I usually get home around 6pm after picking up my daughter from preschool or the babysitters. Claire and I usually arrive home ravenous. Well…I am mostly ravenous. Claire gets a snack right before I pick her up. Lucky.
As soon as we walk into the house Claire clearly wants to chill out after being stimulated all day at school. I want to chill as well but I need to feed the dog, stupid cat and get dinner going before my beautiful bride gets home. In the craziness of this getting-home-transition I find that sitting Claire in front of the TV for an episode or two of Dora, Wonder Pets, or Caillou is absolutely essential to my sanity.
I really struggle with this.
Long before Claire came around I read that TV exposure at a young age wasn’t a good idea. “Make sure your child is older than 2” I heard from different sources as the “allowable” TV viewing age. Although Claire is 3 years old I still feel guilty for popping her in front of the TV for 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time. The worst part is watching Claire as she sits glued to the TV screen. Claire goes into this sort of coma/stupor that can only be broken by pausing the show, or standing directly in front of her. Its really creepy how sucked in she gets.
My wife and I have tried getting her to read, or go to her room and play with toys, but that usually last for 5 minutes and then she wants us to play with her or take her outside. I have tried getting her to help me with making dinner, which works for about 5 minutes, and then she complains that she wants to do something else. The only thing that I have found to keep her focus for at least 30 minutes is TV. I feel pretty selfish doing this but honestly I need that window of time to make those essential things like eating dinner a reality.
Claire watching TV has now become a daily routine and I don’t like it at all. Anyone have any suggestions that could get me those 30 – 45 minutes needed for dinner, etc? This dad could use all the help he can get.
Does drawing hold her attention?
Some but not a whole lot.
We’ve all done it Leo. And I would say my kids turned out to be pretty amazing, talented, totally well-rounded adults with many, varied interests and activities who in total spend very little time in front of a television. Don’t feel guilty about it as long as it’s limited, and followed by shared play time, story time, bedtime routines etc. From the perspective of retirement age, I would now say, the more you can involve Claire and future children in helping to select, wash, chop and prepare fresh ingredients for meals, in cooking and preparing healthy dishes, all the better. It should be part of family life – something we all do together, preferably with good music playing to help things along! Maybe play some of her favourite songs to wash vegetables to, set the table to, etc. and make it a game, even dancing while you do it. I know, sounds exhausting when you come home tired at the end of a long, intensive day. But I know you of all men, can find the strength to do this and find joy in it! I know you are an amazing father and husband! Keep up the great work. It’s true you only get this one chance, but still, don’t sweat the small stuff. Alternatively, you could always ditch the TV subscription completely! We have, but of course there’s always netflix and DVD’s. Love to you all!
Thanks for the input and kind words