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Control Your TV

 
   

LIFE AFTER TOO MUCH TV

Compared to watching television, almost any activity will stimulate greater intellectual development, nurture the imagination, reduce cynicism, and foster a closer child-parent relationship.

Many if not most of today’s parents were raised on TV themselves, so it’s not always self-evident that you can parent any other way. Much less is it self-evident exactly what to do instead of watching TV. In a nut shell, you can improve the quality of your family’s life by 1) Controlling the TV in your home, and 2) Providing alternative activities.

GET THE TV UNDER CONTROL

  • Do not put a television in a child’s room.
  • Do not allow unsupervised access to a TV.
  • Set a maximum amount of time that kids can watch TV each day or each week. (LimiTV Recommendation.)
  • Make agreements with your child on specific, acceptable programs, and specific time for viewing.
  • Videotape and play programs not broadcast at convenient times .
  • Use logical consequences when kids violate TV rules: take away all
  • TV for a specified period of time.

INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN IN THE PLAN

  • Discuss the reasons you want to limit TV; ask their opinions about the benefits and ill-effects of TV.
  • Set rules for acceptable programming, and ask your child which shows fall in or out of that range.
  • Make a list of the acceptable shows together; let the child write the list.
  • Set rules for the amount of TV watched each day or each week.
  • Some families give each child 30 minutes a day, some children have four hours a weekend. Some families let kids "pool" their minutes, other families count any time spent staring at a TV screen towards the TV allotment.
  • Discuss ground rules for TV viewing at others’ houses.

MODEL GOOD TV BEHAVIOR FOR YOUR CHILDREN

If your TV is on all the time, for viewing or background noise, this becomes the norm for your kids. Prove that life is better without TV by enjoying what you do. (When your child thinks back upon his childhood, do you really want most of his memories to be of you sitting in front of the TV?)

CONSIDER OTHER TV RULES WITH FAR-REACHING BENEFITS

  • Eat meals together, especially dinner, with the television OFF. (Benefit: family learns to communicate.)
  • Rooms must be straight before the TV comes on (Benefit: your children may be more compliant about cleaning when there’s a reward, and you will have a neater house.)
  • All homework must be completed before TV comes on. (Benefit: your child will finish his homework before the last minute.)
  • Turn off the television while doing homework (Benefit: child’s grades will usually improve.)
  • No TV if the sun is shining. (Benefit: your child may learn to appreciate the outdoors if it’s the only thing to do. At the least, she’ll learn how to check on the weather.)

Recommendation for Maximum Amount of Time Spent Watching TV by Children: LimiTV strongly recommends that Children be permitted to watch a maximum of one hour of TV on weekdays and 2 hours a day on weekends.

   
Kellogg Foundation Grant  
Annual TV-Turnoff Week
Feedback from Families
Activities for Children
Products to limit TV time

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