Friday, December 16, 2011

Sugar and TV

This is going to open a WHOLE can of worms, but here it is.

My child eats entirely too much sugar. And, it's my fault.

My child watches entirely too much television. And, it's my fault.

Commence the mommy guilt trip. There's pretty much nothing else you can say that I haven't thought myself.

Most negative toddler behavior is directly related to sugar consumption and television viewing.

Don't hate. It's true. I have some research. I am very dispirited.

 I have been just trying to survive life with two kids, but giving/bribing with sugary treats and watching bullshit movies/Nick Jr has bitten me in the ass BIG TIME. And, if your kids don't eat sugar or watch TV, don't comment and tell me how you knew it sucked. Cause that's not helpful.

Emma is two and a half. A "nice" age to begin with. Add in a new baby and a mommy at home all day, and she gets more than she needs. In the treats and TV department.

I was talking to a girlfriend today about how guilty I felt. I know I'm just doing it right now to get through certain times. And, we do have TV off times. But, when we pull into Kroger or Publix and she says, "I get a cookie," some shit has to change.No, you do not need a cookie to get through grocery shopping. When she says, "I watch a movie," every time we get in the car, it needs to go. No, you do not need a friggin movie to drive somewhere. How about talking or looking out the window?

But, she's gotten used to it. All. Because I've let her.

 I guess it all "got to me" the other day. I was trying to change her diaper, she was WIGGING OUT trying to see the TV and Curious George and was not having it. I had enough. I turned the TV off and for the rest of the day, no more. It overstimulates her. She becomes hyper and zones out. Emma was watching TV from about 8-10, then we would go somewhere, and come home, and she would nap from about 2-5, then watch it some more that afternoon. I'm just over it. I'm over the behavior that comes from it. The attention seeking, screeching, etc. The tantrums. I know this is not all due to TV, but a lot of it is.

Another part is her sugar consumption. I have a picky eater, to put it nicely. Here is her "typical" diet.

Wake up-eat some dry cereal (like Fruit Loops), have some organic 2% milk
Breakfast-carb (waffle, toast, bagel, etc) and some organic yogurt
Snack-carb (pretzels) and fruit, or carb and gummies (her latest obsession). At least I've been buying Mott's fruit and veggie gummies, but still-loaded with sugar.
Lunch-meat, fruit, carb (i.e. nitrate/nitrite free hot dog, oranges, fruit pouch)
Snack-light since it's early evening. Mostly things like pretzels/pb, apples/cheese
Dinner-meat, fruit, milk (i.e. chicken, fruit/veggie pouch, apples)

Sometimes she earns a dessert or treat. Sometimes I bribe her with a sweet.

I just read that toddlers should not have more than 17 grams of sugar per day. A fruit pouch has 9. Holy shizballs. How do I cut this out, or make it better? I could obviously change her morning cereal (about 1/4 C) to something else. I need to look at the sugar content in her yogurt (girl loves dairy). No more gummies. The pouches, though? Only way I can get fruit/veggie combos in her minus the typical apples, bananas, oranges combo.

I just need to consciously watch the sugar. And the TV can go to hell. I mean, it's a great babysitter when I'm trying to wash dishes, load the dishwasher, feed Harrison, fold clothes, or get ready. But, I guess she'll just have to freaking PLAY in her playroom instead of zoning out to Dora or Curious George. Because, it's not good at all. Not good for her to be seeing all that nonstop. So many studies show how too much TV leads to later issues like a sedentary lifestyle, attention problems, and weight problems.

I don't want that for my kids. I want them to play independently and be healthy.

So, I'm going to be making some changes. Please tell me I'm not alone. And tell me what you do.

No judgies, girls. Only helpful comments, please.

My heart thanks you.


  1. Oh sissy, its a part of life! No don't let her eat crap and watch tv all day but also don't beat yourself up when you NEED those precious minutes to yourself while she zones on Dora. Now that S is in school she gets 5 minutes of tv when she gets up and 1 (ONE) 60minute movie when she gets home. She may watch 20 mins of the entire thing but its on the tv in her playroom. Just allot times for it! As for the sugar, cut it out (Joey Lawrence style)! Love you and can't wait to see you in a week!

  2. We got rid of the movies in the car 4 months ago. Now we talk and sing. And we never really used them a lot in the first place. Just on trips over an hour.

    We don't eat in front of the t.v. ever. It is turned off and we had to stop sweets all together until she ate. I am all about bribery, you eat this and then you can have gummies. I also buy the strawberry yoplait yogurt instead of that sugar stuff. That's considered a treat now. I do still give m&m's for using the bathroom. We are only using diapers at nap and bedtime, so it is working. I am being brave now and even go diaper free in the car. That's a big step.

    We still do a cookie at the store. I blame that on Publix. We have to have a balloon too.

    Good luck!


  3. Oh girl, she really isn't eating that poorly, it almost sounds like you're beating yourself up! Just as you gave her the TV and snacks, you can easily cut them out. Perhaps slowly changing the diet over a period of two weeks so she doesn't wig out might be easier than going cold turkey?

    And setting a schedule for her like your sissy said, TV can be associated with after dinner for X amount of time, or for the afternoon for X amount of time. You can also taper the TV and sub singing or make a pointed effort to engage in dialogue while driving/running errands, or give her a role to "help" Mommy instead of focusing on having a snack or tv show, if that makes sense? Also get J on board with it so the two of you are a team with implementation!

    You're doing a great job - Emma and Harry are going to turn out great and it'll get easier for you too as a Mama to Two!

