5 Simple Steps To Reduce Toddler TV Time

Kids absorb everything parents do. Therefore if your life revolves around TV or screens its almost certain that the little one also, being raised in a high media environment will take to it like a fish in water.

My challenge is certainly not TV, as I haven't watched regular TV in 7 years (except maybe the Wimbledon and some sporting events). But since I lived on my laptop pre baby, it's hard to let go of that. My writing has reduced with an active toddler around to give time to. I rather not spend time on the laptop or iPad when he is around (which is most of the time).

In spite of the minimal exposure to TV – say about 20 minutes of TV every week – he still points to the TV asking for it to be switched on the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I do have some iPad apps, which I've downloaded just for him, which I show him once in awhile. Therefore as soon as he sees me on the iPad he makes a beeline and settles on my lap hoping he will get to watch the good stuff and then gets upset when I put it away.

I've heard stories from other parents where their 14, 15, 16, month old can manipulate the iPad or the iPhone with ease. Luckily my 20 month old cannot and is pretty clueless around technology and I plan to keep it that way for as long as I can.

Here's how I plan to do it:

1) Little or no adult TV watching around the toddler. My husband and I watch a movie once in awhile in the night once the little one is tucked in. Other than that my husband puts on the TV on Sundays and watches some news or cricket but that's about it.


2) No screens as distraction: We don't encourage iPad or TV while eating as a distraction. IF he does need some distraction at times, I will tell stories, make funny faces, sing, and dance. But not TV. Apart from meal times, I don't even use TV as a distraction just to get him out of my way. When I put on a nursery rhymes DVD for instance we watch it together, I sing to him and point out things therefore making it an interactive experience.

3) No toys with batteries. N has almost no toys that do things with a push of a button. I firmly believe the more active the toy the less active the child and vice versa. Therefore his toys are the kind that he has to manipulate in order to make them work. The exception being a train that goes around a track.

4) Books are cool: Books for me are what television is for many. So I use up all my spare time reading. When N wakes from his nap and catches me enjoying a book, he thinks they are the coolest. We have a favourite corner where we read for half an hour every afternoon and he fetches his favourites.

5) Spending time outdoors: The other day somebody said to my husband – your son is always downstairs. I suppose I'm guilty as charged. Since we live on the first floor he goes down very often with my help just to kick around a ball and burn up some of that toddler energy. He is tired and active and cannot spend much time in one place even if I do want to put on a DVD for him once in awhile.

I do understand that if you're a fan of television its unfair for you or others in your household to give up for the sake of children. But until the child learns that this is mom and dads TV watching time, and I should play in my room, I do believe that you lose some to win some. In this case the win is creating good habits at a young age and ensuring that you're not going to let your child grow into an inactive couch potato.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear what steps other parents have taken to make sure that you have a child who is not drawn towards multimedia at an excessively young age!

Also read more about: 8 Toddler Friendly TV Shows You Must See



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Parenting Gyaan

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Comments (4)

Priyanjana Banerjee Rai

Its good to read but how far this is achiveable i doubt, as no exppsure to tv dosent mean that the kid will be active or a couch potatoe, these days there are various educative and engaging proggrams on tv specialy packaged for kids which do stimulate their thinking, kids should hav a well balance of every thing exposure to books outdoor games and yes some amount of healthy guided tv watching to because kids are very smart these days and you just cant prevent them and hide thing as its a matter of months and they will be exposed to everything in some or the other way, so their is nothing like perpect parenting and not exposing to tv and batery toys will only stimulate a babys mind till right proportion of everything and to strike a correct balance as to how much is good or bad is what we parents need to decide, well written but too strict for a child to follow.

Aloka Mehta Gambhir

hi Priyanjana. thanks for your comment. i totally agree that it's much better to have a balance than the restrict everything for kids.
I only feel that if you start young and try to limit or to not expose kids at a very young age it goes a long way.
for example there are days when my 4 year old has had a picky day hasnt eaten or is a little under the weather so i have plonked him in front of a tv and fed him a nutritous meal which he otherwise maynot have eaten. is this a norm? no way. but do i use these tools? yes for sure.
or the afternoon when my younger one has woken up from his afternoon nap and i have shoved the ipad in the hands of my 4 year old so that he doesnt walk into the room where i am trying to resettle his brother.
also my kids follow rules like tv or ipad only on weekends because i prefer it that way as i personally feel i can devote time reading or playing, not everyone can or not everyone feels that media is that bad.
but if you don't like them watchin tv for your own personal reasons then above are some points that have worked for me.

Roopashree Siddireddy

I agree with Priyanjana. The article is good. But not applicable to all in general. Each and every kid is unique and special. I remember one of my neighbours boy...i hardly see him watching TV. But his mother use to show rhymes and other educative things on iPad.( not all the time) At the age of 2 and half he was telling spellings where in 1std kid may not. In my house I too never let my girl till one year. My in-laws visited my place and my father in law and mil are very old and their only way to pass time is TV. Like this baby was introduced to TV in my home. She learned most of the things on her own. I too have bought lot many toys to play and as i am a bookworm..i too have provided her with many books..i read her books..she too tell stories. I feel we should allow them to grow naturally according to todays world. It's like depriving kid. I am an Astrologer and from past 15yrs, i have attended so many cases regarding kids issue. The more you hide, avoid, deprive of certain things...more they will get attracted towards it. A balanced way of parenting is required.

Dr.kinjal kapadiya

I wish I knew this before

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