Cape Gazette
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Adventures in Drool: Overstimulation and the toddler mind

By Rachel Swick Mavity | Feb 04, 2013
Source: images We've had to say no to Kissymoo and her friends.

As parents, we are constantly making choices that we hope improve the lives of our children. Every day, every other minute, we have to decide; we have to give an answer to a need. In the case of toddlers, we usually have to give this answer on the fly, and often without advice.

Have you ever changed your mind about a decision you made?

We try to keep Droolface away from the television, and for the most part it is easy because we are not a big TV-watching family, but I think I might have made the wrong decision when it came to a seemingly innocent DVD.

About a month ago, we got a fun musical DVD called Gigglebellies. The movie features about 10 songs sung by animated characters. It seemed like a fun way to incorporate learning about animals and animal sounds.

So, we let Droolface watch it. At first the rule was only when he was sick, but he liked the thing so much, we started letting him watch it once or twice a week. It snowballed and soon he was watching it nearly every day!

Like I said, it seems innocent enough. All of the characters are animals and the songs are family favorites that we regularly sing, plus a few new songs.

But then, Droolface started having a tantrum every time the DVD was over. He wouldn't want to leave the TV room to go do other things like take a bath or go to bed. He would scream himself into a fiery mess of snot and tears. It became a regular trick of his to take one of us by the hand and lead us into the TV room. He often would climb up on the couch and make hand motions like he was using a remote pointed at the television.

And, then, to make it even worse, he stopped sleeping well at night. After sitting down and realizing what a problem this was becoming, we decided no more Gigglebellies was the only answer. Maybe it is too much stimulation for such a young mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television at all for children under the age of 2.

I can see how some television is going to be viewed by Droolface. On rainy winter days, the television is often on, and chances are he will wander into its illumination.

But I cannot sit back and just let him lose his mind over a silly DVD. It is not good for him or for the family because for the past week, he has not slept through the night. And, that causes mama to lose it a little bit.

He'll thank me in the end, right?

It is going to be hard to quit Gigglebellies cold turkey, especially for Daddy who still hums the theme song, but it is necessary. I don't know how I am going to do it, but I am going to get this child back on a good sleep schedule!

Send any tips, comments or suggestions to rachel@capegazette.com.

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