too much TV

User - posted on 02/07/2012 ( 38 moms have responded )

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As all parents i let my children " preschoolers '' sit in front of the TV for hours on end because i don’t know what else to do with them, it is not healthy or productive. It is actually detrimental to a child’s mind but i have no other soilutions . they are always bored can any mom advise me what to do??

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Johnny - posted on 02/07/2012

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Books, play doh, puzzles, board games, colouring, finger paints, imaginary play, dress-up, building forts, going outside, playing house, playing hospital, playing school, lego, building blocks... there are oodles of things to do. If they have plenty of toys, games, and activities to choose from and they still claim to be "bored", then just as Kay suggested, they can help mom with chores. Mine knows how to use the carpet sweeper, clean her room, dust, put dishes in the dish washer, and set the table. She is 3 1/2. She knows if she whines about being bored, there is zero chance that the tv will get put on.



We do a half hour of tv time in the morning. That's it for kids shows. Maybe one hour on the weekend while hubby and I do our big clean. Otherwise, the only time I allow her to sit in front of the tv for hours on end is when she is really sick and too weak to do anything else.



My number one suggestion is playing outside. Kids don't get enough outdoor time, and their imaginations suffer for it. No matter what the weather (aside from blizzards or heavy rainstorms) we have outside time.

Celeste - posted on 02/08/2012

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Hi There,

I have just read through all the comments, and although some have quite a few good ideas, others seem to think that sticking a kid on a carpet in front of a tv with toys is ok. It is still not. Just use 5 minutes of your time and watch your kids stare...

I have a rule that 1) when the tv is on, only certain channels are allowed. BBC kids, for instance, has a good load of educational kiddy programs (and things like Mister Maker and IcanCook) which in turn helps with keeping kids busy when the tv is off. Also, if it's rainy and there is really nothing to do, every 1/2 hr of kids channels needs to be followed by an educational channel like NatGeo or History etc.

Get on the floor with your kids and build a puzzle. Kids from about 4-7 LOVE drawing, and colouring is also good for them. Let them play outside (where possible). If this is not possible, let them show you inside the house how 5 different animals walk/how they act/ what they sound like. Swim like a dolphin, crawl like a croc etc. Walk tippy-toes around the table, reach for the sky and make twinkles with your fingers, jump/stand on one leg. Make it fun whilst you excercise their little muscles. Walk the dogs, build Lego, Read, Read, Read! Also, kids do love to feel needed (Thanks Kay S) so there is no harm in letting them do chores (make it fun- unpack the dishwasher by counting how many glasses /plates/knives / forks) when preparing food, let them tell you the colours and names of the food (red tomatoes, orange carrots, green lettuce) Put a bit of flour on a small worksurface in the kitchen and let them practice writing or their names. Just use your imagination and what you have. Let them sort your plastic containers in your kitchen from big to small. Little fingers needs to practice, so get them to thread wool through some pasta/ let them help you to mix some playdough.

Let them make their own bed/ sort the laundry in whites/darks/colours (it keeps them occupied PLUS your laundry gets sorted!) The lists are just endless!

I do hope this post helps someone out there change their perspective.

Jennifer - posted on 02/08/2012

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It is definitely a challenge to keep toddlers/preschoolers occupied, and Mom can sometimes get so weary trying to keep up with little ones that she can't even think straight. That's why I made a long list of different age-appropriate activities and posted it inside my kitchen cabinet. If you want to compile a list of your own, I recommend brainstorming when you are well-rested and thinking clearly. Or save time and print out a copy of my list, which you can see by following this link: http://www.flandersfamily.info/web/home-...

Amanda - posted on 02/07/2012

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Get out and about, play games read books, join a playgroup, colouring in, draw, play doh, lego, puzzles, board games, activity books, cook with them. Put some music on and sing and dance with them. Get out and kick a ball, we have a sand pit and paddling pool that they love. Play eye spy or simple games like that while you are cooking or cleaning and you dont want them under your feet. Take them out on bikes or scooters, feed the ducks, go swimming. Get them to help you with chores. Mine are 2 and 3 and they know how to tidy their rooms, put dirty cups and bowls in the sink, load the diswasher, load the washing machine and the dryer. They like to help me hoover and pass me pegs to put the washing on line.



