Stories about: toddlers

How do I keep my toddler from throwing a tantrum when I turn off the DVD player?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston

Q: Each morning while I shower and get dressed, I let my two-year-old son watch 10-15 minutes of an innocuous video. This has worked well to keep him safe and still while I shower, but he pitches a fit every time I turn the movie off, despite the fact that we do this same routine every day and have discussed several times that movie watching is just for when Mommy is in the shower. This is the only transition in his routine that turns him into a screaming monster every single day. I don’t think it’s good for either of us, but I’m not sure what else would be as effective at keeping him safe while I’m in the shower. Any suggestions?

Showers and Storms, in Boston, MA

A: Dear Showers,

Based on how long your shower routine takes (10-15 minutes) and your son’s reaction to the video being turned off, my guess is that the shower and the video don’t finish at the same time. Toddlers have a hard time leaving a story unfinished, especially when the reason for doing so (in this case, how long it takes you to get ready) has nothing to do with them. And explaining to them that they have to fit to your schedule, as you’ve found, doesn’t really work.

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This week on Thrive: March 15 – 19

Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.

Children’s Michael Agus, MD kept us updated on his relief work in Haiti. There’s a better genetic test for autism. Children’s CEO, James Mandell, MD, discusses the cost of children’s care. Children’s is featured in two National Geographic documentaries – one on the Shang Dynasty and the other on rare medical conditions. A newborn’s hearing screening should not be ignored. Thrive blogger, Melissa, reports on disaster relief simulation training. Are iPhone apps okay for toddlers? How can kids respond to email chain letters?

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Can toddlers learn sign language by watching DVDs?

Michael RichMedia expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, answers your questions about media use. Last week, he discussed a report detailing just how much media kids are using.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: In your NPR Parents’ Journal interview, you stated that children under the age of 30 months do not learn anything about language from TV programs, but I disagree.  My 17-month-old daughter is not allowed to watch entertainment TV, but since she was 9 months old, she has watched a baby signing language DVD series about 3 times a week.  Now she knows about 80 signs (and about 60 spoken words), and learning sign language as a family has greatly enhanced our relationships because she can tell us what she needs without crying and throwing a tantrum. I feel strongly that the 1-2 hours of media exposure a week are making her toddlerhood much less frustrating and are worth whatever negative effects are possible. I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Serious about Signing, Baltimore, MD

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