Screen time has become an increasingly common problem in children’s lives today. More and more activities are surrounded around TV that it has become more difficult to pry your children away from it each day.
Excessive TV time can cause a host of issues for your child, including difficulty staying focused, unhealthy weight gain, irregular sleep patterns, and even lowered academic performance. Ensure that these issues will not happen to your children by limiting their screen time. Here are a few ideas to help you limit the TV time in your own home.
Don’t leave the TV on unnecessarily
Many of us get into the habit of leaving the TV on all day as “background noise” while we are at home. This not only wastes energy, but it can be a major distraction to your and your children. Only have the TV on when you are sitting down to watch something, and leave it off the rest of the time. If you need some noise, try listening to the radio instead.
Set daily time limits
Give your kids daily limits to the amount of TV they can watch. Base this around their age and behavior. Older kids can be entitled to more TV time, but try to keep it less than 2 hours a day no matter how old your children are, especially on school nights.
If your children misbehave, take away some TV time as a punishment. This will give your children constructive discipline as well as reduce their overall TV time.
Give rewards for watching less TV
As mentioned before, you can use TV time as a way to teach your child healthy habits and manners. Give your child a reward for watching less than the allotted TV time each day. Make the reward something that improves the health and well-being of your child. Some examples of this include more outside play time, a healthy snack, or an educational activity like a puzzle.
Use the functions of your TV or service provider
Many service providers, like DIRECT TV, offer parental guidance rating and setting to help you better monitor your child’s TV time. You can block certain channels, shows and movies as well as set limits on how long and how late in the day your child watches TV using the service. Check with your provider to see what services you have available and learn how to use them to your best advantage.
Many TVs also have timer settings on them, so you can set the limit for how long your child watches TV. This will turn the TV off after the set time and give your child no excuse to find another activity to do.
Avoid eating while watching TV
This is a habit that anyone and everyone should try to break. Watching TV while eating not only encourages more screen time than necessary, but it can also lead to over-eating and weight gain.
Have everyone sit around the dinner table to eat each meal, and allow TV time only after your child has eaten an appropriate, well-balanced meal.