Author Topic: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV  (Read 5087 times)

homeymomma

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Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« on: June 16, 2015, 10:56:46 AM »
hey everyone- hoping for some good suggestions or words of wisdom. I'm a young mom to two young kids (almost 3 and 7 months). I always intend to cut back on screen time (no cable, but we watch a lot of Netflix) but the TV always ends up on for some reason. In the morning it's so I can feed the baby and get him napping without the two year old climbing all over us. In the afternoon it's because it's my "veg" time while the kids nap. In the evening it's because my husband is home and we enjoy watching food network shows while we cook and eat dinner. (TV is his major destressor)
I've thought about just unplugging it and putting it in the basement for a while, but I think my husband would be really upset. Short of that, I'm not sure how to reduce our usage consistently.
I'll be really conscientious and not have it on at all for a couple days, but then we end up right back in the same pattern.
Anyone pulled the plug entirely? Have you found it easy or did you eventually go back to it?

Ha I'm also writing this from my iPad, which I'm even more attached to than the TV. Going without both seems impossible!

Are drastic measures required here?

OttoVonBisquick

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2015, 11:05:50 AM »
I am almost entirely not qualified to respond on all fronts (not a mom to energetic kids, single with no responsibility for others yet), but I never watch TV.

There is one question that I think ought to be clarified before anyone offers advice. What is your primary motivation for wanting less TV time? Family engagement? Lower cost via not buying cable? Want to avoid the possible mental/physical negatives associated with TV usage?

homeymomma

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2015, 11:10:17 AM »
There is one question that I think ought to be clarified before anyone offers advice. What is your primary motivation for wanting less TV time? Family engagement? Lower cost via not buying cable? Want to avoid the possible mental/physical negatives associated with TV usage?

We don't pay for cable now, just our $8/mo Netflix :). So, yeah, better/more focused family time, decrease harmful effects of it for the kids, increase creativity during downtime, all that good stuff.

humbleMouse

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 11:35:28 AM »
In my experience, when you have a TV in a living space, it gets watched/used all the time.  The only way to not have it get used all the time is to get rid of it completely.  Like watching movies?  Then I suggest getting a projector, and only using the projector when you want to watch a movie.

Daley

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 11:38:42 AM »
All I can do is recommend the same two books I recommend in the guide to read to learn about the habit:

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander

The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn

Here's a few minor internet links to fall down the rabbit hole on regarding personal health, as well:

http://archives1.research.msu.edu/stories/multiple-media-use-tied-depression-anxiety
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/tech/mobile/oms-smartphones-boredom/index.html
https://justgetflux.com/research.html

Frequently, education about the problems help make choices and change easier... but the bottom line is there's at least some level of honest to goodness addiction capable with the stuff, and cold turkey doesn't work for everyone when feel-good chemicals are involved.

swick

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 11:48:59 AM »
We don't pay for cable now, just our $8/mo Netflix :). So, yeah, better/more focused family time, decrease harmful effects of it for the kids, increase creativity during downtime, all that good stuff.

The main problem I see is the using of the TV as a babysitter while you are trying to juggle feeding the baby. There is boat loads of research that it TV is detrimental to developing brains, and that doesn't include all the marketing messages aimed at kids.

Is there a way you can make "Feeding Baby Time" a special time for your two year old? Maybe it is a special quite time activity he/she can do beside you that he only gets to do at that time? If your two year old goes down around the same time, you could have him change in to his Pajamas and you could tell him a special story or an ongoing story as a way to wind down before nap.

It is definitely more challenging since they are so young and so close in age, but I bet you could come up with some great ideas!

As far as watching TV when the kids are napping, why not use that time consciously to engage in some self-care? Have a nice relaxing bath or shower, work on a hobby or something you are passionate about but never have time for. Make yourself a cup of your favorite beverage and just enjoy the stillness, spend a few minutes doing some yoga or deep breathing. If you are refreshed and renewed when your kids wake up, things will seem easier to deal with and you will be more present for yourself and your family.

