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Question for parents who limit TV time


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#1 BRB

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

Hi, this is a question for parents who's child/children watch 1 hour or less TV a day. What do you do to fill your days?
DS is 26 months old and although I have no issues with him watching TV I feel like I've started to allow him to watch too much. He is an early riser and usually will watch 45 min in the morning, maybe 45 min throughout the day (10 min here 10 min there) and about an hour at night.  I'd like to try to reduce it but am stuck for what to do with him all day. He isn't the sort of child who will go play on his own. I also work from home so sometimes TV allows me to make a call or return an email.  
I set up activities like play doh, painting or sensory table but it seems to entertain for such a short period - takes longer to set up and clean up!
I'd love to hear how parents fill their days original.gif

#2 chickendrumstick

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:58 PM

Without wanting to sound preachy, I think that to a degree tv and other screen technologies teach kids to have a short attention span. If you spend time with him doing other activities he will develop the ability to focus longer and play more imaginatively and independently.
Reading books, building with blocks and playing with cars/trucks, pretend play such as cooking etc are all great for these types of things as you can do them together and they encourage imaginative play.

#3 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

You don't need to set up activities. Just put him in a space with some things. A ball, some maracas, whatever. Let him make his own fun. He is capable. Just leave the tv off and see what happens.

Is there a park nearby? Take him and let him play with the other kids. You could bring a book, or the supermarket catalogues and write out your meal plan and shopping list for the week, or your smart phone and do your banking (and surf EB...) while he plays.

Are there playgroups or indoor activity centres?

Can he help you with whatever you are doing? Passing you pegs, or pressing the buttons on the washing machine? Can he "help" fold washing? While you are cooking, can you give him a bunch of plastic stuff so he can pretend cook with you? Can he have a broom to push around to "help" sweep while you vacc?

Can you go for walks together? The library?

HTH original.gif

#4 Roobear

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:06 PM

DD 24 months watches no TV. We go out somewhere most days. At home her favourite activities at the moment are water play ... she has a water table or I just give her a few containers full of water and cooking. So I get her to help with lunch, dinner and if I am baking anything. She loves playing with the dog and her baby brother but that obviously has to be pretty well supervised! I do encourage her to play independently and will tell her to go into her toy room and pick a toy to play with. If we didn't go out everyday though I would struggle entertaining her at home all day though.

#5 FeralPerthFembo

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

Hi OP. DD is 22m and watches maybe 30 minutes of TV a week and tbh I do struggle sometimes with how to fill the day.

We do an "activity" most days eg playgroup, swimming, playdates so things like that are good as they tend to take up a whole morning or a whole afternoon.

DD isn't particularly good at independent play either so we do a lot of what another pp suggested and she "helps" me do things eg putting washing in the machine, sweeping etc.

When we are home we read books, draw and sing songs but tbh I get bored of those quickly so we go out a lot. I'd personally rather be out taking 3 times longer than necessary to do errands than be at home trying to entertain a toddler. So if we have nothing planned for a day we might walk to the shops, have a walk around (this takes forever with a toddler!), have some lunch, go to the post office etc.

Edited by JBaby, 03 February 2013 - 10:46 PM.


#6 bjk76

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:54 PM

DS is 22mo and doesn't watch any TV. I'm at home with him full time. When he was younger, he'd play happily with his toys, which are separated into 3 boxes and which I rotate so that only one box is out, once he gets sick of that box. We still do this to some extent, but he is less interested in his toys now.

I always have out:

- crayons and paper, on a little table for him
- balls (which he is obsessed with)
- flashcards with letters on them, as he is currently very interested in learning the different sounds that letters make and is always sounding letters he sees around the place. He loves saying 'M...Mum, D...Dadda' etc. while playing with his flashcards.

Now he's down to one nap, I make sure we have one activity together in the morning and one in the afternoon. This may be a scheduled activity eg. music, playgroup, kindergym, or just running errand. After dinner we go as a family to the park for a play/kick of the ball.

