Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Stove Timer Helps a Toddler TV Addict

Recently, though I am ashamed to admit it, my son has become a television addict. Don't be alarmed, he's not watching Law and Order SVU or anything like that. He's into two shows in particular: Blue's Clues and Yo Gabba Gabba, which he calls "Cuckoo's!" and "Bugga Bugga," respectively.

Today I tried an experiment. At the suggestion of my sister-in-law, Rosa, I set the timer on the stove for thirty minutes.

I can't even show him the picture above because he will go bonkers.

Anyway, as tempting as it is to let him watch just "one more episode," I had to draw the line somewhere. After one episode of Blue's Clues, the timer hadn't gone off yet, so I let him replay the episode for the remaining 8 minutes we had left on the stove timer.

When the timer beeped, I shut the TV off. All hell broke loose. If you looked up the word "tantrum" in the dictionary, along with the definition, you might see this:

It was intense. I decided to try to ignore the tantrum. I said to Ari:
"I'll be back when you're done." As I left the room he was screaming "Cuckoo's! Cuckoo's!!!!" Demanding to watch Blue's Clues.

I waited an unbearable two minutes listening to him screaming in the next room. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I re-entered the living room with him still screaming. After several futile attempts to get him to draw with me, he eventually accepted my offer of a glass of orange juice. Meanwhile I created several masterpieces by my lonesome:

He drank the orange juice quickly, because he was terribly thirsty from screaming, I would imagine. Then he began to scream some more "Cuckoo's!!!"

I was running out of ideas, and needed a solution before my head exploded. I was ready to throw in the proverbial television towel and turn on another episode of "Cuckoo's." But I didn't.

I don't know what came over me but I found a ball, and ran down our abnormally long hallway with it. To my surprise, my screaming child stopped screaming and started LAUGHING. Then he followed me! And we started to play ball!

I couldn't believe it. He forgot all about his precious Blue's Clues! We played ball, I tickled him, turned him upside bunch of times, we drew, and it was all okay! Wow, I'm tired.

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  1. I hear that's the key, distraction!

  2. Distraction does work, but I think it depends on the mood, the individual kid and the tantrum at hand. I mean, I was going nuts tonight. Nothing was working, distraction, ignoring it, nothing. But I kept persevering and finally something worked. Thank G-d, because I was about to give up and turn on the crack-box (TV).

  3. We just don't turn the tv on until after 4. So far, that is working for us. Tater is still a little young to care much about it.

  4. Please keep it that way! It's such a hard habit to break!

  5. OH MY GOD!!!!! THE EXACT SAME THING IS HAPPENING HERE!! Ok, really at my Mother in laws, because we don't watch TV. For Z, its "Max and Ruby". Every other word out of her mouth is "Max", "Ruby" and "Bunnies". ARG!!! She FLIPS OUT even if its been on for an hour. Of course my MIL feels badly so she lets her watch but I try to avoid it all together. Why remind them? I just say bunnies are sleeping and NO. But I was planning on video taping her watching it on youtube, just to show the tantrum when it ends. Its freaking brutal! She also zones out when its on. I feel your pain!!!

    Also yes distraction has its times...I can be good at it but they remember, they are smart! It just takes time, time for them to get bored of screaming!

  6. Basically, yes! Time to get bored of screaming. I think that's what happened. He was just screaming and screaming "Cuckoo's!" over and over again, and eventually, he wore himself out. He is passed out on the couch now.

    I am so glad it's not just me!!! Wil let's him watch "Max and Ruby."

    Damn TV!!! It's so addictive to the kidlets!

  7. Help! Glad it all worked out. Almost -two -year -olds have the most powerful lungs and flailing bodies.

  8. This story has inspired me.
    I think I will use a timer when I watch TV. (Maybe I will even play ball with Grandma!)



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