If you can reduce the TV watching those times you will have cut your usage by 1/3 :)


Candace

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 11:53:42 AM »
Well, you can't control what will upset your husband, so it sounds like the TV will not be put away in a closet.

Therefore, you have the choice to control your use of the TV to distract your toddler while you feed your infant, and the choice to control what you do for your own "veg" time.

I would suggest starting with yourself, because you have more control that way. Perhaps find something else to do to in your down time, as the post above suggested. At first, allow yourself to keep using the TV to distract your toddler, because, well, one change at a time. Then when you get used to that, figure out a way to keep your toddler from interfering with feeding your younger one without the TV. What did parents do before TV?

When it comes down to it, it's going to take a deliberate act of will for a while, until the new habits are ingrained. Perhaps look at it as a way of taking control back from the TV advertisers who make TV addicting in the first place. Are you going to do what *they* want, or do what *you* want? Sometimes I use a similar train of thought when deciding not to eat crappy food made by Big Food companies. I think there are a few parallels. Good luck.

bord

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 01:56:25 PM »
Everything is easier when you have both parents on board. What about an agreement between the parents that the TV doesn't go on until the kids are in bed? We have a 5, 3 and 3 month old and the television only goes on in the house after kid bedtime or for special occasions. Total TV time in our house is 2 hours/week max, not because we are strict or depriving ourselves but because it is no longer interesting to us.
Kids will adapt to whatever is presented to them, including time without mom's full attention or the idiot box to divert them from doing something creative. It will take time for them to get used to it but your kids will be forever better for it. No kid, parent or family ever became more awesome because of time spent in front of passive entertainment.

Noodle

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 04:52:26 PM »
I agree...start with yourself as the easiest place to make changes. What do you need out of that downtime (maybe it's a nap!)?If you are watching the screen because you're tired out from the babies, pick something easy to replace it...fun books or magazines from the library, or closing your eyes and listening to podcasts, etc, not trying to read the great classics. Physically changing the space might help...go in the bedroom for rest time. In fact, training everyone that there is quiet time in the afternoon, even after the toddler grows out of naps, is a good family habit to get into. My mom enforced it even when we were elementary school kids home for the summer.

For the toddler, it might depend on his personality. If he is an easy-going kid, I would try to build a new habit like blocks or trains during feeding time...a toy that only comes out then isn't a bad idea. If it's going to turn into a battle, I might wait until the family routine evolves naturally. if your younger one is 7mo, it won't be that long until you transition into solid food in the high chair (I assume from your description you are talking about bottle/breast at the moment) and the kids are eating on a more similar schedule, then just make sure the TV doesn't become part of the new routine.

Since your husband gets a vote on evening TV, I would just have a conversation with him. I wouldn't even present a solution right away...just tell him your concern and ask what HE thinks you should do about it.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 06:56:31 PM »
I agree with the person who suggested starting with naptime. You can relax without vegging! Find a replacement for that one thing, like reading (if you're not a big reader, maybe try a graphic novel--there are great ones about pretty much everything and you would still have something to look at :-) )or some creative outlet. (Writing? Sewing?) Then go from there.

We used to watch too much TV in the mornings when I was feeding my baby, too. But then baby got older and we just all sat down to breakfast, so the am might be a self-solving problem!


homeymomma

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 07:19:30 PM »
thank you all so much for the ideas! I have tried in the past to get my older one doing play dough (a special treat for her) during the morning nursing session. I'll try to get in that habit again. And the afternoons are difficult because my son will only nap in my arms (this is true all day, actually... he just kind of never sleeps during the day :( ) but I switched to reading today and felt pretty good afterward so hopefully I'll keep that going, too. The more I think about it, the more I think we may need to just shut it away for a month or so... just to solidify some better habits. It's so easy to slip back just once... then again and again. I'm even wondering if I should shut away my iPad simultaneously for good measure! (ak)

StockBeard

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 08:10:14 PM »
Have you tried music instead of the TV?
I'd suggest working on a hobby for which you have lots of passion, but with two kids I assume there are many times your hands aren't even free. In those circumstances, trying to get time to work on your passion can easily become frustrating (father of two young kids speaking here).

