Looking at the title, someone without a child or just with a baby might simply decide it is a waste of time or not worth worrying about at the moment. But that someone couldn’t be more wrong.
And if you are already a parent of a toddler type, I apologize if my words of wisdom have reached you too late. In some respects it reached too late for me, at least the first time. I languished hours of my life away in semi-torment and unabashed horror living in the fact that I must have done something very bad in my life to deserve this treatment. But by kid #2, I knew the tricks of the trade to survive a little easier.
- Most important, repetition. Realize that unless you are some type of an exceptional parent that has the skills to entertain your kids constantly with little to no assistance from the box that is a television, you will be seeing this movie, this cartoon, or this show…constantly and repetitively. I know that kids like to watch the same thing, but not endlessly. My first would want to watch the same 30 minute episode of something over, and over, and over again. This is singlehandedly the most important thing to know. You will likely be around for those car rides with the DVD playing the movie, the DVR or on demand at the house playing the movie, or the iPad or other device playing the movie. Understand this concept because, knowing this, …
- Only subject your child to movies/cartoons/shows that you can stand to see, and hear, over and over and over again. So how do you do that? It is as easy as it sounds, watch it first yourself. Yes, might be a slight waste of your time, yes the first one, or two, or seven may be mindless (Sponge Bob) or annoying (Diego) or illogical (Dora, Bubble Guppies), yes it may be painful, BUT when you find those ones that you can stand, knowing item #1 above, the rest of your life during the toddler years will be a bit easier to handle. For me, I found that I could stand/liked Backyardigans (cartoon), any of the Star Wars Lego shows/movies, Prep and Landing (Disney Christmas cartoons, if you haven’t seen them do so this year), and Sesame Street (old school but at least different each episode).
- So knowing #1 and #2, understand that you will have to have said movie, said cartoon, or said show available at a moment’s notice. Toddlers can’t really appreciate and don’t really care that you don’t have a copy to watch anytime. Thus, tape to DVR and show them the first time from it, or get a DVD and play it from there. Why? Because when you think it genius to have them just watch that episode and they love it, you can’t have them watch it again. But if you DVR’d it or you have it on DVD, you can play it again and again and again…immediately.
- And last but not least, for those truly epic ones that are the favorite (Disney’s Wreck It Ralph, Backyardigans, and the Prep and Landing movies in our house) ones, have a back-up. We were traveling by car to my in-laws one year. It’s a 7+ hour drive from DC. We smartly left early to have the boys sleep some at the start (bonus point), but we also left the Prep and Landing DVD at home. Panic ensued about halfway through the trip as our youngest tends to demand things vocally and he wanted no part of anything else but his beloved Prep and Landing. So what did we do? Stopped at a Wal-Mart and bought a second copy. Now we leave one copy in the house and the other in the car. As for Wreck It Ralph and the Backyardigans, we have DVDs and copies on iPad. Thus we are prepared for anytime need, at any time, on any device.
So there you have it. Follow these 4 simple steps and you too can handle the toddler years, at least in one respect.