What to do when a child doesn't eat without seeing TV

12 replies, Page 1

 Former member 2010-07-19 22:56:14


Hi All,

My son ( 4yrs) doesn't eat anything if TV is not switched on. Moreover, I need to remind him to chew constantly as he becomes so engrossed in serial ( chota bheem, Mr bean, pink panther etc)  that he hardly chew and I need to constantly remind me to eat fast.  He is so much addicted to Tv that he doesn't even take new bite during advertisements and says "I will eat only when it will start".

  He is a very poor eater and doesn't eat if we don't switch on TV and finally to save time/frustration/stress, we switch on TV. I have tried telling him in  many ways that you become dumbo when you see TV and your mind stops working and blab blab ... . He takes those things seriously and says one part of  my brain is dumbo but rest is working but doesn't stop seeing TV.  Both of us are working and have heardly anytime, so we can't waste time and to avoid conflicts my husband generally switch on TV.

    Can somebody suggest me how to reduce his Tv and still have fast/peaceful eating?

bitu 2010-07-19 23:10:36


hi...its ditto same prob with my daughter....she is 5.only diff is she eats fast when tv is on..and she will not eat if tv is not on...so we have 2 switch on the tv for her.i dont like that ...i have scold her,blackmailed her but she does not listen.wt to do.??????


roses 2010-07-20 03:18:38


aarrghhh!! Silly connection. I lost my post.

Just a few strategies that I would use if I were in your place (I still have a few years to get to that stage)...

- I will wait for a long holiday or trip before I start presuurising him again on not watching the silly TV programs. Then on this trip, say to grandparents place or a holiday, I would make sure all meals are planned such that you are not alone with him and the TV. Either it is his grandparents keeping him busy talking, playing at the dining table or you all stepping out for a picnic, making castles or plucking mangoes while finishing your lunch. Dinner can be playing some game or just being silly at the dining table but in a place where there is no TV. Then when you are back from the holiday or vacation pull out all those pictures and go through them on the dining table while you all talk about it. Where's teh time for TV!

- I will replace all his TV programs with Scholastic DVD's. They have good short stories and a 'read along' feature. That way he learns new words and picks up on his reading skills even if he wants to watch TV. Kids his age love repetition. WHta better way to teach them to read!

- You could tape all good TV programs meant for his age or pick up some that your friends have and play them for him if he still insists.

- Something that I realised with my son (1.7yr old) that dinner or lunch could not be restricted to that 15mts and it brought us more peace of mind if we got him to eat before us. I split his dinner into 3 phases: You could do Main meal - roti with vegetables in the form of roli poli if he likes chapati or otherwise rice with dal in a soup bowl while you read to him. That is total 10 - 15mts of your time. Desert he can have while you all are eating your dinner. That goes down the easiest and he learns to give you company at the dining table and also sees that you all are eating the same food that he just ate. Milk can be 30mts before bed-time. That way you start early but you all are more effecient as a group and he does not get to sit for full 30 mts at the dining table.

Just some suggestions....


 Former member 2010-07-20 08:59:44


Which scholastic DVD you are referring to ? please let me know all educational related VCD.


aanchal 2010-07-20 10:41:23


nice suggestions by roses !! (@roses: its very irritating when u lose a long post due to network probs..very commendable on your part to write all over again)

@SSG and bitu: your post reflects a sense of aaarggghhh when your son is having his meal. he has learnt that you are pressed for time badly and you wont refuse TV watching in order to get the meal finished. as roses suggested, its difficult to break the habit during your regular routine days.  since he is 4years old, i guess he goes to school for 3-4 hours only. so does he go to a creche afterwards? or are you working from home? or do u have a maid at home to take care of everything? how is the general environment of home? i am asking all this as i am trying to understand how he picked up the habit. its easier to break a habit once u know the root causes. for dinner, you can use a trick called 'psychological fishing'..what you and your husband can do is sit down in his room with his books and toys, and your food. pretend that you having excellent time playing there. eat while you play. invite him too. if he refuses and continues to watch TV, just leave him. the giggles, laughs, hurrays and yahoos will continue to lure him inside his room. his attention will be more on you guys than TV, though out of stubbornness or confusion, he may continue to watch TV. it may take a couple of days, but i am sure he will finally come to sit with you. then you can feed him from your plate and not make a fuss that time about eating and finishing his meal from his plate. if u continue to do this for few more days, then he will form a connection between meal and play(instead of TV)..then after few days, u can do the same thing on dining table. this will lure him to sit there with his parents who are having fantastic time telling jokes and sharing experiences.

