Friday, September 27, 2013

Taming the Television {Life With Toddler} + Toddler Link-Up!

Photo Credit

Over the last four months I've noticed some distinct changes in my little girl's behavior. Temper tantrums come more quickly and frequently, oftentimes leaving me at a loss on how to respond. I'm trying to be patient, give S plenty of attention, and to meet all of her needs... yet she can be happy for one minute, only to have a major melt down in the next.

Several things have happened within this window of time. First, she turned two. They aren't called the terrible twos for nothing! So maybe it is an age and stage issue?

Second, I went on bed rest, my mother came to live with us, and we had another baby. Perhaps her new attitude is a result of her entire world going topsy-turvy, with new routines, less mommy-time, and big changes at home?

Third, coinciding with my bed rest, S's t.v. time increased exponentially. I've noticed that as soon as we turn off the screen, a tantrum is bound to occur. She just doesn't want to stop watching once she's started. Scary!

So we have a combination of possible causes for her new tantrum tendency. Ultimately, I know that it is because S is a sinner, with an inclination towards wanting her own way at all costs. Still, I want to curtail them as much as possible, so I'm turning my eye to the possible contributors that I can control {as well as seeking the Lord in prayer for His wisdom, a whole lot more!}. 

The television can be an extremely useful parenting tool. When I just need to get a shower and my husband has already left for work, Netflix keeps S happily occupied. When S wakes up from her nap, but I'm still drowsy and not ready to be done with mine {remember folks, I have a newborn}, a few episodes of Little Bill gives me the chance to snuggle her and wake up slowly. Because I was able to rest for those extra minutes, I have more energy for the last {and hardest} part of the day.

I would also argue, however, that television can be one of our biggest parental stumbling blocks. Once I start sticking my kid in front of a screen, I am far more likely to keep her there. It's a slippery slope. Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had- sometimes it is just easier to turn on the tube. I can relax, put my feet up... or maybe finally get caught up on my to do list.

Before I know it, the day is over, and my daughter hasn't played outside, colored pictures, read books with me or had unstructured, creative play time. Childhood is much too short, and far too important, to be spent entirely in front of a screen.

What's the balance?

I have no idea.

I'm trying to avoid it as much as possible. I'm trying to make sure we cross off our list of important childhood activities each day before turning it on {get outside. read. play. dance. color.}. I'm also trying to give myself grace when I really need that shower or a little bit of extra rest because my night was just too short. I'm trying to observe my daughter's behavior before and after t.v. time, so that I can adjust our use of it as necessary.

How do you structure t.v. time at your place? Have you observed any changes in your children's attitudes as a result of screen time? 


Don't miss the other posts in this series!

Introduction
Cleaning Up with Your Toddler
Family Worship
Home Education 
Housework with Helpers

Now it's time to link-up, toddler mamas! What have you learned as the mother of little ones? How do you train, nurture, and engage your toddler? What does a typical day in your life look like? Any and all posts related to toddler-dom are welcome. Please feel free to share as many posts as you'd like. And please share a text link back to here so that other moms can join in on the fun! 



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