Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Our ban on screen time

I have always been in favour of little ones watching the telly - in moderation of course. If you pick the right programmes, it can be educational and entertaining, it gives them a cultural connection with their peers and it can give mummy some much-needed rest time. The little man has learnt to read numbers by watching Numtums and I love the gentle moral message that comes across in Postman Pat - everyone helps each other out and hasn't a bad word to say about anyone (perhaps I need a couple of days living in Greendale).
However, lately we have noticed that the little man is perhaps watching a little too much. I had fallen into the deadly habit of letting him watch YouTube clips of his favourite programmes on the iPad while he had dinner, something that never sat right with me and always filled me with guilt everytime I did it. As our son is very French in the way he eats - he takes ages - we started to tot up the hours he was spending in front of the screen, adding telly time as well, and decided it was getting a bit out of hand. Plus, he was spending a lot of time reciting scripts of his most-watched programmes and he had got into the habit of demanding TV everytime we returned home which was very wearing.
So we decided to go cold turkey. I might add the little man's daddy managed rather skillfully to time the launch of this screen-ban with a "very important meeting" taking him away from home and leaving me to face what seemed like a daunting uphill battle. But his job is with numbers and mine is looking after our telly addict so it was only right really that I face the challenge.
In actual fact, the new regime was remarkably easy to implement. Day one he asked for the usual programmes and "the little laptop" for dinner. I didn't say no, just distracted him and he was fine. Day two he asked once or twice. By day three he had forgotten all about them. Instead, he started doing puzzles again, and reading books - something he had loved doing but that had gone by the wayside as the telly took over. We sat and read book after book. He mastered a 20-piece puzzle, then a 24-piece. He started playing more with his cars and train set. It was more hardwork for me entertaining him (although the beauty is he started entertaining himself more) but the results at the end were just so rewarding it was completely worth it. We could see our little boy coming on leaps and bounds and not once did he ask for the TV. Yesterday he was ill and asked for Postman Pat so we cuddled up and watched it together - I am not a complete dictator.
I don't envisage a future without telly, and I wouldn't want that as I feel he would be missing out, but as far as I can it is going to be a limited passtime to make room for others. Well, let's see how it goes. Now, where did I hide the remote?


  1. Well....I love Postman Pat...! So There!
    As a very grown up person..I don't watch
    soaps....(They should be banned), reality
    shows, violent drama etc..
    That square thing in the corner is there to
    entertain me..NOT, upset me, or annoy me...
    Mon-Fri, l watch a couple of episodes of
    Last of the Summer Wine. Relax's me, keeps
    me happy...And, l have a chuckle...!

    With children it's difficult...I've seen teenagers even text each other, when there
    in the same room...How sad is that...
    But, that's a good idea of yours...Puzzles,
    reading books, doing things mentally..
    I used to take my daughter out and about a
    lot, doing things, meeting people....All,
    good for the developing mind....Tellies, like
    all other inventions, have there good side, but also a down side...Doing things...'Hands On' is the best, at least, for young growing minds..!

  2. Definitely good to limit-Alex gets very stroppy and angry if he watches too much, sometimes it's easier said than done but for the most part we are getting better :)

    1. Sorry - taken me ages to reply to your comment! Hope screen watching is going okay! x

  3. Great idea, glad it worked! Feeling a little guilty now about the amount of time C spends with Cbeebies...

  4. Ditto to London Mama's comment. Also feeling a little guilty now. Nothing makes a mother feel more guilty than thinking her child is watching too much tv! x