. Zoe is slowly becoming more capable of entertaining herself as long as an adult is nearby.
08-29-2005, 10:13 AM
My DD is definitely way more into TV than I would like. She watches about the same amount as what everyone else has said - usually about an hour or so in the evening. My DH has been traveling a lot and I've recently gotten into the habit of letting her eat her dinner in the living room while she watches Sesame Street. I noticed once this weekend that she was so mesmerized by the TV that she wasn't even eating! I had to keep pausing the show and reminding her, telling her that the TV was going off if she didn't eat. I guess maybe that's better than the usual human response of mindlessly putting stuff in your mouth and not realizing that you've consumed a whole bag of chips?
While I'm not going to keep her from watching Sesame Street and a couple other shows she likes on occasion, we're making a concerted effort in our house to lead by example (not watching TV in front of her) and also try to get her to understand that watching TV is a treat and privilege. We'll see how it goes.
08-29-2005, 10:14 AM
dziner - I haven't been there / done that...but just had some thoughts, ideas?
Like a PP mentioned, maybe just creating some structure around the TV (rules, etc.)??
I would guess that this may be short-lived also...when your new DC is a bit older, they will be able to play with each other.
What about a "play date" for your DD? Do you have anyone she could play with? I remember as a youngster (don't ask me why I remember this!) but after playing with friends, I would often continue to play the same game on my own (usually some form of make believe.) I know I was a bit older thought.
Otherwise, don't worry about using the TV for little bits. Like you mentioned, it is age appropriate and you approve of the content. I used to LOVE Sesame Street, and most of the spanish I know now is from that show! LOL!!
08-29-2005, 11:27 AM
Thanks for the replies. I have to confess that she watches more like an hour in the mornings...mostly b/c she wakes up so darn early, it's exhausting to entertain her for so long! So from 8-9 I'll let the tv be on, but she's in and out, watching Big Bird and going to bang on the shower door while Daddy is getting ready for work. I have the opposite scenario as Orange - she does the mindless eating thing if I allow her to watch Little Bear during dinner! Sometimes I will do that just to make sure she gets enough in! I think otherwise she knows her show is on and she's missing it so she wants to get down from the highchair.
Koala, we have playdates several times a week. She's hit or miss with those. She'd much rather play with Mommy or Daddy, but I need her to understand that we can't be her constant playmates. We do have somewhat of a structure for tv as I only allow it to be on for a half hour or so if we happen to be stuck inside alllll day, and otherwise just during the post-breakfast and pre-dinner times as outlined above. I just dread being home for any length of time b/c if I am NOT entertaining her, she wants to watch b/c she won't entertain herself.
It's really quite baffling. She is very creative and bright. Hopefully like mom to zoe said, she'll figure it out when baby brother arrives. I just fear it'll get worse before it gets better (picture daily tantrums when Mommy is busy nursing or trying to rest in a chair for a bit!).
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