Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Successful story

       Today, as I was chatting with this mom I spoke about earlier, the one who explained to her little boy how watching TV make your brain all mushy, I end up giving her more tools to succeed.
She is so happy with the big change in her life since her boy stopped watching TV. She was telling me that he even started to be doing more independent playing.

       Unhappily, not everyone understand her choice and some parents can even have some surprising reaction. So here is what happen to her as she was invited to one her friend house. She had told her friends about her choice to turn TV off and how happy she was feeling that it actually works so well and that her son does not ask for TV anymore. But when she arrived at the house of her friend, this one turned to her son and say with a big smile and an enthusiastic tone "Hey Brian, do you know what? TV is on!"

      She was certainly chocked by such a reaction and turned to her friend to ask her why the first thing she was telling her son was something about TV as she knew what she was doing about it at home. The friend answered that she "just wanted him to feel comfortable"

       Well, she recognized that this mom is putting her son a lot in front of TV. So she did not talk about it anymore but felt annoyed. I was not surprised as I've been there and I saw those reactions. The fact is that parents who use TV and particularly those who use it a lot (as the cheaper babysitter in the world) hate those who actually had the courage to turn it off. Somewhere, they always feel some guilt about leaving their children watch television and they tried to justify this many ways, one of them being exposing your child to more TV...

       Anyway, I had to explain to her how to protect herself and her son from those situations. Being consistent is the key and for that, she needed to have a discussion with her son before visiting friends. First make it clear with him about her choice, remind him that TV is not good for him because it makes her brain mushy. Then explain to him that some people do not really care about it and continue to watch TV, and that, even if she disagrees with their choice, she cannot impose hers to them. So she could just tell him that she will really appreciate if he avoids the TV when it is on in other people house as much as possible, may be by going to play in an other room. And that he could eventually even explain to them that it is a lot more fun to play with his friend than watching TV.

       What is really important is to make clear with him where you stand so he will not get confused by mixed messages. For example, you cannot tell him that he cannot watch TV at home but that it is ok to watch it at a friend house, this would be really confusing and even more with a friend reacting like the one in this case. So it is really important to make him feel the difference between your home, your choice and others. This way, he will know where to stand.

       Speaking about playing more independently, I also had another advise that I had forgot to share: to borrow audio-books from the library. Children love when their parents read them a book or tell them stories. But it is not always possible for parents to read to them as they need to have time on their own. Well, here come the magic of audio-books. Give them some toys or paper and crayons to draw and put a story on.You may be really surprised by how quiet and relax your little one will be and how much free time you will get.

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