DS is pretty good at independent play, as long as I spend time with him when he requests it.

I'm hoping to keep him away from the TV until he's 3, as I want him to be able to play independently and for him to be more physically active and for him not be nagging me to turn the TV on whenever he sees it.

#7 PureBliss

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:55 PM

I know my 2.5 year old watches a bit  of tv. But she is a kid who is either going 100 miles an hour or stopped dead on the couch, with no speeds in between.

Dd will typically watch tv first thing in the morning, which suits while I get ready for the day, tidy the kitchen, put on a load of washing etc. we then head out, to one of her activities, shopping, play date etc.

If it is on in the afternoon she is usually dancing to it, so I figure that is exercise! She loves watching ballet and copying it.  No tv in the playroom and she spends most of her time outside.  She is at cc 3 days a week which is completely tv free so if she chills out in front of it at home, I am ok with that.

Edited by PureBliss, 03 February 2013 - 11:01 PM.


#8 lozoodle

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:14 AM

At the moment I'm working full time, and am at the end of pregnancy so the TV viewing is pretty constant in my house!

But in normal circumstances I usually take the kids out for a walk first thing in the morning, which involves a play at the park and then we go home for morning tea and then nap time, or we'll meet up with friends or something else. Then after nap its lunch time and then in the afternoon its whatever we have on that day - I might go shopping or whatever is needed, kids out to play on the trampoline, craft, get them involved in helping me cook. There is no set structure, we just go out a lot original.gif

#9 BeYOUtiful

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:37 AM

Most days we go out.  Or when home he plays with books, cars, trucks, balls, guitar, dress up capes (I made), playdough and some stamps.
The park or our swing set/cars/golf set outside.

I have also made some alphabet letters and animals and stuck them to some felt. He loves those.

He does watch some tv - playschool or toybox.

#10 Lucygoosey1

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

Do you have things like a little cubby or sandpit?  These activities keep my daughters amused.  We also have a little slide that they enjoy.  
Then they do colouring-in.  I often put them in the high chair for this so I don't have to supervise as closely.  Or can cook etc whilst they are busy.
They might play with water,  like watering plants etc whilst I hang washing out.
We do plenty of other things,  like reading, craft,  bikes, but these are more hands on and I actively play with them rather than being activities that allow me to get chores done.
Oh and we watch tv too and my 3 year old has a very good attention span for other activities,  so as long as they are not sitting idle glued to it all day I don't have a problem.  




#11 Jo-Anna

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

DS is almost 2 and loves TV. For this reason we don't have it on during the day or he would just sit in front of it and zone out. He currently watches around 15 mins while I prepare dinner in the evenings, when his dad isn't home yet.
Our activities over summer have been a bit different because most of the council run things stopped over the summer holidays.
Most days in the morning we have an activity like swimming, playgroup, library or kinder gym.
If at home we play play dough, drawing with crayons/textas (you can print off colouring sheets from the internet) we cook together, he has a sandpit and a water play table outside. The magna-doodle is also a good one.

I find their ability to play independently grows with the amount of opportunity they have to develop their imagination. DS is now starting to play imagination games with his cars and trains and sit and read books for longer and longer. I did find while I was in the first trimester witht he twins I started using the tv as a babysitter too much and decided to go cold turkey. It was the best thing for us and every time DS learnt a new word/skill I reminded myself he wouldn't have done that if the tv was on, so it gave me the motivation to keep going. Good luck!


#12 CherryAmes

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:20 AM


I have a 25mth old and a 3 mth old, and I don't like the TV being on during the day. I will allow playschool though (when I remember) as it has some great ideas. I sit down and watch it with her (often breastfeeding the bub) - it's been great for the 'cooking' ideas, she has been 'cooking' and eating a salad sandwich for the last few days after they made one on playschool.

