No TV for Children

Tell the kids that the TV free-for-all is at an end. Explain to them 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 Whining, there will be arguing and there will be the typical clever rationalisations that kids are famous for. Stick to your decision –TV time is being axed!

 
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 shows they liked 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) of viewing and no more. If there are more programs than hours allotted, the kids will be forced to choose.
 
 
Turn it off. Only permit the TV to be on when the program is being watched. Do not allow it to turn as background noise. It will distract the kids and draw them back to it even if the program is not one that interested them initially. One option is to use an adapter to control the TV’s power supply, only allowing them to watch at certain times of the day.
 
 
Take TVs out of bedrooms. Just because a TV is affordable and keeps the kids out of your hair does not mean that having TVs in bedrooms is acceptable. Bedrooms are for peace, rest and quiet play. TVs do not instil rest and peace, especially not kids’ programs, which are deliberately aimed at keeping kids interested through energising them. Keep the TVs in public areas only: somewhere that is easy for you to monitor. If you have a larger family, you may need to consider an additional TV to avoid too many sharing clashes but in the main, sharing and compromise are two important skills to be teaching your kids.
 
 
Do not keep a TV/DVD/VCR in your vehicle. It’s amazing how many parents rely on a DVD or VCR in their vehicle to keep the kids “quiet”. Road trips or cars errands are a great time for kids to draw, read books, play with Barbie’s or Transformers talk with parents, listen to music or simply watch the surroundings out the window. Kids don’t need to be entertained all the time. Also no one needs to waste the extra money.
 
 
Encourage outdoor and sporting activities. Encourage older kids to go by themselves and play sports with friends. Enrol kids of all ages in sports classes, either team or individual, depending on your kids’ expressions of interest.
 
Reward adherence to the TV reduction plan. Once the TV reduction plan has become routine and all the kids are watching less TV reinforce their changed focus with rewards. The rewards might be activity based such as going to an amusement park or the theatre or they might be material, such as new clothes, books or CDs.
 
 
Set a good example. It should go without saying that your behaviour matters. What you do will demonstrate to the kids what is okay to do?  Watch less TV yourself, remove any TV from your bedroom, participates in the kids’ activities, and be active in sports, fitness and exercise. You will not only be setting your kids a great example but you will be doing yourself a favour, too. Just see how much time emerges in your day when you restrict the TV viewing.
 
 
Make it a rule that there is no TV before homework is done. Unwinding after school should be relaxing, not getting hyperactive in front if the TV.    
 
 
A good rule of thumb for TV watching is:
 
No TV for children at the age of 2. The TV can never be a substitute for learning about the world around them. One to two hours and no more per day for children aged over two. Also suitable for adults. Discuss your TV reduction with your kid’s friend’s parents. If they know what you want for your kids you can help stop TV watching away from home.
 
 
Do not replace the TV with the computer or video games. If you allow this, you may well be setting the kids up for an alternative addiction. Try to allow everything in moderation and with clear limits.
It is a good idea to monitor what your children are watching. If you don’t, you won’t know what they are seeing and this can manifest itself in very negative ways if they are witnessing violence, sexually explicit content, or even just too many advertisements. Remember, TV viewing must be quality, no matter what. More importantly, monitoring what they watch keeps you involved in your child’s life.
 
 
Discuss Television with your children and see what they think. Tell them what you want. If they become totally addicted, restrict any TV time.     
 
 
 

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