My husband and I have a dilemma about TV. We let our very bright, intense 31 / 2-year-old watch an educational TV show in the morning before he goes to preschool and child care, and then we let him watch another show in the evening so he can get some downtime while I take care of the baby. Lately, however, our son has begun to engage in power struggles with us whenever it’s time to turn off the television, and I’m not talking about a little fussing and whining. First he pesters us, badgers us and begs us to let him watch TV a bit longer even though we always set the timer when the show begins and repeatedly tell him that we will turn off the television as soon as the show is over. Although we never give in, our son continues to beg us and then to argue with us, and when it gets bad enough, we put one of his favorite toys on the mantelpiece for the rest of the night: the price he has to pay when he acts like that. Once it escalates to that point, however, he starts yelling at us, and then he goes into full tantrum mode.
How can we have a little time together in the morning and evening without all this angst and all these arguments?