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TV Time and Sleeping In

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

We have been struggling big time with the older two boys waking up early (4.30am – 5.30am). One will wake up, and sneak into our room claiming to want a ‘cuddle’. Turns out, before they come into our room, they go into the lounge to see if the TV remote has been left out so they can get watch TV before anyone else wakes up. Once they realise there is no remote then they come in for a cuddle.

You see, about a year ago, hubby and I were in desperate need for a sleep in, so decided that on the weekends we would leave the remote on the couch and when the boys woke up, they could go and watch TV quietly without waking us, and we would only have to get out of bed once the baby woke up.

In their favourite 'TV watching' positions.

This technique was working perfectly, until we realised that the boys don’t really understand the difference between ‘weekday’ and ‘weekend’ and so every morning they try to get up super early to watch TV, and if the remote isn’t there, then they come into our room for a cuddle – waking us up!

It was getting beyond a joke! One weekend morning I was woken at 3.30am (3.30am!!) by the sound of the TV. Mr 5 was completely put out when I advised him it was still the middle of the night and he had to go back to bed!

We realised that something had to change - time for a new plan!


To start with, if either the boys come into our room before 6am, we promptly advise them that it is still nighttime, and they need to stay into their room until ‘the sun comes up.‘ (This is reference to an awesome gro clock which changes from a star to a sun at 6am – highly recommended! With no daylight saving in Perth, in summer the sun can rise as early as 4am, so we tried to stay away from referring to the actual real-life sun!).

If this request to go back to bed is met with resistance, we carry them back to their room and stay with them until they either fall asleep or until the sun comes up!


Then…. No TV until 8am. Just to clarify - we don’t turn the TV on in the morning during the week anyway, so this isn’t such a big deal… just means that we have to fend of TV requests until 8am.


Finally, we try to limit the blocks of time that the TV is on to be no more than an hour. So if the kids are watching a show that goes for 20 minutes, we clearly state and agree that they will watch 3 episodes and then turn it off. If the show goes for 15-minutes then they watch 4 episodes (and so on). They are given the remote so that they have the responsibility to look ad ther remote and turn the TV off after their episodes have finished.

How did these changes affect our family?

We are about 3 weeks into this new routine and honestly, the change has been outstanding!

They are now used to not being able to watch TV as soon as they get up. One morning I got up to see one son doing a jigsaw and the other doing his music homework.

We do still get requests to watch the TV, however by holding firm to the 8am rule and determining before they start watching, how long they will watch for, we are better able to manage their request, and especially to limit the amount of resistance when it is time to turn the TV off.

Sometimes I will be out of the room when their hour is up and will come in 5 minutes later to find the TV off and the remote back on the kitchen bench – it still amazes me!

Do they still wake up early? Well yeah, sometimes. But not as regularly as they used to.

Do they still ask for the TV? Well yeah, sometimes. But now they know that even if they ask, they still have to wait until 8am before the TV gets turned on.

It actually feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders!

In mindful parenting we talk about taking the middle path when it comes to screen time – not limiting it completely, but not letting it rules the household. I feel like I have finally found a nice balance between screen limits, sleep in, and television time that I feel comfortable with.

How about you? How do you handle screen time in your family?

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