I am just getting started with LDTR and the habit of attention. While working out my goals, I’ve decided that one that I would really like to work on with my 6.5 y.o. is paying attention to others while watching TV. His attention in other areas (read-aloud/narration) is quite good, but in this one area he struggles. Unless I physically plant myself in front of him and/or pause what’s on TV, his eyes are glued to the TV and I’m not sure he hears me (I often become so engrossed in reading that I tune out what’s around me, not a good habit, so I know he’s probably experiencing the same thing.). Does anyone have any ideas of how to encourage him to pay attention to someone speaking to him while watching TV? There’s the obvious immediate consequence (TV gets turned off immediately instead of just getting paused or something like that, but that’s not always fair to his younger brother who hasn’t done anything wrong and can tear his mind off the TV long enough to attend to me. I’ve also had him leave the room and do something with me as punishment, but I’ll catch him watching TV through the reflection of the window even!) that I can and probably will do, but I was just wondering if anyone had any other suggestions of things that have worked for them. Thanks!anniepeterParticipant
Two things come to my mind. One… The tv entertainment industry has been working for many years now to perfect just that effect. And they have done a fantastic job of it. So, it’s no easy thing you’re asking. And second, he is actually giving his focussed attention to the tv, and you are asking him to multitask. But I realize you are asking him to give the top priority to your voice and attend to it, which is a reasonable request and certainly a worthy goal in the home. How about not allowing the TV at times when you will need to get his attention? Maybe one show a day that you commit not to interrupt? I guess I should confess that we don’t have a TV :-). I find there are still many things (siblings, toys, ideas) competing for their attention and I am Very Glad not to have another thing as powerful as that to work against me.
I’m sure others who have a TV will have practical ideas, but I just couldn’t resist putting in my two cents. I hope you don’t mind 🙂 I do think it is wise to consider the place given to this “box” in the home.JanisParticipant
Thank you, Annie. I agree with you 100%. I had never really though of it as multi-tasking…more of giving top priority to my voice. We do limit TV for the most part to 30 minutes a day, with occasional family movie nights thrown in. Usually it is uninterrupted but there are times when it is just necessary. An example that comes to mind: I now have to go to the OB once a week as I’m due to have a baby soon, which takes about an hour. The doctor’s office has a TV and movies which they graciously allow us to choose from when we arrive, allowing me to sit through the doctor’s visit and them to stay out of trouble. This last time they had already started the movie and I realized I needed to tell him something but it was almost impossible to get his attention. We do take week-long, or longer, breaks from TV if I feel like their obsession with it is overpowering. Believe me, I would gladly not have a TV in our house if it was only my decision. I haven’t watched it in almost 3 years!cdm2kkParticipant
I require my children to look at me when I talk to them…..so, if he can not do that then he isn’t mature enough to have tv privileges at all, not jjust for the day or the week, but none at all. Ha! Now trust me when I tell you that if you let him know this is how you feel….then miraculously, he will have the skill to physically look at you when you walk into the room and address him by name. I would recommend addressing him by name though. This is how I work it in my family and while they are kids and are not perfect, they are pretty good at taking care of what I require. Some kids will test you, so be prepared for it and let him know that you will try tv privileges out again whe he shows you he has the skill when doing other things like reading or playing a game etc…. Just my two cents…..HTHSueParticipant
Could you perhaps ask the doctor’s office if the tv could be turned off while you are there? (Although I suppose the answer is no if there are others in the waiting room.) There is no need for your children to develop an unhealthy habit of watching more tv than you would like just because they are required to spend time waiting. You could bring books, puzzles, maybe a simple game for them to occupy themselves, and that would be a good habit for them to develop.retrofamParticipant
My son responds better to questions. It is very difficult to get his attention, but he responds most of the time when I say, *his name* what do we do when someone calls your name? I had to train him to say, What? and look at me.
Sounds silly, but it works for him.
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