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  1. #1
    New Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    How to tell if your child is watching too much television

    Please tell me if their is really a limit to a child's television viewing habits.

    As soon as she wakes up my three year old will ask me to turn on the television. She rarely wants to play or if she plays she wants it done in front of the television.

    I just turn on the television to be able to do other chores or else she will throw terrible tantrums at me.

    thanks,
    Mum38

  2. #2
    Dear Mum38,

    Thank you for posting this interesting question - one which many parents ask themselves at some point.

    The problem with too much 'screen time' (which includes television viewing) is that this form of stimulation acts quite differently in a child's brain to real-life playing and real-life situations. Unfortunately studies have shown that too much screen time can lead to delayed development in our children and it also limits creativity and is more likely to cause (rather than solve) behaviour problems.

    At this age, the total daily recommended amount of television/screen time is no more than 45 minutes. It is even better if any screen time is supervised by the parent and you are still interacting with your child (asking questions about the program etc) rather than them watching it alone. I know that there will be situations every day which makes it difficult to do this and so some alone screen time (with carefully chosen programs) is ok but it really is best to keep this to a minimum.

    You can read one recent study into some of the negative effects of screen time here.

    It sounds like you and our daughter may have got into a bit of a cycle where her inappropriate behaviour is unfortunately established further by spending time watching the television. She is becoming used to being stimulated like this and will need some help and gentle encouragement to go back to imaginative play, enjoying books and puzzles etc. Ultimately, these will satisfy her imagination and brain development much more than any screen time ever could but screen time is like an instant fix to a problem which does not tend to work out in the long run.

    A good way to break this cycle is to gently encourage your daughter to get involved with helping you around the house by making games up as you go along. For example, can she match up the clothes with the family member...and the washing gets sorted. A little pretend cleaning kit can keep many children happily pretend cleaning whilst you sweep up etc.

    I know the house gets untidier when we have young children and all the jobs cannot be done straight away; but when I am feeling like this I try to remember that this are such precious times with my children. They will never be this age again. They will get older and the house may become easier to clean but I want to build our relationship up now.

    Another tip which has been shared previously on this forum is to do a fun activity for your toddler each day and then more of a chore based activity (but make this fun/ role play pretending to be animals whilst you do it etc so it is not known as a chore or a job). For example, you could meet friends for a walk and the park in the morning and then do some sorting at home in the afternoon alongside your toddler. Children of this age tend to be fascinated in food and you can get them to help you decide on meals and help where they can safely (mixing and weighing ingredients etc).

    A major reason why children have frequent tantrums is because they are wanting more attention from mum and dad. Stopping what we are doing and attending to our children can make every difference in this situation.

    If you are looking for more craft based ideas to do at home with your daughter then I would highly recommend The Imagination Tree for some innovative ideas.

    The key is to have fun together and maybe let the house get a little messier!

    I hope some of these suggestions help.
    With warm wishes,
    LJ
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 28th March 2014 at 07:45 AM.

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