Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


TV for Babies?

Yesterday (3/30/15) the Wall Street Journal reported on a new TV channel just for babies called BabyFirst.  According to the article, “It’s Really Here: TV for 6-Month-Olds” BabyFirst reaches 50 million households.  Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO TV for children under the age of two, this is apparently not the trend.  The article stated that children 2-4 years old average about 34 HOURS of screen PER WEEK.  Yikes!  It’s not like we’re missing the recommended target (zero screen time) a little bit.  We are way off.  That’s more than a day and a half each week or 73 1/2 days a year!

Interestingly, I read this article right finishing a two-week experiment.  I recorded the number of hours my toddler (3 years old) and I spent in nature and the number of hours of his screen time.  I did this mainly because his temper tantrum rate had increased to about 1 tantrum a day, lasting well over an hour.  I was unsure what to do so I prescribed some nature therapy.  What I found was that the more time we spent in nature and away from any screens, the less tantrums.  Now I admit that there could be many other variables involved, such as not feeling well, travel, food, sleep, weather.  Although I can’t conclusively prove it, I sure seems like more nature and less screen time has significantly reduced tantrums.  I was so happy and inspired by the result that we weaned off of screen time almost completely.  He still watches some TV here and there, such as March Madness with his Dad, but it is SO much easier to just say no – no screen time.  Otherwise, I completely lose track and without even knowing it screen time slowly increases until it’s out of control.  If, however, the idea of NO TV or screen time seems too extreme then you could still keeping a chart and track screen time.  Post it on the refrigerator and try for some time with nature.

My heart goes out to parents and I know all about the TV temptation.  My favorite screen time is at a restaurant when my toddler finishes his food in about 5 minutes.  If I hand him my iphone and he becomes engrossed in YouTube or games, my husband and I can almost have a real conversation.  It’s almost like a date!  But at what cost?  The last time we went out to eat I resisted pulling out my phone and we survived just fine.  We talked more with our toddler and did not stay as long but I think it was worth it.  And there were no tantrums.

How do you limit screen time?  Is screen time out of control?  What do you think about the new TV channel for babies?


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Pictures of Spring – Nature Walks

Are you starting to see signs of Spring?  With the warm weather, the boys (4 months and 3 years) and I have been taking nature walks.  I like to think of it as nature therapy.  Nature according to my definition does not include playgrounds or backyards, although those are nice and fun too.  My requirement for a nature walk is that it does not include anything man-made as much as possible.  I prefer a trail through the woods.  It’s almost magical.  After the first 30 minutes, my toddler stops asking about other things and seems to become aware of the environment.  During the next 1/2 hour, he lets loose and runs or frolics.  During the second hour, he becomes absorbed in nature, oblivious to time and me.  He’s relaxed, energized and very, very happy.  It’s difficult to describe and yes, we take 2 hour walks.  I put the little one in the Moby Wrap and off we go.  Sometimes we get lost.  These have been my favorite hours of the day and week.  There is something magical about nature and SPRING!

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Toddler and New Baby Time

Playing with my toddler AND new baby (2 months) is a new challenge for me.  How do you juggle playing with both kids?  Did you experience sibling rivalry?  A jealous toddler while you nurse?  Guilt leaving the baby crying while you tend to the toddler (I’m thinking about potty training in particular!) or visa versa (just more guilt)?

These are all things I’m working through and here are a few things I’ve learned so far.  My toddler wants to help but he’s genuinely not sure what to do with a baby.  So I ask my toddler lots of questions about how the baby is doing.  Is he happy?  Is he crying?  Hungry?  This seems to help my toddler interact and be a part of the mommy-baby situation.  My toddler now likes to report the new baby’s behavior, especially in the car when I can’t see him.  My toddler also likes to help by getting things for me such as a diaper or water.  In the pictures below you can see that my toddler also likes to mimic what I’m doing and take care of “his” baby, who he named Isaac.  Since he likes to do everything himself, he can practice doing all the things I do with our little one.  This way if he asks to do something to help that maybe is not appropriate yet, I’ll ask him to do it with his baby!

What are your toddler/new baby tricks?  How do you handle both together?

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