I am guilty of using the tv too much some days as well but I know we do so much other fun stuff as well as socialising with other kids. It's hard work keeping little ones entertained.

Pamela - posted on 02/08/2012

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First, not all parents use the TV as a babysitter as you are doing. There are so many things to do with preschoolers, teaching them colors, shapes, the alphabet, learning to read, reading stories that you get from the library, doing all kinds of arts and crafts (again get ideas and books from the library on crafts for children this age), the activities are endless.



Take them to play in a nearby park, even if it means taking a bus or car ride to do so. Play board games, Blow up balloons and play toss and catch (these kinds of games help to teach muscle manipulation). Buy a bottle of soap bubbles and play with them inside and out.



I could go on and on, but then I was reared when children didn't have a lot of TV except for Saturday cartoons, so we had to be creative. As for when I was a preschooler, I was introduced to crayons and paper and I spent lot of time drawing pictures.

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Elfrieda - posted on 02/15/2012

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I got stuck putting my toddler in front of the tv, too. There was one day he watched for 2 hours! It's just so tempting, but SO bad for them.



Your kids need a detox. It will be miserable for 2 or 3 days, but just stay firm, NO tv at all. Then after a whole day goes by without them asking for it, you tell them how many minutes a day they are allowed to watch, and set a timer. The timer is more for you than for them. I do 10 minutes per day, and I have a DVD so I just pause it and he watches more the next day.



My son was happier, nicer, and less tantrum-y once the excessive tv-watching was out of his system. Plus he's smarter and has learned to play with real toys. It's totally worth the struggle.

Pamela - posted on 02/15/2012

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I have 2 20 month boys and an almost 4 girl.



We try to keep it structured too. TV only goes on at certain times.



My oldest likes to help me cook (helps with cookie dough).



We do special time on the neighbor's trampoline and she loves it!!!!!



We created a super nice play room for them. Lots of color, framed kids art work, small furniture and lots of

toys.





We also created a craft room......huge hit!!!!!

Janessa - posted on 02/14/2012

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I have rule, that I don't turn on the TV until later in the day usually when I am making dinner, if at all. My kids like to play with legos, color, look at books, they even make up their own games. In fact now it is rare that they watch TV, usually its when we get together as a family and watch a movie. I think sometimes they just need to realize that they can have fun without the TV, it takes a bit of coercing at first, but once it is a habit they end up preferring it. Most all of these things they do by themselves. It is hard at first especially if they've been used to watching TV because kids like all of us like routine and to stick with what they are used to, so really its just a matter of getting them used to something else. It'll be hard at first but worth it in the end. I know my kiddos used to beg and beg to watch TV at different times of the day, and now they don't even really ask me. But don't worry we all can fall into the TV trap that is normal, and I have before too. But I think 1 rough week in getting them out of the TV routine will turn into bliss for you in the end. Anyways, good-luck.

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My partner lets my 2.5 year old watch too much telly for my liking too, and she will whine for it in the afternoon and on the weekends when I'm home. That might last for about half an hour and then she WILL find something to do, even if it's sitting on the table 'helping' me or just watching me and chatting. I actually think a bit of boredom is good for young kids. It gets their imagination going and eventually they will come up with games on their own. I think all the suggestions here are brilliant, but the most important thing is simply to switch the telly off. All else will fall into place.

Christine - posted on 02/13/2012

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buy some cheap $1 projects at the store and let them work on that, or coloring books, buy some board games to play, read some book, go to the library to let them pick out books. i would save tv maybe for a rainy day. have them play with their toys,legos are great.

Justina - posted on 02/12/2012

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Tv can help cause a poor attention span and reduced vocabulary, and advertisements tell our kids that they need to be successful consumers rather than kind and moral people. That's not to say I never let my kids watch a show...but only Saturday mornings and in the summertime they can go two weeks without watching a show...the best solution is to turn off the TV... I'm always amazed at what my kids come up with when I don't give in...they play outside even in the winter, ride bikes, color, do crafts, play lots of make believe and we go to Parks and creeks and do lots of fun activities :). I applaud you for wanting ideas...I sometimes even let them play with small buckets of water when we've completely run out of ideas :-)...good luck and just remember..if they literally have no other choice they will actually play and come up with their own ideas and games :)...

