Breaking the TV addiction I caused in my child?
Last year we had to stay in a hotel for a couple months. Because of the lack of things to do, Tv became the thing to do for my toddler. Here I am 8 months later and if I turn the TV off she throws a 2 or 3 hour tantrum (I'm on hour and a half now as I type this) She wants it on even if we are outside or inside coloring or playing with her toys. I've tried redirecting and bluntly telling her the tantrum isn't going to work (which she takes as a challenge). She's 3. How do I stop these tantrums over the TV?
Three hour tantrums are pretty serious - they should last like a few minutes at the most. So if you can, you might want to consult a pedatrician about that. I'm not a doctor but it seems like she finds the TV reassuring and doesn't feel quite right if it's not on - did the hotel TV mask stressful sounds like people fighting? Does she have a lack of stability in her life that is making her nervous?
In the short term, try covering up the television with something - make it subtle, so it blends into the room - and only unmasking it when it's TV time. But I don't know if that would work until you figure out what the real problem is and start to address it. Multihour tantrums really suggest there is a bigger problem somewhere.
Is the television a calming mechanism for her? If so, this habit will be difficult to break. The TV might have been a means of providing stability and consistency during tumultuous circumstances, and unfortunately a hotel does not typically provide a developing child with ample space to play and exercise outside. As long as she is not hurting herself during these tantrums, I would consider relocating her to her room or other "safe" space where she cry out her emotions in a structured manner. She should learn eventually that a tantrum equals zero television time. Also, as she gets older it will be important to replace the TV with other activities. I have heard of this before and consistency is absolutely imperative for any method that you choose to try and break this habitual behavior.
Wanting it on even when you're outside doesn't make much sense, but I'm not a three year old to who it probably does. I don't have kids and never knew any with this problem. Does she actually watch it when she's coloring or playing or only listening to it? If she's only listening, try replacing the TV being on with a radio or CDs of music for kids.
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