I find that I do have to think up ideas for my daughter as otherwise she tends to get into mischief as soon as I'm settling the baby or feeding him. Here as some ideas:

- We read a book (such as Goldilocks, or Going on a Bear Hunt; something with a simple structure). Then we draw some of the features on a big bit of cardboard (e.g. the 3 Bears House). She scribbles bits, I draw it properly. Then she uses her toy figures (like a man from Duplo) to act out the story on the paper. This kind of thing goes for weeks, rereading the story, adding bits to the drawing, acting it out. We might set it up as a real-life thing, like acting it out in the backyard. With the Gingerbread Man, we cooked and ate some gingerbread men as well. I follow her lead in terms of which book to choose; I have no idea why she got so into the Gingerbread Man, she would beg me to retell it over and over.

- Yoga has been fantastic. We bought the itsy bitsy yoga for toddlers book and it has SO many ideas in it. We start the morning with yoga - after her morning breastfeed but before breakfast.

- Felt storyboard (from Aldi), Duplo, toy kitchen, trainset; anything that can tell a story will keep her amused for a long time. I might start it off and then she'll be happy for quite a while. I really like Duplo, it's great for fine motor as well as the imagination. I got the set that had cards in it to show you how to make things which is great early literacy too.

- Lots of outside time, including long walks. We can walk for over a km without complaints, and back again.

- Lots of music, putting music on and playing instruments to it, dancing to it etc.

We have a very long midday 'quiet' time - she doesn't always sleep but she's in her cot. I need it!

Hope that helps!

#13 Gudrun

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

Outside: buckets, worms, dirt, leaves, spades or garden hand shovels, watering can, wheelbarrow.

While you do your own thing but still join in the 'converstaion' now and then.

They learn a lot from TV too, but it has to be measured and it helps if you tune in a bit so you know what they are learning.  As you are suggesting OP it is all about balance.

As well as walk up the shops and rotating stuff you put out.


Edited by Gudrun, 04 February 2013 - 11:56 AM.


#14 BRB

Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

That's some great ideas! Today I've slowed down and involved DS in my "chores" rather than rushing through them and its helped fill sometime which has meant less TV. Thank you ladies, really appreciate your advise. Ill keep working through the list of ideas original.gif

#15 Cindy1014

Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:03 AM

Jai loves outside play so he has a pretty good set up original.gif

we have a couple of large tubs with different toys for this- cars, sea shells and things we collected at the beach, blocks, dinosaurs, containers, small buckets with paint brushes attached with string to " paint" with( use water) dolls, push cars ( pram, car, wheelbarrow, lawn mower, trolley), play cooking sets, train set etc

he has an undercover play area that's grassed and he has his craft table set up there for paining, beading, play doh, drawing, goop, water play table, sand table, clay also a dirt pit and sand pit are in that area.

he has a trampoline, cubby house with slide, and use of a swing. he aslo shares a veggie garden and flower garden plot with his sister ( she's 9)

Inside he has access all day to a drawing table, easel for painting, puzzles, blocks, train set, soft toys, book corner, indoor slide and ball pit, doll corner/ home corner with little kitchen, toy box with miscellaneous toys, indoor ride on bikes and a pram.

during the day, he will wonder between entertaining himself with these things or " help" me hang washing, fill the washing machine, empty dishwasher, wash the dishes, cook, clean, collect the mail, put out the rubbish, play with the dog or cats,  fold washing, etc

i hope that give you some ideas original.gif

#16 antsy

Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:41 AM

To be honest that doesnt sounds like a lot of tv to me, just about average. I didnt really limit tv watching when my kids were young and I found that they would self regulate anyway - they would often get bored and go off and find toys to play with or go outside. They are now 5 and 7 and they are great at entertaining themselves with imaginary play, some of the stuff they come up with is amazing. So everything in moderation is fine IMO.