explain it to your husband also and have patience..TV is not just a bad habit, its an addiction. keep in mind that you are going to do a rehabilitation work with yr son..so unnecessary explanations, scoldings, blackmailing will only worsen the situation.its so sad that for better future of our kids, we choose work over fulltime mothering..but work creates so much pressure and tension, that ultimately its the kids who suffer :(


aanchal 2010-07-20 10:48:31


@roses: i had almost lost my post after pressing 'submit'..i was like "oh no, not with me too"..i had almost started biting my nails when the wait ended and i saw the post back there..actually it happens quite often on parentree. i normally copy the text before submitting the post, so that i have a backup if something goes wrong. but since it was not happening for last few days, i became a little lazy and PPFFT went the post this time!!


Chaplin 2010-07-20 12:05:17


Hi moms-me having the same problem with my 6 year old son..with another little one around(15 monhts old), its very difficult to divert him from TV. Four of us have dinner at different times and hubby always wants TV on after office time.

I wasted last summer hols in scolding and threatening my son bcos I was worried what he will do in full day school-no Tv and no one to feed with!! But funnily now he is able to finish his school snack and meals without much trouble. And after school he is busy with homework, playtime and music practice. So I just dont have the heart to tell not to see Tv while eating as he see harldy 30-45minutes. But I decide what he can see, usually MAD in pogo and some Mr.Bean. On weekends we make sure he eats one session without TV. atleast the vegetables(which he usually likes to have in a cup seperately). Sometimes I replace TV with listening CDs or educational CDs or books or games, puzzles. it has to be a slow change and one thing I learnt is getting angry/scolding only backfires and gives a negative association to meal times. We have to be very calm and patient.

all the best



roses 2010-07-21 08:29:08


With some edits:

@ Aanchal - Hope all is well at your end. Did not see posts from you for a few days at a stretch and was wondering if you've just been busy.  Just hoping you've been actively busy with your little one. Hope all is well ( it is pun intended). Today I took your suggestion of copying the text before posting and sure enough it came handy  !

SSG - The 'Scholastic' DVD's that I am referring to are by the publication 'Scholastic'. I am not too sure how easily accessible these are in your area. Some good ones to start with (& with the read along feature) and keep your son happy are:

- Goodnight Gorilla ( a classic and with minimal reading to be done, apart from ‘goodnight’).   - Giggle Giggle Quack (very funny and interesting story of farm animals)   - The Very Hungry Caterpillar ( Again a classic and has a lot you can get your child to learn from)   - Ezra Keats Jack collection (Snowy Day): Jack Ezra Keats books are classics for children. You cannot go wrong on these. Simple and easy for children to pick up from.   Brainy Baby series are good too. Among the two I have, I think Brainy Baby ABC’s can be useful since it has the phonetics too.   I am sure other moms can recommend the ones that are easily available in your area.

roses 2010-07-21 08:39:51


Here's the link:


It includes quite a few which I like:

- Pete's a Pizza (Your son will love it)

- Harry the Dirty Dog (I thoroughly enjoy watching "Officer Buckle and Gloria" written by Peggy Rathmann of  "Goodnight Gorilla")

- Diary of a worm

- The wheels on the bus (my son's addicted to this one these days and has picked up a lot of concepts that I may have had trouble explaining to a 1.7 yr old)

- Where the Wild Things Are (more for 5-6yr olds)

- Click, Clack Moo (from the same author of Giggle Giggle Quack)

I can go on.....I do strongly recommend Scholastic DVD's to anyone who is ready to make the investment.


roses 2010-07-22 04:49:05


Posted by another member, this site also has the read-along feature for some books...totally free!



 Former member 2010-07-22 09:13:24


Thanks everybody for your suggestion. For past 2 days I am successful in feeding him atleast his daily fruit without TV.


roses 2010-07-22 09:35:49


Wow!! That is sooo good to hear.....keep up the effort and good luck!


aanchal 2010-07-22 13:53:55


congratulations!! m very glad to hear that...WOW..3 cheers to you!! keep it up



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