    Love and Miss XOXO

  4. You are being crazy hard on yourself Sus! I think you are just noticing a pattern and being the brilliant parent you are you realize you need to make some changes. You are in control...don't let the tail wag the dog. Set up a schedule of how much TV is allowed and when. Stick to the plan. As for sugar...good for you for noticing! Sugar is sneaky. It sounds like she gets a well rounded diet. Just keep being creative and trying new things. Whole Foods should be helpful in this department. Expensive yes, but peace of mind and clean eating is priceless. You are doing a great job and thanks for spotting things ahead in the road for us parents about to take on on these same exact pot holes of parenting. IMO...Dora is a hooker on the streets trying to reel my sweet innocent son into her tangled web of talking maps and boot wearing monkeys. ;)

  5. I agree with everyone else, don't beat yourself up. You've had an epiphany and you'll make changes. It's a new day:)

    J has been SUPER picky lately but one thing he loves having for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) is oatmeal. We get the quick oats (big container, not the individual packets), throw in some milk, some flax seed, a little honey and pop it in the microwave. He LOVES it. Maybe something like that E would love? It's slightly sweet (but you control the sugar) and it sticks to their ribs, J doesn't even have a snack before lunch cause he's not hungry. Also he's LOVING those "cuties" clementines right now, he ate 7 in one sitting the other day. And this is a kid who will only eat mac & cheese, grilled cheese, or PBJ most days:) Delight in the small victories my friend.

  6. Sus, you are a great Mommy, great role model, great person! Bac, off on the critisism! She is not glued to the television 24/7 and is not only eating sugar! You are doing a wonderful job! Love you tons and cannot wait to see y'all!

  7. I gotta say you are a great mommy and sounds like maybe had a bad day! They are both healthy well adjusted kids! We have not gotten to this stage yet so I got no advice, just love! I will say that I , nor my boy ever "watches" TV just by itself. I am always doing other things with Tv on in the background and the same for him. It is on a lot of the day in the playroom but the longest he will stay still to watch ( when not sick) is about 3 minutes. SO we make it a part of the day but not a major player. This cold weather is just changing up the routine a smidge! Good luck. take good notes for me when Peebs gets old enough to eat them

  8. Like everyone else, I think you are a GREAT Momma! If you're really worried, maybe just set a menu and if she doesn't eat much at first, don't worry over it. MA has days when she will try and eat anything and days when she will eat nothing. It's just another way that they try to exert their independence. But her ped says she won't starve herself, and so far she hasn't! As far as the TV just do what you need to do. Emma is a smart, preshy, well adjusted little girl with two amazing parents. She will turn out perfectly!

  9. Thank you so much for writing this! It will help me so much as I have a new 2 year old and will have a new bebe in Feb. Recognizing a behavior you don't like about yourself is the first step to solving it. (12 years of therapy. Yeah.) So you're off to a great start. Does Emma like dip? Sally is a huge "dipper." This is how I get her to eat healthy foods. Cut up chicken breast: dip it in honey mustard. Cut up veggies: dip it in ranch. You name it, she will eat it if she has a dip. You just have to do the best you can. And I think all two year olds are pretty much carb-centric. Girlfriend loves her pretzels and goldfish and crackers and cheerios. Oh yeah, breakfast! Sally sees me stir Kashi into my yogurt so she wants the same thing. I now buy the big tub of Stoneyfield whole milk organic French vanilla yogurt. (It's cheaper per serving!) I stir in honey nut cheerios and she goes to town. She also will eat cut up grapes in it. Just something new to try. Hang in there, you're doing great!

  10. Here's some tips and tricks for us... the munchkin LOVES her some yogurt. I buy a large tub of organic plain whole milk yogurt then add my own stuff to it. A few drops of vanilla extract and some cut up fruit like blueberries or strawberries make it super yummy and healthy with no added sugar. For breakfast, she usually eats scrambled eggs and a banana. Sometimes she will have yogurt, or sometimes I will make some coconut flour pancakes (recipe on my blog) and then just top it with butter and a tiny bit of real maple syrup or some fruit preserves. Then for lunch, we'll have some sort of protein and a vegetable (usually leftovers from dinner the night before). She usually only gets one snack a day after her nap and she usually just eats an apple or an orange. Then for dinner it's another protein and a vegetable. We use lots of healthy fats, like real butter and coconut oil. They help her to keep full and fuel her brain at the same time. The less starch stuff you feed them (cereal, crackers, chips), the fuller they will stay between meals and the less sugar they will ultimately get too. She mainly lives off healthy fats, proteins, veggies and fruits. I have never really given her much else, so that is just what she is used to. Hopefully some of these ideas help!

  11. OMG we are going through the EXACT same thing. I feel EXACTLY the way you do. Recently felt like the tv was making me a little crazy. Not only do I wake up singing the Fresh Beat Band, but Lu was being nasty about it. I totally agree that it makes them a little hard to deal with. At the same time, we both have relatively new babies and have to get stuff done. Such a delima. The TV has been a great punishment tool. I will take it away for days and we really have so much fun doing things together. ALthough I am exhausted. I really don't think it will hurt them, but a break here and there has been helpful for us. I swear if I sing the Cat in the Hat song in the shower one more time I might put a bullet in the tv.

  12. I know I'm way late - I'm trying to catch up on blogs - but I wanted to say that you're a great mom. So many moms fill their kids bellies and minds with crap and never give it a thought. You're just recognizing a few small changes you'd like to make to make E even healthier and happier. Looks like some good suggestions on food in the comments - I'm taking notes!


Thanks for taking the time to comment!