bedtime/tv/4 year old/family argument

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
bedtime/tv/4 year old/family argument
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:48am
have an ongoing argument with my SO about my four year old son watching tv at night. I am taking college courses and am often doing homework at night. My four year old son would love to make bedtime last three hours if he could. Constant choruses of " need you to come here...or "I'm thirsty...hungry...etc." go on for at least an hour.

However, if I pop a movie (kids movie that is) in (after our bedtime ritual, hugs, kisses, two stories, etc) then he's quiet and is usually asleep within 30 min. And I get to do my homework in peace without having to stay up past midnight. (I work and have to be out of bed at 5:45). This is not my SO's child, but he has lived in our home for over one year, we've been together for two. My son's father and I have joint custody - one week with dad, one week with mom - it works for us, BUT at his dad's he has no routine and gets to go to bed "whenever"-- sleeps w/dad or falls asleep watching tv on the couch. That bothers me quite a bit, but there's not a lot I can do about it. It does create HUGE problems though when he comes home. He doesn't want to sleep alone, and he wants to watch tv when he lays down. My SO thinks that children should not be allowed to watch tv at bedtime, that they should just go to bed and do as they are told, thats it, end of story. If I ignore my sons calls for "Mommy" then he turns hysterical and has a horrible night,gets so upset and upsets the peace in the house. I get angry and irritable, not to mention getting no sleep, no homework done, and causing major problems in my relationship.

I don't have a problem with my kid watching tV to fall asleep. I personally have to watch tv (or just have it on) to fall asleep, but SO is ADAMANT that its not the "right thing to do" and there is no compromising when it comes to Logan watching TV at night. Howver, it's okay that we do it (because we are adults!) He is so hung up on this that I give in, but against my own better judgement. I think that if turning on a TV works and keeps the peace that it's no big deal. In my honest opinion, I don't like the idea of him watching TV at night either, but I'd rather do that then have everyone fighting and upset all the time, all night long. My son asks so nicely if he can and when I say no he just doesn't understand. He begs so pathetically! When he asks me why he can't I have a hard time giving him an answer other than "because "Bob" said so" which of course I would never say. Interestingly enough, it seems to be "oK" with SO to let my son watch tv at night on weekend nights, just not during the week.

I bought him a little radio and let him turn music on so it's not so quiet back in his room, which SO didn't like very much but at least backed down a little bit on.

But is he right? Should kids not be allowed to watch a video at bedtime? Or am I right? That as long as the kid goes to sleep it's no big deal? What do you all think? I appreciate any honest opinions- thanks!

Avatar for kansascity
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 11:47am
Hmmmm??!!! I am one who thinks that children should not have TVs in their rooms. I think parents tend to lose control over what they're watching. That said, though, I also think that parents should do what works for them. It sounds like your DS is going through a tough time - not living with daddy, another man living with him, mom going to school and getting mixed messages on what he should do at bedtime - from you, his dad and your SO. He is probably getting some sort of reassurance by being able to watch TV comfortably in his own room and then fall asleep easily without argument. Personally, I would tell your SO to stay out of it. My nephew used to go to sleep watching TV, but it was something he outgrew. Is your DS able to fall asleep with the radio instead of the TV. If that works, I'd try to stick with that instead of the TV.

Good luck with DS and your studies. It sounds like you're pretty busy!!

Kathy, Alexandra (6/19/97) and Christian (12/22/99)

Avatar for crackermommaof2
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 11:59am
I agree. My now 6yo ds MUST have the radio on to go to sleep at night. It's a major security issue with him. Personally, if your ds is satisfied with music, I think that's a better option, but if t.v. is what it takes I would do it. I do as much as possible to avoid any tension at bedtime. I would just make sure that the programming is suitable, really the same is true for the radio. And I think your SO should just be happy that there is a routine that works. I find it very hypocritical to be so adamant about it if that is what works for him!

Good luck,


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:27pm
It works for us! My DD is 4 and she falls asleep to a childrens video almost every night. After her bedtime routine, I put in a video, set the sleep timer for 30 mins and usually she's asleep within 20. No, I don't think its a good was MIL's suggestion and I refused to try it because *everybody* knows that TV before bed is a No-No because it stimulates the brain. Well, DD is like DH. TV puts them to sleep. So I gave in, and WOW! It worked!! Now instead of DD coming in to torment DS while I do his bedtime routine, she stays in her room. Ahhhhhh.....

Before we tried videos at night, I bought a cheap radio w/ a cassette player and some lullaby tapes (like what they use at daycare). It worked fairly well for awhile. Then she would scream and cry as soon as I turned it on. I tried so many things....reward charts, giving 3 "tickets" to request up to 3 more things...and so many wonderful ideas that worked for others here at PSoup. Unfortunately, they did not work for us.

Kudos to your for continuing your education! I keep saying that I'll go back and finish my degree. *sigh* Maybe one of these days....

Best wishes!

