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Mommy Q & A - TV time

I was asking myself last month.... how much TV is too much. Since I started working from home hubby has been watching the girls a bit more... and when I am on break or lunch he has the girls either watching TV or playing in their room. Why? There are so many other things that they could be doing. I know that it must be hard for him to deal with two little girls. So here is Leah from Baytown, Tx asking:

TV is always ON!!

I have a 4 yr old, a 2 yr old and an 8 month old. They watch a LOT of TV. I know it is not good for them, but I don't know how to keep them entertained. I don't want to ban TV altogether, but I need ideas on what else they can do. The problem lies in their ages. My 4 yr old can only do crafts in my bedroom with the door closed. If my 2 yr old is left alone with a crayon even for a second, he will color all over the house. Only the baby naps. Also, my 4 yr old can't have anything on the 1st floor of the house that is a choking hazard for the 8 month old who is crawling. I don't want them playing rough (which they do often) when I'm busy feeding the baby, so I turn on the TV. They also watch TV while I cook. So, basically, I'm having trouble juggling everything so I rely on the TV. They are in Pre-K twice a week, which helps. They also enjoy play doh and pop-beads at the kitchen table. (I still have to supervise the 2 yr old with small objects.) I don't take them places by myself much because they are very difficult to manage by myself.

My personal suggestion would be to play "school!" And maybe get a schedule in place. That would be a great way to get them ready for school. I would have the same schedule for all your kiddos but then have individual "mommy time" with each or pair them up, where you can do something that is age-appropriate for each child. Take a look at this to see some tips about toddler schedule ideas. Here are some more ideas for your four year old here.

For my hubby some easy ideas that he likes are play dough, which you already do and playing with food! That's something that we do for fun. Use carrots, broccoli and crackers to build houses and other critters. This is easy and fun because you don't have to worry about them eating crayons or the play dough. Something else would be to involve them in your chores. While the little ones play somewhere near, you can have your older one dry the plastic or non-breakable dishes. Or while your 4 year old watches her favorite show you can all sit down and match socks and have the little ones practice putting them neatly away. Again a schedule would be nice and have them put check marks or stickers when they've successfully helped you do a chore. Seek out kid friendly parks, with fences where you can go as a treat. Play grocery shopping and teach them how they should act when they go out shopping with mommy! Join them while they play for a few minutes a day. Be a kid again and you to will have just as much fun.

I hope these tips will help you and others out when you run out of ideas and keep them away from the front of the television as well. Oh and speaking of television. There are some great websites, like Starfall.com that can keep your kids entertained and learning as well. They can also learn from the shows they watch, but point things out as well. Make sure they are interacting, not just staring at the "idiot box." Play games, like have them point out all the red things on TV. Designate time frames and what shows they can watch and for how long. Usually we watch one 2 hr movie as a family and maybe 30-45 mines a few times a week.

Best of luck!

Comments

  1. Hi Cinella! Thanks for posting my question. BTW - I like your blog : ) Here is the response I posted to the site: Thank you to EVERYONE who took the time to respond to my question. It never hurts to have some extra tricks up your sleeve and I appreciate all of the suggestions! Taking from your ideas I would like to implement a baby "corral", quiet time, a sort of kindergarten centers approach, more puzzles (my son love them), and really try to venture out more. I don't wear my baby, but I would like to get a carrier just for short trips maybe to the library. I've tried different carriers and wraps, but I have large babies, back problems, and am hot-natured. They just never worked for me, but I know lots of moms that love them. I watched Super Nanny for a while to get some ideas and she's really big on schedules. I've also tried to follow a schedule (I actually like schedules and organization usually), but it was very difficult to stick to because our activities vary each day, and naps and feedings for my baby are not set in stone. I do follow a loose schedule, though. Bedtime and meals are regular.
    For those reading this entry looking for ideas, here are things we already do: attend a playgroup once a week, change the "input" or "source" before turning off the tv so the kids can't just turn it back on, yoga on fit tv (the kids do it with me, so funny!), dodgeball with rolled-up socks, earn marbles that are stored up high for chores and homework which cash in for special trips and rewards. For meals, I pre-chop onions and red and green bell-peppers and freeze them for recipes. This saves so much time in meal preparation. I try to find the easiest healthy-ish meals I can find and when I find a keeper I add it to my list of favorites.
    I'm pretty sure I didn't cover everything. You guys are great for all the encouragement. I know this time when the kids are all so young won't last much longer and things will get easier.
    We just started time out with our 2 yr old. He responds well to it, but we tend to save it for more serious infractions. I do think we should be putting him in time out more often now for making messes. I'm not talking about toys scattered around, this kid looks around for things to mess up, food to smear on something, etc. He knows not to by now.
    These last few days I've really tried to keep the tv off for large portions of the day and it has been better.

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