Radio/music would be relaxing while not being a "screen" so you still have room for your own thoughts. But keep watching it when your husband is around I guess.

(Re: your son only accepting to sleep in your arms. Ours was exactly the same. Nap time was not super relaxing because of that, got sore muscles pretty much all the time...)

Greg

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2015, 10:11:13 AM »
Try to get your hubby on board with a break, say a few weeks of no tv, by pointing out that with netflix, the content will still be there after a few weeks.  If you have a spare room or den, or even a small alcove you can put the screen in to remove it from the other activity areas, do that. 

Our screen (just a TV with a DVD player) is in a 10x10 room that is also a guest room, or a quiet place for knitting and so forth.  We only use it for movies and tape/disc shows.  No cable where we are.  Instead we often use our laptops for watching things on Hulu.  So in that way screen time is still a problem.

If you do reduce or eliminate your screen time, you may find you start to get more done.  While many people can "watch" tv while doing other things, many people can't and end up just sitting there taking it in.  With all the things I do, I can't imagine having time to do that.  I grew up with tv but pretty much gave it up around '96 or so.

Some people like the tv for the background noise.  If this is you, try the radio instead.  I "listen" to NPR all the time, but it's often just on in the background or something to listen to while doing tedous work in the shop or kitchen.  We don't have tv or radio in the bedroom.

Good luck.

Insanity

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 05:59:51 AM »
I would love to follow and hear how this goes.  We watch way too much TV just to have it on.  I don't have much of issue f having the TV on to watch sports (I DVR them and watch them in about 1/3 the time), but my wife and I have struggled with this.

Our oldest doesn't watch much, even when it is on.  She loves to read.   

My wife on the other hand loves it.  I tried a 1 week without and she felt like I was controlling her.  Then I tried a two week shut off at 10:30, and she refuses to follow through. It is her destresser and she is a highly stressed individual.  Especially when both kids are home or sick.

Good luck!

catccc

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Re: Feeling addicted: Watching too much TV
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 08:57:14 AM »
I have two kids that are now 4 and 6, but they are about 2.5 years apart, like yours.  Luckily, we never really watched much TV and I was quite adamant about our kids growing up pretty screen-free.  It's so much easier to to not start than to stop some things.  Now that they are both older, we pull out the TV about once a month for a family movie night.  They don't get to play with our phones, laptops, or tablets.  Instead they play with toys and read books, but that's all they've ever known. 

DH and I watch TV probably most evenings on our laptop, after the kids are in bed.  In a week we probably watch a total of  5-6 hours.  So this is a relatively low level of TV time, but we are trying to stop that, actually.  And it is kinda hard!

I would suggest first getting yourself away from it during naptimes, like others have suggested.  (I always felt like I had chores that need done during naptime, but if not I like to read.)

For the kids, if you have a good baby carrier that can help a lot.  I nursed on the go all the time when my youngest was born.  There was no other way to do it with a 2-3 year old running around.  I wore her a lot while she was nursing, and tried to get her in her crib for naps, which I was able to do most of the time.  Give your older kid something specific to do if you really need to be left alone with the baby.  It would really be a huge benefit to your toddler to have something enriching going on instead of being in front of the TV.  It truly is damaging for young brains. 

Since I still watch TV in the evenings with DH, I can't give much advice there.  We watch when we really should be in bed.  We both agree we watch too much.  We have gone through streaks where we try to watch only every other night, which has helped in the past, but I guess we fell away from that.  So maybe that's another method- only allow it on certain days.  I bet your toddler can understand that. "I think we watch too much TV and we should be doing other more fun things!  So from now on, we only watch TV on Tuesdays/Thursdays, and on MWF, I'll have another activity planned."

Another thought- a library is a nice place a 2-3 year old can stay busy and you can quietly nurse in a carrier.

Sorry this response isn't so well organized, but good luck!  Report back, I'm curious to see how things go for you.  I'll be trying on my end, too, to reduce TV in the evenings.  We should use that 5-7 hours for something better for us- sleep, sex, creativity, productivity... so many other things.  Also we have an ice cream habit that goes with the TV that should be dealt with...