how to tell if your child is watching too much T.V.
Four years ago, when I was a first time mom, I didn’t want to allow my children to watch television until they were at least two-years-old, and even then, I wanted it to be a limited amount of time. Then, I became pregnant with twins when Theo was only 18-months-old and I was so exhausted that I didn’t have the capacity to handle entertain him all day long. I started to let him watch limited amounts of educational shows and realized that T.V. can actually be beneficial when it’s not in excessive amounts. I did wonder how to tell if your child is watching too much T.V. 3-years later, and I think I can finally answer that question!
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They Throw Fits or Complain When the T.V. Goes Off
This is one sign that your child is watching too much television. When it’s time to turn the T.V. off, my kids know that I expect to hear “yes mommy” or a polite request to watch a few more minutes. If they ask me nicely and we don’t have anything pressing to get to, I usually agree to five more minutes.
I know it can be hard for children to transition if they’re in the middle of a show. Heck, if someone turned the T.V. off when I was in the middle of watching something, I’d be mad! I try to always tell my kids how much time they are allowed. If they start a movie and we don’t have time to finish it, I make sure they know in the beginning.
It can also be beneficial to set a timer and let them know that the T.V. goes off when the timer beeps!
We have T.V. time at the same time every day, in the morning, after independent play time. It doesn’t happen every day though.
They Are Bored or Aimless
Television can be crippling when children watch too much of it because it is so stimulating. Books, imaginative play, outdoor play, and other activities lack the lights and sounds of television. When children have too much screen time, it is evident when they are unable to entertain themselves otherwise. My kids have independent play time almost every day of the week and it allows them to be creative with their toys.
We recently spent 2 days in the car on a road trip, and my kids watched T.V. basically for the entire time. When we got back home I knew we needed to do a detox because everyone had such bad attitudes! They kept asking to watch T.V. and Theo even told me he had no toys to play with so he had to watch T.V. Insert eye roll. After only a few days of no T.V. everyone was back to normal.
They Have an Attitude Problem
I haven’t figured out why this is, but I’ve noticed that when my kids watch too much T.V., they become very sassy. I’ve spoken with several of my friends who have the same problem with their children. When we moved to a different state and lived in a rental house for a month, we had no routine and most of our stuff was in storage. We watched a lot of T.V. By the time we moved into our house, my kids were so whiny! I knew that excessive television was the cause. To help Theo (who was 3 at the time) snap out of it, I did behavior bootcamp with him. Josie and Margo (who were 1 at the time) just had a T.V. detox and that helped them get back to their cheerful selves.
Is Your Child Watching Too Much T.V.?
I think that television in moderation is perfectly fine and the amount that is OK varies by personality. Theo is sensitive, and easily overstimulated, so he can’t handle as much T.V. as his sisters who are two years younger.
If you’re going through something right now and your kids are watching too much T.V., don’t feel guilty! We all go through seasons; pregnancy, newborn days, sickness, etc., can cause us to throw on the T.V. a bit too much just to survive. It’s OK to go through these seasons (this is a great post about that)! Acknowledge that it’s a season, and when you have the capacity, break that cycle.
You got this, mama!
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