Justina - posted on 02/12/2012

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Tv can help cause a poor attention span and reduced vocabulary, and advertisements tell our kids that they need to be successful consumers rather than kind and moral people. That's not to say I never let my kids watch a show...but only Saturday mornings and in the summertime they can go two weeks without watching a show...the best solution is to turn off the TV... I'm always amazed at what my kids come up with when I don't give in...they play outside even in the winter, ride bikes, color, do crafts, play lots of make believe and we go to Parks and creeks and do lots of fun activities :). I applaud you for wanting ideas...I sometimes even let them play with small buckets of water when we've completely run out of ideas :-)...good luck and just remember..if they literally have no other choice they will actually play and come up with their own ideas and games :)...

Stephanie - posted on 02/11/2012

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Get them involved in something that you do. Kids need exercise. Get into a exercise routine. Or go to the park. Use the imagination game. Keep their minds & bodies healthy. If you make learning fun and get involved they will do it.

Clarey - posted on 02/10/2012

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Thank you so much, Jennifer Flanders, for the great list of activities on your link.

I do hope that Sara Raslan reads it.



Please be aware that the maximum amount of screen time reccommended for pre-schoolers is one hour per day. Avoid cartoons and stick with "real time" shows.



We recently lost power due to an ice storm. Guess what? By day 2 my 3 year old had stopped asking for TV !



We have to be prepared to work hard to keep our children occupied with interesting and fun activities.

Michelle - posted on 02/09/2012

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I find that when I put the tv on a lot for my 2yo he wants it a lot. But if he is busy doing other things, after a couple of days he hardly asks at all. So you may find that if you get some of these other activities going it will improve faster than you expect. I also find that if I ha e the radio on he doesn't notice the lack of tv so much. But I don't have it on all the time as I find the constant noise exhausting!

Britta - posted on 02/09/2012

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I try to have an outing everyday. Even if it's just a trip to the grocery store, post office or bank. Schedule play dates, join a MOPS group, go to the park, library etc. If you have an activity or outing everyday then allow for some tv time after. My son still naps so the tv time usually happens after that. Good luck. I know it's hard.

Katy - posted on 02/09/2012

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My kids are 1 and 4. They only get Tv in the afternoon. the 4 yo is in school 5 mornings a week (8am-12pm). Even if its on, they are not always sitting in front of it. They are playing in the other room or coloring etc. It's mostly background noise. Our library has free programs once a week for preschoolers and toddlers so we do those as well. I try to get to the park if it's warm enough to be out with the youngest. I taught preschool and I find it's hard to come up with things as a mom. I like my quiet time!

Audra - posted on 02/09/2012

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I understand. Especially when it's cold outside, it can be so hard to know how to 'entertain' them. I'd feel silly jumping around like a monkey...I guess that doesn't mean it wouldn't be entertaining :).



I've put something in each room for my 2-yr-old to do while I'm in that room. He has a play kitchen we found for $8 at a thrift store in our kitchen. He plays at PBSKids.org when I'm cleaning my bedroom. He has an inexpensive desk from IKEA next to mine in our office, and there he can draw, etc. He has a few toys in his baby brother's room. This way, when I'm bouncing from room to room, he is also doing a number of different things.



And, I agree that it's important to just sit with them. Let them climb on you...watch them play...let them guide 'play time' for a few minutes. They also enjoy just spending time with you.

LeeAnn - posted on 02/09/2012

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I have joined a play group in my area. The kids get out and play with other's their age (2 and 3) and I get to socialize with the other moms at least twice a week. The great news is it is free! My kids love to listen to music also. I put on kids tunes instead to TV and we dance. I find if I do not put the TV on, they eventually find fun things to do on their own when I am busy.

Jeanne - posted on 02/09/2012

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Check out The Talking Jars at www.talkingjars.com for 4 years and up but, parent, family or another human being's participation IS necessary. That is the benefit of great, fun Talk. Teach them early how to express their thought, dreams, feelings of anger, etc, early on. Communication lasts a lifetime and is very life changing! Every expert tells us to TALK to our Children and spouses! See The Marriage Jar. All loads of fun and full of surprises!!! write me and let me know what you think.

Alexandra - posted on 02/08/2012

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Sara, don't think all parents do this. I think you are just out of ideas. It is good all the other mom's suggestions, read them carefully and do stuff with your child. Go on the internet and get ideas for crafts too. There are millions of things we can do at this age! They are bored because, I think, in my opnion, you are not stimulating their minds enough. Go get ideas and start giving your children more attention by doing things. You will see they will not get bored at all! Cook with them too.

