How do you explain to a toddler that tv isn't real?

Jamie - posted on 08/24/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old doesn't understand acting and film. He thinks everything he sees is real and often gets scared if he sees something he's not supposed to...

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Jodi - posted on 08/24/2012

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This is why you need to be careful what he sees on TV, because at that age, they CAN'T distinguish (or have great difficulty) between reality and fantasy. This is why children this age are more prone to nightmares, etc, because they haven't learned the difference, and they aren't necessarily cognitively capable of making the distinction. My suggestion is just to be more careful about what he sees on TV.

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Jodi - posted on 08/25/2012

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Ah, ok, gotcha! I was thinking he was seeing stuff at home ;) I must admit, not many places here have a TV on either (even when I visit someone), so it didn't occur to me that was the problem. As the others have said, all you can really do is reassure him that it isn't real. It's a really difficult concept for them to understand at this age because what they see is what they see :(

Dove - posted on 08/25/2012

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My apologies. I figured this was at home since most of the places I go do not have a television on. ;)



The rest of my advice still stands though. :)

Jamie - posted on 08/25/2012

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Let me elaborate a little more, with total respect and gratitude for the ladies takiing the time to respond. I have 2 kids and we aren't really able to live in a bubble. We go out into the world at least 3 times a day and it's unrealistic for me to ask every waiting room, storefront or host (if we're at someones house) to change the channel when my kids walk into a room. I also have a baby and a life so I cannot dedicate 100% of my time redirecting his attention when there is an innapropriate show on. I'm not talking nightmare on elm street, I'm talking cop shows or anything with a superhero and a villain. Captain Hook was a big problem for a while.

Dove - posted on 08/25/2012

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You eliminate his exposure to anything that scares him and just keep telling him that it's not real. My 4.5 year old still has trouble (or needs reassurance) with this concept. It's age appropriate.

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I just told my kids that the people on TV are pretending. But as Jodi has said, you need to be more careful about what is on the TV when he is awake. Make it so he can't accidentally see something he shouldn't. ( I never had adult TV on when my toddlers were awake)

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