How do I get my in-laws to watch less TV when babysitting?

Lisa - posted on 03/02/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I just want to get opinions on this.

My husband's Craig's parents, watch my September 09 baby all day while we work, and they have the TV on ALL THE TIME. Now they will play with Hudson where he's not facing the TV and Terry takes him into the bedroom to read to him occasionally, but the TV is literally ALWAYS on. Their compromise is to put Sesame Street on for Hudson once a day for as long as he will watch.

Right now he's little so he will play with toys and not just focus on the TV, but that's going to change sooner rather than later. TV is inactive - he doesn't really learn much from that about the world around him and the American Peditricians Council states that children under 2 years old should not watch any TV and over 2 no more than an hour.

And it's not just him watching the TV. It is also the example that it sets - people sit on the couch and watch TV all day. I don't want him to see life that way and become a lazy TV watcher!

My husband mentioned to his parents today that I was noticing how the TV is still on all the time and it sounds like his dad was annoyed by it, feeling like I'm telling them they can never watch TV. Which is not the case. He takes naps and leaves at night so they can watch it then, and if there is something they HAVE to watch during the day then fine. But all day with the TV on, well I just don't like it. If he was only there on weekends or a day or two a week it wouldn't be so bad, but they have him all day 5 days a week and that's WAY too much TV watching in my opinion.

Am I crazy? Out of line? Ideas for how I can discuss this with them? Suggestions for things they could do that DON'T involve having the TV on?

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S - posted on 03/02/2010

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i agree with you that TV is not good for our little kiddos. however, the TV sounds like a very integral part of your inlaw's lifestyle. from their perspective, you're asking them to change something that is important to them. OR maybe they just don't know what else to do? maybe instead of making the TV the battle, you could provide a guide for them of what you would like them to do each day with your child, and create a routine that takes your child away from the TV area.



a rountine (not a schedule), that includes sleeping, eating, and activities for each part of the day. at this age, babies LOVE interaction - they love faces, expressions, singing. simple books and toys with contrast, pictures of other babies and people smiling. they like to see the outside world, so taking short 10 or 15 minutes walks outside a couple times a day in a bjorn or stroller are a nice diversion from the TV. maybe you could give them some toys and books to support your routine, and switch them out on a regular basis to keep it fresh. your inlaws may really just need this giude to help them motivate to find new things to do with your child. they will either understand and cooperate, or they won't. you can't blame them, since it is their house, and the TV sounds like a part of their daily ritual.



the 'couch potato' thing isn't a concern at this age, but will be later on when your child becomes mobile.



also, it's my understanding that babies this age can't seperate sounds well, meaning it's hard for them to focus on someone singing to them if they can also hear the sound of the TV in the background. maybe your inlaws could turn the sound way down, or off, but still have the picture on, as long as your child is not looking at the screen? sesame street can hardly keep my 2 year old occupied for the full hour - it's too much for a little baby.



you may have to choose to find another option for child care if you are unhappy. you don't want this to create resentment in your relationship with them, or with your husband. i don't know your particular situation ofcourse, and you may not have another option. if that's the case, i hope you're successful in keeping your communication positive and productive with your inlaws.



good luck!

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