Johnny - posted on 02/08/2012

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I would agree with that as well. I use the cable music channels all the time, especially when I am busy getting chores done. I put on the classical music channel and have her make up her own dance. Or the reggae channel and get out her drum. She loves music and dance, so it keeps her busy for at least 1/2 an hour. Combining this with dress-up works well.

Jane - posted on 02/08/2012

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Brittany Garvey has a good idea about music. My cable provider has a music channel with songs for little kids, with all the classics and new ones. That might be fun for them, dance around, pretend to sing. Then they would still have the TV that they are used to, but they will be moving and using their imaginations! Head Start is a fabulous idea also if they are not in a preschool yet! They have amazing teachers and curriculum! Meeting kids their own age also will be beneficial.

Susan (Jimmie's Aunt Susie) - posted on 02/08/2012

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Check with the local school system to see if they have a free preschool program or know of one. It depends on the area but some states have free pre-K programs. Head Start is also available for 3 to 5 year olds who fall within the income eligibility bracket. There are other programs as well. They're usually for 3 or 4 year olds but some places may have Early Head Start or the like. You can also use Google or other search services to find activities, songs, events, toys to make at home, homemade playdough and other recipes to do with small children. There are lots of sites with info for parents. Web sites for preschool teachers also have a lot of good info. Hope this helps a little. I used to teach Head Start then worked in the office before having health issues. There is a lot you can do to keep kids from being bored or watching tv so much. Good luck.

Jane - posted on 02/08/2012

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My son wont watch TV, so I dont have that problem. But he is obsessed with my iphone and the apps. I put all educational ones he can use, so that is OK. Try something outside. I know weather can be difficult, but kids this age love everything outside. Even with no toys, they find tons of things to do!!!

Tinker1987 - posted on 02/08/2012

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Our tv is on majority of the time, mainly for back ground noise,we live in a mobile where we dont have a playroom seperate from the tv area, My son doesnt pay alot of attention to the tv,if i seen that he was ONLY watching tv all day i would turn it to a music station but he is a busy body he plays and he plays and sometimes will stop to watch something if its catchy,he is very interested in learning things wheni show him new things he tries to master it,so im not worried about Tv being so terrible on his development. In the summer we are outside alot and get out more,winter were a little more in doors.

Mazy - posted on 02/08/2012

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When my two year old starting throwing tantrums over turning the tv off, I told him it was broken. After two or three days of wanting it & being told it was broken, he got over it & found other things to do like toys, books, puzzles, etc. It's been six months without tv for him & doesn't even notice it. When I was growing up my parents didn't even have a tv until I was in middle school & we never missed it either.

Andrea - posted on 02/08/2012

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How about go outside and take your kids hiking? We are up at 5am, go hiking with our 5 mo old and 2 year old, and there is no time for television. If I ever do use it, I play educational DVDs that have a purpose, but this is not a regular habit. Our habits including going outside, for walks, to the park, and planning fun activities you can do together.

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I put on music instead. We dance, sing the songs in silly ways. We make puppets, masks, etc. out of socks, cardboard, and old egg cartons.



Once a week we go to reading time at the library and swimming lessons.



We don't have a safe place to play within walking distance, so trips to the park for us are rare, as I like to keep it to one outing a day.

Saffron - posted on 02/08/2012

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I just get out of the house every day! So my 3 year old knows that he only gets to watch tv early in the morning before we go out and when he comes home for rest time (as he doesn't have day sleeps anymore). Sometimes for us its as simple as just leaving at 10am to go for a walk for 2 hours stopping at a playground for a while. He is so exhausted that when we get home he just wants to sit and play with his toys and take it easy. Our trampoline is good for this too. As im a coffee addict, my morning usually revolves around where we are going to explore to get mummy's coffee... lol. If my baby is asleep and I need to make use of that time, I turn off the tv and put music on and ill dance with my boy while I clean the house... he usually tells me to "stop dancing mummy" so he can concentrate on his toys.. love it! I have a large social network too as I joined a great mothers group early on so we usually catch up with at least 1 or 2 of the mums during the week so my son can have a play and socialise and I can de brief!

