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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Toddler Tricks - 73: Shut It Off

Problem: The TV is on. Again. You needed to make breakfast or dinner and switched it on for the children. And then never switched it off. Or they asked for it specifically after nap, and watched it for ten minutes then wandered off, but they don't want you to shut it off. Or they're still watching it. They'll watch it for hours. Whatever kind of television-watching toddler you have, you, as the parent, feel like the TV is on just too much.

Solution: Shut it off. But not like you think. This, like everything, requires slight manipulation of the situation. The toddlers need to feel like they are in control. So, if they ask you to turn the television on, try to guide them  in a different direction, but if they're set on it (and asking politely, of course), go ahead and turn it on. Either set a time (if you've got an actual watcher), or wait five minutes when your kids will be distracted by any of the other wonderful things in your living room and shut it off again. If they protest, take part in whatever game they were playing before you shut it off. If they insist, turn it on again, but in another few minutes shut it off.

This might seem odd, but in my house, it's a result of a parenting mistake I made long ago. I turned the TV on to make breakfast, and left it on because my kids weren't watching it, so I figured it wasn't harming anything. But they got used to having it on in the background, and the truth is, I don't really like the television on. I don't like the sound of it. It's distracting and unnecessary. But, they're so used to hearing it in the background that they railed against my off position. So I've been doing it this way to prove to their subconsciouses that they don't need the mindless drabble in the background, and it's been working.

They feel like they have some control, and television stays in its place (instead of being put on a pedestal along with other things Mom says they can't do), and they come to realize they don't really want or need the TV anyway. I mean, they're just running around ignoring it anyway, and Kung Fu Panda isn't on for me.


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  1. great advice! we are actually just not even turning the tv on for our kid until she's closer to 2. instead we're playing music in the background or letting her very loud toys take care of the noise. but we haven't entered toddler land yet.

  2. Thanks for announcement this advisory article.



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