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I am personally very strict with my daughter (2.5 years old). After she comes home from kindergarten, she sleeps and after she wakes up, my wife lets her watch TV.

Anytime I am home, I don't allow watching too much TV, because I know it is bad. I would rather have my daughter want to go out with me: visiting her grandparents, her aunt, friends, or just going to the playground.

But since she has developed the habit of watching TV, she doesn't have the zest to do any activities beside it.

I constantly try to persuade my wife that watching TV is actually bad for our daughter. But she insists that even toddlers need downtime after kindergarten. Which is TV. But I am afraid that whenever I am not home, she is watching too much.

Recently every time I am home, my daughter doesn't like me anymore because she knows I take away the TV or iPad when I believe that she has watched enough. That makes me the bad one. And I wonder if I just should let my toddler watch whatever she wants, or keep trying to persuade my wife to restrict her screen time. Unfortunately, I believe my wife will expand screen time behind my back, because she does not believe that toddlers that age should be restricted in anything that makes them happy.

Any advice for future actions?

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    Just as a thought exercise, if your wife were to write a post about this topic, what do you think she would write? Is there any amount of TV that you would find acceptable, perhaps you guys can agree on a reasonable amount, or at least an amount you will both agree is not detrimental. Also, while I get the daughter being disappointed at having a source of entertainment taken away, I think it's usually not terribly hard to get them interested in something else if you find what they want to do instead of trying to get them to do what you want to do. – Eric Renouf Sep 8 '15 at 1:09
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    I don't think this is a parenting problem - this is a relationship problem. – Erik Sep 8 '15 at 8:22
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    @Erik: It is a relationship problem strongly related to parenting — i.e., this couple would not have a conflict over screen time for toddlers if they didn't have a toddler. Per Meta, this is generally accepted as on-topic, especially since consistent rules are fairly important for children. – Acire Sep 8 '15 at 12:07
  • I agree with @Erik. Why cannot they decide between themselves. I got a feeling if it was not the TV/toddler it would be something else. – Ed Heal Sep 8 '15 at 18:36
  • Not solving your relationship issues, but discussing the impact on too much TV on children: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/20033/… Please note also the link in the comments section – Stephie Sep 9 '15 at 5:51
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I won't address the you-vs-your-wife TV time problem. I think it's out of scope here on parenting. I'll try to focus on the "less tv" aspect of your question.

You should focus her attention on other activities than TV. Watching TV is easy, both for a parent and the kid, I know. But "harder" activities may be more rewarding and most likely are more beneficial for your child and the relationship you have with her.

When you are home, you can try to "trick" your daughter into doing other things than watching TV. It's very simple, really. It works perfectly with my 2yo daughter.

Start doing something she can help you with near her. Or do it in another room, but make sure she will hear you doing it and come to you out of curiosity. Or just shout at her and *come and see something".

What should you do? Everything works on my daughter (literally everything I or my wife do is interesting), but you may have to make a few attempts on your own. A few things my daughter enjoys:

  • Throw a small plastic toy to a container and stream water on it. Once there's some water in and the stream is appropriately strong, the toy will begin to roll and jump. My daughter laughs uncontrollably at it, don't know why.
  • Start "repairing" something. Your daughter's bike will work well. Take a screwriver and start tightening screws. She is bound to join you and "help". Let her (but suprvise!).
  • Homemade electromagnets and lifting various things with them can be fun. homemade electromagnet
  • Teaparty with dolls and toy animals. My daughter can spend half an hour feeding her duplo animals. And then another 15 minutes putting her teddys to sleep under a blanket
  • Building stuff out of duplo works too. Make sure to engage her in the building process. Build a house and put animals in it.
  • A train set. No more words needed. a train set
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Here's a relevant bit from another post I made on the subject of babies and TV:

I always find the topic of children vs TV as an odd dichotomy. It's like everyone watches tv but nobody wants their kids to watch tv. I'm not saying anyone posting in this thread is a hypocrite, not by any stretch, I'm making an aged observation.

[ . . . ]

Allow me to dispense a dose of realism: All things in moderation. An apple a day won't kill you, 20 apples a day might. A beer a day won't kill you, a case of beer a day might.

TV = Bad? That's like saying "Cars are bad because of traffic fatalities and carbon monoxide emissions". It is a statement that ignores all the positive aspects of cars, or TV, when used responsibly.

An hour or so of wind-down TV in the evening is realistic, especially if it's choice content... I don't know what's on these days, but Blues Clues and Dora type stuff for an hour for a less-than 3yr old would be great while dinner is getting fixed or you catch up on emails or whatever.

On the other hand, if it's Cartoon Network... simply put, get that shit out of her face.

As far as dealing with your wifes preference, you both need to come to the table, find each other motivations, and find a happy place in the middle.

However, to me it sounds like this won't be productive and you should probably sit with a professional.

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