Your questions answered

Question: My child just wants to watch TV and does not seem interested in playing. If I suggest play alternatives he just cries. What do you suggest I do ?

Dr Richard Woolfson's Answer:

No parent wants to see their child in tears; you probably feel bad when you offer him alternatives to TV. But you are on the right track. I suggest you switch off the television set and get him involved in play with his toys, whether he cries or not. There is nothing wrong with his wanting to watch television programmes (assuming they are good quality and are pitched for his specific age group, of course) but there has to be a limit. Your child should get connected with a range of play activities each day. So grit your teeth, have confidence, and press that “off” button when you thinks he has watched enough!

You’ll find him that he likely to take part in play activities if you play along with him, at least to start with. Try to ignore his tears, switch off the TV, and set out his toys or games on the floor. Start to play with them and encourage him to start playing as well. Don’t worry if he still cries as he plays – he’ll eventually settle down. By all means, continue to let your child watch some television each day if you want, but keep viewing time-limited and as only one part of his daily diet of play activities.