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Old 02-21-2013, 11:49 PM   #1
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Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

Okay, my son just turned 4 a few weeks ago. I've made a few huge mistakes and now I don't know how to get my parenting him back on track.

When I got pregnant last apil the whole pregnancy was a god awful 9 month mess of constant nasuea, extreme fatigue and depression. My first big mistake? I let him watch all the tv he wanted so I could be sick and miserable in peace. Now that the baby is born and 7wks old I'm starting to feel human again and capable of being a parent. But I have no idea how to wean him from the tv and my husband doesn't care really as long as he can relax in quiet after a 12+ hour work day so I've got no REAL support on this. Everytime I tell him no more TV he turns into a snobby whiny tantrum throwing monster and I'm mean. It goes on for hours. He doesn't want to color, all his toys are boring, he doesnt wanna be at home etc etc etc I do spend time with him, we read together before bed every night and he helps me cook everyday but besides that I am crazy busy with the newborn and just wish he would play with his toys!

I don't know what to do but I do know this muh TV for a kid is crazy and not okay.

My second problem is his attitude towards us as his parets and doing what he's told. We don't spank and I feel like if he's not watching the stupid tv he's constantly in timeout for chasing the dog or not doing what hes told. I try to calmly take him aside or make him hold my hand and look me in the eye while we talk but it doesn't seem to work. 5 minutes later he's doing what we told him not too again! Like using a bad word, running wild instead of using walking feet, throwing a ball in the house or even telling us no when we ask him to do something.

I feel like I've let him become a bit of a brat but besides the TV problem I don't know what I'm doing wrong. He's soooo strong willed and I'm sooo worn down still. I feel like a bad mother and my only saving grace is he behaves in public and for his preschool teachers. It's just mom and dad at home he acts like this around.

Anyone with advice?

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Old 02-22-2013, 01:24 AM   #2
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Sounds like he either needs an outlet for his energy or needs attention. We had this problem when our dd was born. not so much the tv, but the behavioural problems. I started putting dd in the sling and walking ds to the park almost daily. While we walked we were able to chat.and he was able to burn off some energy as well. Good luck mama.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:03 AM   #3
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

Yep, he's bored and looking for something to do. Give him specific activities to do and I think you will see a lot better behavior, it's tiring, but worth it.

As for the tv, I would cut him off cold turkey. There have been a few times my oldest gets a little too attached, and we see a bunch better attitude when it's just not around at all. After a while we let him earn a specific amount of time back for good behavior and helping with his chores around the house. But in the beginning, it's just gone.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:37 AM   #4
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Btdt. I take away tv cold turkey when I realize it's gotten out of hand. We have a rule and DS1 knows it. If you are whining/throwing a fit over tv, no more tv for a while. I do limit it now. Before school he has to be 100% ready and after school no tv unless he did good in school that day and is 100% ready for bed. Weekends get played by ear. Some days he sees no tv, some I'd rather not talk about. But I'd give him his alternate options, which typically include some chore he can help with (switching laundry from washer to dryer, putting away some dishes, putting up his laundry) or fun stuff. If he insists on whining then I just ignore it. It took a day or two when it got out of hand. But it does get better.

And I had horrid morning sickness and a lot of discomfort this last pregnancy, too. It happens. No shame in using the tv. It's survival when you are having a rough pregnancy while caring for an active preschooler.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:07 AM   #5
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

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Originally Posted by SaraElise View Post
Yep, he's bored and looking for something to do. Give him specific activities to do and I think you will see a lot better behavior, it's tiring, but worth it.

As for the tv, I would cut him off cold turkey. There have been a few times my oldest gets a little too attached, and we see a bunch better attitude when it's just not around at all. After a while we let him earn a specific amount of time back for good behavior and helping with his chores around the house. But in the beginning, it's just gone.
This.