Lisa (DS 07/95 & DD 04/99)

and her two "whirlwinds"
     DS-13 & DD-9

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 10:28am
Thank you all for your replys. I'm going to show these to SO to prove to him I'm not THAT far out there on my way of thinking, which he makes me feel like I am!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 10:30am
I'd stick with the radio. If you continue to let him watch TV in his room to fall asleep, you may have some problems ahead.

I have a friend who started with much the same routine as yours. Now her son is 8 and he wakes up in the middle of the night and turns the TV on. He's exhausted for school and they are having a huge battle about his behavior. Not only is he not getting enough sleep, he's watching shows that are inappropriate for any grade-school child.

As he gets older, there will be fewer 30 mt. tapes & shows that will interest him. So will he be watching the full-length movies each night? There is very little on at 7 pm that is appropriate for young kids to watch.

I would pull that TV from bedroom now. The longer you wait, the bigger the battle will be. Let him relax with the radio, a tape/CD player and books. He will teach himself to fall asleep. Choose a time to make this change when you are determined to make it inbetween terms. And I would sit down and work out a routine that both you and his dad will use. Getting a good solid routine at bedtime now, will make his transition easier and it will be in place when he begins kdgn. in a year or two.

Good luck, JoAnn

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 9:26pm
Welcome to the board!! I hope we can help you out a bit and you decide to revisit us!

While I don't promote TV viewing at all, I think this could be a "temporary" solution. Obviously there is a lot of changes in your son's life on a weekly basis. If the routine include TV and he falls asleep, I would leave it at that for a short time. Yes, it would be best if he fell asleep without it, so I would suggest shortening the movies a few days at a time. Monday a 30 min, Wed a 20 minute and by Friday try to do without it. I, too, am very much against children having TV's in their rooms. It encourages isolation and it is much harder to monitor. Once they are quiet in there rooms, it's pretty much considered a gift of peace and they don't get disturbed. Not good news. Every child needs family interaction and close monitoring. The world is too much of a tempting place. For every bit of information WE offer, the world offers 5 times of the opposite.

After reading some of the other posts, it reminded me of someone I know who can't fall asleep anywhere that is quiet. He thinks there's no problem with it but the truth is that he can't stand quiet. Why is that an issue? He can't focus on inner peace. It makes him nervous to have it calm and peaceful, and inside he is a bottle of nerves waiting to pop. It doesn't often, but when it does, LOOK OUT! Actually, now that I think about it, it was also to help assist in childhood difficulties around family issues.

I play classical music for my son at bedtime at a very low volume as well. I think that's a great idea....he sometimes passes out in shopping malls if he hears it! LOL!!! He ends up wanting to sit in a cart and falls asleep. heehee....added benefits!

I am glad you found us so that you can get many perspectives to help you with your decisions. Best of luck to you!! Let us know how things go, please.

Janet =)

Edited 5/23/2003 9:54:15 PM ET by cl-i.wuv.dem.dimples

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Avatar for boymeetsgirl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 6:42pm
My dd 4 watches tv to go to sleep. Soon we will start to move away from tv and into stories, which we do sometimes now. When she starts school in September she will be able to watch movies only on the weekend, like her big brother. I say you do what works for you, your son and your situation.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 10:49pm
Hi, my kids used to go to sleep with a movie but now they have the radio. My son actually plays a favorite CD and has it set to repeat over and over again so I usually have to shut it off before I go to bed.

My oldest wouldn't get to sleep any other way as a baby unless I layed with him and I just couldn't do that all the time, especially when I had my second. He always could fall asleep with that movie or video. It started with the half hour long tapes and it gradually went to the full lengths because it would take him longer and longer to fall asleep. When my oldest got to be around 7, he started with bad dreams and his refusal to watch certain movies. We used to let them take turns picking out a movies which also meant they slept in the same bed every night.

When my son started with the bad dreams, he tried watching calm movies like Mary Poppins and it was Mary Poppins sometimes for 5 days in a row. So I decided that there would no longer be movies at night to go to sleep with. I had also noticed my kids hadn't gotten enough sleep either because they would watch the whole movie before going to sleep. They also got booted out of one room and each sleeping in their own beds. My oldest is the only one who really complained but he was the one having the dreams and staying awake. So I switched him to the radio but in Oct. whenHalloween was about, they had scary commercials so we switched to his CD's or the oldies station where I knew the music was soft.

My oldest still has trouble going to bed. He always finds a reason to come out of his room at least twice before he actually goes to bed. Lights have to be on, the radio has to be on and he has to have the door open. I tried having a son-mom talk before bed but my son just dragged it on and started with questions so far off that I knew he was making things up just to keep me in his room longer so it's not part of our routine any longer

I still talk now and again with him but not every day.

They still have movies before bed on the weekends if they want one but not always. They know though that it's not allowed on a school night.

Having a set routine helps a lot. My youngest seems to break our rules lately but he's still in afternoon kg so he doesn't have to get up as early as the other two. Next year, he's going with his other brothers so he's going to go by their routine and time of bed.

Anyway, good luck.