Limiting Screen Time

3 Jul

I never thought I’d be the parent who had to break her kid of a TV habit.  I wasn’t even going to let him watch TV until he was 2.  I’ve read the research.  I’m creative and can entertain a small person.  But then came the Great Month of Illness, and TV was suddenly my mothering salvation.  If I’m sick or have a migraine, it’s great to turn on Baby Einstein or PBS Kids and have Alex still for a few moments. And when he was so sick last week with scarlet fever?  I pretty much kept PBS Kids on all most of the day.

Now Alex whines and points at the TV frequently, asking me to turn it on.

The irony is that my husband and I rarely watch TV.  We don’t even have cable, and we even dumped Netflix for the more lousy Amazon Prime streaming simply because it’s cheaper and I get free Kindle book borrowing and 2-day shipping.  We’re just not big TV people.  The only show I watch when it’s actually on is Downton Abbey.  

Now that he’s all better, I’m working on breaking this TV habit that he so quickly picked up.  And I won’t lie; I’ve realized that I was finding TV a very convenient thing.  I can turn it on and go get food prepared.  Or fix my hair.  Or be on my computer.  I also came to the conclusion that perhaps Alex wouldn’t be so enamored with the big screen if I wasn’t so frequently on my small screen, otherwise known as my iPod Touch.  Yep, when I’m busy Facebooking, he wants his own screen of some sort to stare at.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Yesterday was rough.  Lots of pointing at the TV and whining.  My saying no.  Fit throwing.  My attempts at pointing out his massive piles of toys.  Books.  More crying.

Then he started wandering the living room.  And noticed a bookshelf he’d never paid attention to before.  He found this:


It’s a small Winnie-the-Pooh made for me over 25 years ago by a friend’s mom.  I can’t even remember the significance of it, really.  I think maybe we used to quote Winnie-the-Pooh?  Regardless of my faulty memory, it’s a precious memento of my teen years.  I do know it was a going-away present when I moved from Slidell, La. back to my beloved Texas.  So I internally freaked when Alex got hold of it.

But he was so enamored with it that I just didn’t have the heart to say no and take it away.

My little Winnie-the-Pooh went everywhere with him yesterday.  He took it to the library, where we chose books, colored a picture, played with puzzles, stuffed animals, and sensory bottles.  He napped with it.  He clutched it all through a haircut at the kids’ hair place.  He loves it.  This morning, he went straight to it after breakfast.


He didn’t ask for TV this morning, at least not until he got in trouble for disturbing Ninja when I specifically told him not to.  Then he looked for some comfort and turned to the television.  So this will be an ongoing battle.  But we’re working on it.  And in the meantime, we’re reading more.  Both of us.  Because I’m trying to put down the iPod and read real books in front of him.  Because as I said before, monkey see, monkey do.

He’s currently trying t0 climb the trash can.  He came up with that one all on his own.


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