My daughters are 3 and 5 and love watching shows on TV. We've always had limits on this and the past few months we've limited it to only weekends. I find that this works well. When they know it's not an option, they just get on and play beautifully together. The problem is that when they do get to watch a show, they often melt down in an emotional mess when it's finished. It doesn't matter if it's a 30 minute show or a 2-hour movie. The trigger is often that they want to watch more, but I say no. But this trigger varies. I love the break I get when they are quietly watching a show, but am really tired of the mess afterwards. Is there a solution?
TV are very hard to turn off and children are often wanting to watch more. It’s that ‘just one more show or 5 more minutes’. It’s great to see that you are setting limits and have clear rules about the use of tv and that your children know the rules. I understand the difficulty and have a few suggestions of how to help. Be sure that your children know what behaviour you expect of them when the show finishes, so tell them before you start that you will give them a five minute warning that the show is coming to and end and finishing. This followed by a 1 minute warning if possible is idea. Tell them how to expect them to behave when you do turn the tv off ie. “Mummy will give you the warnings, when I turn the tv off we are then going to the bath or outside to play” When you turn the tv off, simply walk away if there is any great drama, do not at this point in time start to reexplain the rules. They are of the age where they can remember and I do believe you have been through this more than one or twice or five times now. Any drama, walk away, by doing this you are telling them clearly that you are not interested in this behaviour and you are taking the audience away with you. Oh, and the remote too!
If there is one child that copes okay with the tv being switched off, be sure to notice that and praise that child for coping well and moving on, do not compare to the other child or discuss the others behaviour at all. This is a combination of telling them what you expect, giving them warnings, then taking no notice of behaviour you do not wish to see again. Also you are praise any coping as well. This should do the trick and soon you will be able to switch it off without drama.