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Brave New World: No more Little Einsteins

Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Autism, Parenting |

I have written about how much Stone loves the Disney cartoon series Little Einsteins. It has been his favorite (and really only) show since he was about 2 years old. Trying to be good parents, we used our DVR to record as many episodes as possible so that he would have plenty to choose from when he wanted to watch the show – which was often. Way too often actually.

Leo, June, Annie and Quincy (and Rocket) are no longer part of our family after we banned them on Monday

What started as a “treat” for him (watching the show) unfortunately turned into a long term bad habit – for both him and us. When he started waking up in the middle of the night and refusing to go back to sleep, it was always easier for me to bring him downstairs, pop on Little Einsteins and hang out through the rest of the night (and morning). But the fact is, he was watching WAY too much – it became an addiction I think.

I finally reached the breaking point earlier this week when he had yet another 3 am wake up call with Stone. I was sitting on the couch blurry-eyed and sleep-deprived and watching various Little Einstein episodes for literally the 200th time. It was about 5:30 am and Stone kept yawning and cuddling with me. I *knew* he was tired too – but he just wanted to stay up and watch cartoons! Every time I tried to bring him back to bed he started putting up a fight and throwing a tantrum so I kept him downstairs (so he wouldn’t wake up the entire house). But I resolved right then and there – the Little Einsteins were no longer welcome in our house!

In the morning I discussed this bold new plan with Renee and she agreed completely – and said it was something she had been thinking about for awhile as well. We thought that it was possible (indeed likely) that the amount of TV (and Little Einsteins) he was watching was contributing to the sleeping issues in the first place – and once he would wake up, well he knew he could go downstairs with daddy or mommy and watch TV. how cool is that? So the plan was in place. When Hany took the boys to preschool on Monday, I would delete ALL episodes on the DVR and we would brace for the worse when Stone would get home and persistently ask “I want TV!”

So here we are on day 3 of this great challenge and….it’s been no problem. Monday night Stone asked for the show a few times but we kept telling him the Little Einsteins were gone now. No tantrum. He just started finding toys to play with and other things to do. We all ended up in the play room hanging out together as he and Ty took turns on the indoor swing and played on the computer. Tuesday morning was going to be another big challenge as watching Little Einsteins first thing was a big part of his routine/habit. Renee got up with him so I could sleep in a bit (having been up so early the previous night) and she reported no problems again. They watched Dora the Explorer for a bit and he was OK with that. I came downstairs and he tried again for Little Einsteins but once he realized they were gone he was fine when I simply turned on Christmas music. We had repeats of each evening and morning Tuesday night and again today – so I can report so far, so good.

Renee pointed out that it’s actually very similar to when the boys were toddlers and we knew it was time for them to get rid of their pacifiers. At that time we again braced ourselves for the worst – expecting full meltdowns and tantrums. They never arrived.

So I guess this is another good lesson in parenting for us – sometimes you have to do the right thing as soon as you realize its the right thing. Even if you are dreading the potential outcome. Chances are, the results will be well worth the change and probably won’t be nearly as painful as you fear. I guess that’s true in life as well.

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1 Comment

  • Zamara Moon says:

    Congrats on getting results. However, it seems to me that the problem was not Little Einsteins it was actually with your will power. Which you probably didn’t realize got stronger by deleting the episodes. If you think about it YOU where actually more dependent on the show than your little one was. Instead of taking a stand and saying he could only watch so much of it and definitely not at night, you deleted YOUR temptation. It was easier to just let him watch it than lay down the rules. The ease of the transition actually proves you relied on the show more than he did. The show was just a way to manipulate you. I don’t write this to criticize but to send a warning. You’ve taken a stand and made positive changes. Just keep in mind in the future to make firm limits on things. Say only 2 episodes a day no matter what. Keep a chart close by for each day and mark each time he watches it. After the 2 episodes there are no more till the next day. At night, well even the Little Einsteins have to sleep right :-). Limits and charts not only help your little one remember the rules but reminds even you to not fall into that temptation. Again, congratulations on your positive change. Keep up the good work.

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