I would set a timer, and give him some structure. "Johnny, for the next 15 minutes you may sit at the table and color. When the timer goes off, you may clean up and come to me to discuss what you would like to do next".
Whining, arguing or fit throwing is immediate grounds to go to your bed here. Our children may come out when they are happy, and ready to be "on the team" with an obedient and content heart. Anything that is whined, demanded, or commanded for is lost for the next one hour.
I would cut off TV cold turkey for at least one week.
I would then decide on one of two 30 minute intervals during the day where tv would be a help to you. I would very clear that he is watching that one show, and then we are turning it off. TV is a privilege and a poor attitude about it loses the privilege.
He will learn to amend his choices because the outcome of other choices was undesireable. He'll get it!
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:25 AM   #6
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

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Originally Posted by Angel89411 View Post
Btdt. I take away tv cold turkey when I realize it's gotten out of hand. We have a rule and DS1 knows it. If you are whining/throwing a fit over tv, no more tv for a while. I do limit it now. Before school he has to be 100% ready and after school no tv unless he did good in school that day and is 100% ready for bed. Weekends get played by ear. Some days he sees no tv, some I'd rather not talk about. But I'd give him his alternate options, which typically include some chore he can help with (switching laundry from washer to dryer, putting away some dishes, putting up his laundry) or fun stuff. If he insists on whining then I just ignore it. It took a day or two when it got out of hand. But it does get better.

And I had horrid morning sickness and a lot of discomfort this last pregnancy, too. It happens. No shame in using the tv. It's survival when you are having a rough pregnancy while caring for an active preschooler.

I could have written this exactly. This is what we do also.

There are some night were I am exhausted from being up with the baby and working all day that it takes all my energy just to stay awake. DH works nights so it is just me after school, and the older kids get more TV/computer time.

The first few times were rough but now they have learned that TV is a privileged activity and 9 times out of 10 they have to "earn" TV time.

At least for us--during the winter they watch more TV. It has been too cold for me to take the baby out (newborn). I am sooo ready for warmer weather. and so are my kids.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

Definitely bored. Unplug the TV. If he asks, the answer is NO. Go color. Go play legos. Go outside in the back yard. Get a book and I'll read to you. Make a tower with the blocks.

You are just going to have to say no and mean it.

The only time my kiddos get to watch tv is from 1-3 during rest time. We curl up in my bed and watch a movie as a rest.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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Agree with all of the previous posts. But what about setting up some playdates with other kids his age, so he isn't so bored? My almost 5 yo son says he's bored a lot as well, and he has a brother to play with while I deal with my youngest baby. I find that trying to stay positive, and taking specific time to sit with just him and play (trying to do this with each kiddo a few times a week after Dh gets home) helps us out. I think a kid that old having a baby take his attention away feels the effects more than one younger, kwim? More structure to a tv-less day helps too. I am home all week with my guys, they have preschool in the am some days of the week, when I try to get my stuff done with just the baby around. They come home, eat lunch and then I try to do something fun and interactive each afternoon. Try to say yes more when he asks you to do stuff with him. We don't watch tv most days at all, but Dh let's them a lot when he is home while I work on the weekends despite me not liking it unless youre homeschooling think next fall he will be in kindergarten, this is the last time you get to spend most of your days with him.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

I suspect he's bored and needs something to do that expends a bit more energy. Does he have any siblings other than the baby?

First thought, every chance that the weather cooperates, ship him outside. Running around outside solves lots of the whining and antagonizing.

Second, if the weather is not cooperating, head over to some indoor place areas. McDonalds play place, Chuck E Cheese, Bounce Zone, etc etc. My local laundromat has a climbing structure for kids, and it's busy enough that they would never know who was actually using the laundry or not. At McDonalds or Chuck E Cheese, you don't have to buy food, you can just get a drink and sit and let him run around. We go once a week and last week, my 4 yr old who has no other siblings close in age was taught how to play hide and seek last week lol. Not by me

Third, get to know some neighbors or other moms with kids his age to get him playing with other kids. IMO, playing alone is kinda boring. If he doesn't have any other siblings to play with, I can see why he doesn't want to play with his toys.

And finally, if you can swing it, see about some sort of preschool or activity class at the Y or other rec center, to get him some additional activity that might even give you a break. To me, preschool for 4 yr olds isn't about learning much of anything, it's just about hanging out with other kids.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #10
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Re: Ack! Need advice re 4yro and too much TV!

I agree with the playdate idea. It sounds like more work to have another energetic kid over but it's usually actually less work.

My dd1 was bored all the time but dd2 never is because she has a built in playmate.

I would give notice the day before the changes happen. He'll have a fit for sure but he'll do better when it actually happens if he knows it's going to.

In your situation I would have done the same thing. The tv can be a lifesaver when you just in no position to parent.
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