#17 Earth-Angel

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

I'm a F/T SAHM to a 32mth old boy. During school terms we have usual activities that we attend: playgroup 2x a week and kindygym once a week. The 2 other days are left free for running errands, having playdates, going to the library etc.

We are generally out of the house from 9-noon during the week. By the time we get home it's time to get lunch ready (which he normally helps with) then time for his nap (on the odd occasion he isnt going to have a nap though I do put him in front of a 60min movie as rest time so that he can make it thru to 6pm when he'd to go bed). He'll sleep until 230pm so in the arvo he usually plays mostly amusing himself or we sit and do some organized activities together (craft, learning printables, cooking etc).

We have a cubby, toddler trampoline, water table, climbing frame with slide, sandpit, bubble machine, sprinkler all to be played with outside. Inside we have a play kitchen/shopping trolley, puppets & theatre, puzzles/games, musical instruments, balls, cleaning stuff (mop/vacuum/broom etc), duplo, wooden blocks, train table & a number of the ELC Happy land sets. I tend to rotate these things so he's always quite happy and interested in playing with whatever is out.

#18 Cat Burglar

Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:47 PM

My DD has just gone 2 and never watched any tv until recently (although she was in child care 3 days a week). I have had to use TV a bit since the baby was born but definately try to keep to under an hour a day. We always read a lot of books so that helps as she enjoys reading to herself. We get out of the house every day - kinder gm, story time, wiggle and giggle, park, beach, play cafe etc. At home she loves going in the back yard kicking balls, riding tricycle, playing skittles and games like that. Indoors we do blocks, puzzles, play doh, drawing, colouring, playing with magnetic letters on the fridge, helping mum,  craft and general playing with toys. We make stuff out of cardboard boxes like tunnels and tents and things, and she likes sand and water play and play instruments too. We also visit friends and relatvies a lot! Hope that helps.

#19 TillyTake2

Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:58 PM

My son is 25months, our day looks like this...

6.30am get up, me try to convince him to play with trains or read a book while I pretend to sleep until 7 lol

7am breakfast, dressed, shower etc

8-9ish feed cat, load dishwasher, small "chores", some 1:1 play, some him just randomly playing with toys etc

9-11.30 mostly out, playgroup, park, catch up with friends, library etc. Morning tea in here too.

11.30-12/12.30 lunch & quiet settling/books etc

12/12.30-2/3 sleep (at the moment I sleep too most days lol)

3-5/6 outdoor play or a mix of 1:1 with me or solo play. Sometimes some cuddle & tv time for play school (or mummy prepping dinner time).

6ish: dinner then daddy time then bath etc

7.30 bed

At home we do cooking, playdoe, craft, drawing, trains, make cubbies, read books, play with balls, in the sandpit or trampoline, dance, play shops etc etc

I usually do try to get out of the house for the morning every day. Tomorrow it is coffee with a friend & a play in the park, Tuesday I'm not sure, Wednesday catch up with friends from church/do small group study, Thursday playgroup, Friday I work.

#20 cinderellainsydney

Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:06 PM

When DD was 2-3, she loved "in the night garden" - and I let her watch. That's it. Now we don't even own a tv. Children are very adaptable, they get used to the limits whatever they are.

DD was pretty easy going most times and would just occupy herself...pots and pans, playing with different coloured paper, toys, chunky puzzles, playdough, ripping out weeds....and eating them, sorting socks and undies, peeling garlic, loved playground, loved shopping.

Just turn it off - children will make do with whatever you have at home. If it's too tempting, try to go out more: cafes, beach, playgrounds, walks, museum/ art gallery etc.

#21 Feralishous

Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

we do something every morning usually:
m -toddler gym
t- 'play in the park' and visit nana
w - gym creche and playgroup
t - daycare
f - mainly music/rhyme time
s - gym creche and lunch out
s - family day

then sleep/quiet time after lunch, craft/card games after the nap then its 30 mins of tv while I make dinner, and around 30 mins before bed (tonight was 10 mins)





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