How To Make Your Child Stop Watching TV? If You Have This Problem You Are In The Right Place.
Does it seem that the kids have forgotten what the garden looks like or the park across the street? Is their conversation dotted with TV show lingo and do they base their next week’s schedule around what’s on TV? And the big question – are your kids glued to the TV all the time? If so, time to take control and give them a new lease on life that does not revolve around the box.
Here are a few steps that you can do to make it more educational or even to minimize you child TV time:
(1) Have your kids watch TV programs, not just TV.
This means planning ahead with your child what she wants to watch and turning off the TV when the program is over. “The idea is that you’re making a conscious decision to watch something instead of simply flipping around the channels to find something on. Television should be an engaging activity, not simply mind-numbing time to ‘chill out,'” says Nell Minow, author of The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and the mother of two teenagers.
(2) Tell the kids that the TV free-for-all is at an end.
Explain to them that the level of TV viewing has reached a point of no return and that other activities in life are being neglected. Then tell them that the TV time is going to be regulated from now on. There will be no whining, there will be no arguing, and there will be no typical clever rationalizations that kids are famous for. Stick to your decision – TV time is being axed!
(3) Change up their Routine.
Do not say a word but leave a surprise for them like Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon has done by putting art supplies on the kitchen table when they wake up in the morning.
(4) Make it inconvenient to watch television.
Too much of the time, television becomes a backdrop to family life – it blares away in the den or family room while the kids are playing, mom’s cooking, or the family is eating. “We purposely didn’t put a TV on the first floor of our house so that watching television would require a deliberate decision on everyone’s part to either head to the basement or to the master bedroom,” says Katie Sellers, a New Jersey mother of two kids.
Keeping the TV in a closed armoire also helps tame habitual watching. Hiding the clicker isn’t a bad idea either because it tends to discourage channel surfing. Educators agree that no child should have a television in his bedroom.
(5) Develop a TV reduction plan.
In consultation with your kids, sit down together and plot TV viewing time. Get a copy of the weekly TV schedule from your regular paper or magazine. Ask the kids which show they like the most. Then tell them that those are going to be the only programs they can watch. Also consider allowing a time limit of 1 – 2 hours per day (or less, especially on school nights etc.) of viewing and no more. If there are more programs than hours allotted, the kids will be forced to choose.
(6) Challenge Them
We have been known to resort to challenges at our house. Friendly competition, really. It always works to say something like, “Let’s see who can … ” and give them a challenge such as who can find the most circles, or who can draw the biggest castle. We’ve also done the Family Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt, which incorporated my girls’ gadgets with photography and exercise.
(7) Prohibit TV and videos during playdates.
Kids need time to play and interact with their peers – television only acts as an impediment. Make a firm rule in your house, and let other parents know that you would like them to respect your ‘no TV on playdates’ rule when your child is visiting their home, too.
(8) Go cold turkey for the whole family.
All for one and one for all. One drastic measure is to get rid of the TVs. Yes, it is drastic but if you have a family that is highly addicted to TV, it may be the only way to kickstart this plan. Give the TV to a family member or friend to keep for a week to a month whilst the whole family goes cold turkey and relearns what they used to do before the TV was invented. One word of warning – do not turn to the internet, video games and other sources of electronic entertainment in place. Instead, bring out those old board games, playing cards and jigsaws to do together as a family.
(9) Record shows ahead of time if possible.
Children’s TV shows are filled with ads for junk food that make kids crave snacks. (Some experts say this is one reason TV watching is linked to childhood obesity.)
Recording shows to watch later not only saves you viewing time, but also lets you zip through commercials for junk food, violent movies, and toys. You can also pause a show to talk about what you’re watching. If you don’t record shows, hit the mute button during the commercials.
(10) Be a role model.
Certainly, peer pressure has an influence on our kids’ TV watching habits. But ultimately, as with everything else – violence, eating habits, racial attitudes – children are most affected by the example we parents set.
If they see you mindlessly flipping channels, if you ‘shh’ them while you watch your favorite sitcom, that’s the attitude they’ll eventually adopt. On the other hand, if your kids see you eagerly sitting down every so often to watch something and concentrating on what you’re seeing, they’ll recognize the potential for enjoyment TV actually promises.
You have some other suggestions that you like to share? If so, please leave your comments or questions below and I will be more than happy to get back to you. I would love to hear your feedback.