Janielle - posted on 02/08/2012

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I have sat down with my boys and we have made a 'bord' list' it's a big list of activities that we have come up with together. When they are bord they know to go to our list ( it has pictures as well as words for the younger kids) and they can engaged in solving their own bordem.

Devorah - posted on 02/08/2012

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I don't think all parents let their preschoolers sit in front of the tv for hours on end, but most let them watch tv at some point during the day so things like cleaning the house and making dinner can get done. That said, are your children enrolled in preschool? My kids went for

2 1 /2 hours 3 days a week. they did arts and crafts, food activities, and very simple learning activities. they were usually pooped when they got home. If you cannot afford preschool, you need to schedule activities at least a few times a week. local libraries usually have activities for preschoolers, some book stores also offer " story and activity " time for kids. if not, you need to just come up with a game plan. I have made home made play dough with my children when they were that age, you can also make finger paint that is non toxic. if it is nice out, outdoor time is a must. throw around the ball with your kids or just take a walk around the neighborhood. at home if you need to get stuff done, give them story books for 15 minutes to look at, and then pop in a movie or some tv. if kids are always watching tv, they will not learn to use their imaginations!

Jacqueline - posted on 02/08/2012

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on the weekends if it isn't raining they are outside (3, 3, & 5 y/o boys). i let them in the backyard w/o me having to be out there with them. it is fenced and i leave the back door open. my 5 (almost 6 y/o) is a tattle tale so he usually lets me know if his brothers are doing something they aren't supposed to. they have a playground and balls and trucks and such out there and if they want to get full of mud i let them have at it - they're boys. during the week it is a bit different particularly with the dark at 5 pm during the winter (ugh). it is usually dark when we get home. my oldest feeds the dog then if he has homework he has to do it first and his brothers usually want to color since that is what brother is doing (in their minds). if no HW or he's done i let them pick a bucket of toys to play with and they play in the middle of the living room floor. they make a mess but also know they will clean it all back up before bed. sometimes they run laps chasing each other around the living room (we have an open floor plan). if they start getting underfoot while i'm making dinner or cleaning the kitchen i tell them to go play on the carpet (ie, get out the kitchen!) they do pretty good most of the time and i just have to occasionally referee. the TV only comes on after bath for 30-45 mins. it is really what they are used to...it will be a painful transition to wean them off the TV - i was deployed 2010-2011 and my husband created quite a bad tv habit with the boys (he has one as well) and it took a few weeks until they realized I wasn't going to turn it on.

Stifler's - posted on 02/07/2012

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Get a trampoline, and other outside play stuff. Keeps the house tidy and they get sun and wear themselves out. I try not to turn the tv on too much only late in the afternoon when they're cranky or if I really need to do something and need them to be inside and quiet.

Medic - posted on 02/07/2012

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We just don't turn it on.....we have a million and 5 things to do that do not require the tv. My kids don't ever tell me they are bored.....I have lots of things for bored hands to do and once I give a job there is no backing out. For example......scrubbing toilets, baseboards, cleaning walls and cabinet doors. They already help with the general cleaning every morning. I don't think that they are ever too young, mine are 5y and 2y and they are the only ones that clean their room and playroom and it is done right. Thank god I have slightly OCD kids when it comes to things being put in their place.

Kaitlin - posted on 02/07/2012

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I have found that when I schedule our time it is easier to stay away from TV. For example, morning, breakfast (if my 28 month old wants to get down early, he can play legos or something) and then quiet free play unil about 9. Then we tend to do something creative (play doh or coloring, etc) for about a half hour, sometimes a little more or less. 10:30 we have a heart snack that usually lasts about a half hour. Then we do quiet play and reading until 11:30 nap. etc etc etc. Find a routine that works for you.



I try to get out of the house at least once a day- library most days, grocery store, park, play ground, a friend's house, visiting church or resting homes, etc. Playing outside in our yard doesn't count as far as 'going out'. This takes up a great amount of time.

Kay - posted on 02/07/2012

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Try the Busy Playbooks. I have one for toddlers, but I think there is one for preschoolers also.



We designate TV time at our house, and when it is an 'off' time, my oldest knows he can play in his room or read books, but that the TV will stay off. And if he is complaining of being bored, he can always help Mom by sorting laundry, doing dishes and other such chores with her. ;)

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