"Thomas the Tank Engine' Is Ruining My Night

My son has become infatuated with “Thomas. Tank. Engine.” So, the other night (big parenting mistake coming, take note) after a house full of family left for the night, family we haven’t seen in over a year, family that is loving on my son, kissing, playing and hugging on him all night, after they left. After he was totally wound up. After all that, we thought it was a good idea to let him — enter bad parenting mistake — watch TV.

“Thomas the Tank Engine” was recorded (love TiVo) so I let him watch one episode. Against my better judgment. It is already way past his bedtime. He is already worked up. For some crazy reason I think TV will calm him down. Well, I am right on that. It does calm him down. Right up until the point when Mommy turns the TV off because Thomas went “nite-nite.”

Enter toddler meltdown.

My husband and I look at each other. “Don’t do it,” he says to me as I hold the remote. (background: **CRYING, CRYING, CRYING**) I think for a moment, the best one can think during all that crying. Of course the easy thing is to put “Thomas” back on. After all, it is a DVR, but he doesn’t know that. I explain that Thomas went nite-nite. That his Aunt, Uncle and cousins went nite-nite. That Mommy and Daddy WANT to go nite-nite.

No dice.

We decide the best thing is to hold our ground as parents and let him cry it out. This is why I hate “Thomas the Tank Engine” right now. If I had never heard of this show, I would have never let him watch it tonight. I would have read books, or played with his Little People, his cars … anything but let him watch 15 minutes of some show on TV. Lesson learned.

It takes about an hour (maybe longer) to get him to calm down, but he finally does after some major distractions and about three time outs. He is exhausted, we are exhausted.

Next time we watch “Thomas,” or any TV, it won’t be right before bed, that’s for sure.

So I know TV isn’t always a bad thing and I don’t hate “Thomas” because of it. We do use TV at times for entertainment and on occasion for parental relief, but tonight is an example of when I think we’re better off not watching and doing other things together as a family.

I write daily at BalancingMotherhood.com.

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