Monday, May 30, 2011

thoughts on tv: napless

We don't have a tv.  But, we do have two laptops and a little dvd player.  So, even though we don't watch "tv" and I abhor the thought of my kids zoning out in front of a screen, I am not going to lie.  I grew up watching lots of tv, I watched more  than my fair share of shows during our years of rabbit ears and 3 fuzzy channels and just last night, I zoned out in front of Hulu for a couple of hours catching up on 'The Office' and I'm already thinking about the latest 'Simpsons' episodes I've missed.

I'm not anti-tv, I promise.

I'm just anti-glassy eyed kids pitching fits for cartoons.  Or is my kid the only one who does that?

Now that Henry's favorite line is "I no need go night-night", the idea of Thomas and Hiro entertaining my noncompliant, whiny almost-3-year-old sounds real appealing most days.   Especially on the days when he insists that "Lulu, no need go night-night" and proceeds to do everything in his power to wake her up or even better, prevent her from taking a nap.

So far, my resolve has remained strong and shows are still not an event in our day.  It helps that I am running off a 10-year-old Mac that doesn't support streaming video and that Henry's irrational fear of Pete makes our only Mickey Mouse Clubhouse dvd not an option.  But the library is just 3 blocks away and there are plenty of Thomas the Train dvd's just waiting to be checked out.

So yeah, I think about the allure of letting Henry zone out in front of a non-violent cartoon on a regular basis.  But, in my dream world the video would end, I would say "okay, let's go play outside" and Henry will say "alrigh', Mama" and then we will play our little hearts away with no fuss and fights. 

Um, yeah.  That's not how it works with Henry though.  In reality, the video ends and he goes crazy for more trains, Elmo, whatever.  I'm pretty sure some people who have witnessed Henry's refusal to accept the end of a movie, blame his over-exuberance on the fact that screen-time is severely limited in his little life and maybe, if he had more exposure he would be willing to accept the end of the movie.

Nice in theory.  More shows = happier end of the shows.  But, I know my child and that's not the way Henry operates.  He always needs one more book read to him, one more minute at the park to play, one more pinch out of the brown sugar bag, one more block on our walk, one more, one more, one more.  You give the kid an inch, he takes 3 inches and then he needs at least 6 more inches to hold in his lap while you are left struggling with the reality of losing all your inches to a 24 pound little boy.  

So, we remain napless and showless.  

All I can say to that is.....thank goodness for country roads and money in the budget for gas.


Jude and Alisha said...

(You probably do this, but just in case...) Would he accept it better if you just let him pick one dvd from 2 or 3 and then stress that it's the only one and once it's over he can pick another activity (like have 2 or 3 to choose from before watching the movie)?

That way, before he watches the show he knows that he's going to be doing X when it's over.

But like you said, you know Henry. Maybe that still wouldn't work...

Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace said...

Did I write this post and you copied it from me? ;) I'm starting to think we're some kind of soul sisters. We are also not anti-TV, but very-very-little-TV-only-for-special-treats. We also deal with frustration when our one show is over. I started playing the role of mean mommy and telling my son that if he whined, he couldn't watch TV again next time (he earns it as a special reward) and when I made good on my threat, the whining stopped. For the most part. Sort of.
Anyway, I think that our minimal TV approach makes it very valuable leverage for us.... and we don't see the zombied-out kid starting at a screen very often. I hear begging to go outside or read books more than begging for TV, so that makes me feel good.

Good luck with that sleeping thing, too. We go through similar jags every couple of months. It's not a fun time.

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Alisha, I like your suggestion but maybe I am anti-tv.....the more I think about it and now that I wrote out my thoughts, I really don't want Hen watching shows during the day. I just want him to nap. Wah!

Amanda, if Henry watches one little 45 second clip on youtube in the morning, he whines and begs all day long. It's awful. I like your "for the most part. Sort of"!!!

Amanda said...

That's how our house is - no TV, just a DVD player for my son's Thomas and Bob DVDs. I'm lucky that I don't have much of a problem saying "okay, now let's do something else" and he does. BUT, I have used it as a crutch more than once. Dinner happens a lot more smoothly when Thomas can 'babysit' for a while. I'm only human. :)

Oh, and I know what you mean about the country roads and gas...that's about the only way I can get my ds to nap at all! EVER!

Mandi S. said...

Now, you know we don't do tv either, BUT this time last year when Tripp gave up his nap, the only way quiet time for him (and me) would work and last, was letting him watch a video...whatever he picked from our collection which I feel 100% fine about what he's watching (he is a big fan of the real life heavy machinery/trains/firetruck movies). If it was a short video, then he got to watch it for x amount of time via a timer. Once the time was up, then the video was off. Longer movies went for the duration, but most aren't longer than an hour or so anyways.

I slowly phased out the all-video quiet time and now he only occasionally asks to watch one. The TIMER is the all important key to a quiet time success. Also, I don't know if this would fit for Hen just yet, but "no time for flashcards" has several great ideas for a quiet time activity. I took her idea of having a few simple activities that Tripp can do w/o me and that would also take up a good 45-60 minutes of time...the idea being that once he finishes xyz, then quiet time is finished.

The no nap may help ease the bedtime struggle even if your not ready for his napping to be over. Quiet time that is regular and just as consistent in his routine as nap was is ESSENTIAL for mama and kiddo.