Most parents would probably agree that arguments about the time spent in front of the TV are one of the main peace breakers at home nowadays. Checking the screen for a movie or TV series every now and then is of course harmless, but if turned into a regular habit, it could lead to dire consequences for your child, such as obesity, aggression or decline in the performance in school. If your little one is doing nothing else, but sitting hypnotized in front of the screen for hours daily, then you should definitely do something about it. However, this is much easier said than done, because normally children don’t like to be kept away from activities they find interesting. And in the end, cutting the cord is not really a viable option – there are several reasons to keep your cable TV and internet subscription that you should think about.
Reduce Time Spent in front of the TV
Naturally, the first thing to start with is to try to decrease the amount of time your children are watching television. Maybe you can introduce a reward system, where TV time has to be earned in exchange for good behavior, better grades at school or helping you with household tasks. Also, don’t be quick to forbidd total access to multimedia immediately, as you will probably face a riot in your home as a result. Be patient and enforce changes gradually, so the new rules don’t come as a shock for your kid. You can set a hard limit of an hour or two per day and make sure the kids don’t overstretch it.
Be a Good Role Model
If one of your children has a hard time accepting the fact that watching TV all day long is now a thing of the past, it would be only unfair if you continue to follow your favorite TV series. Being a parent requires a lot of sacrifices and it may be a good idea if you stop watching television yourself, just to set a good example for your progeny. Instead of yelling, try to explain calmly and in appropriate way to your children, why watching TV could be unhealthy and that you have a good reason for doing what you do. If your kids understand the dangers that come from media, they will be less likely to contradict you.
Introduction to New Activities
Just telling your kids to stop watching TV is not enough as you need to provide something in return for them to fill their time. You might want to introduce them to other hobbies, which don’t require staring at a screen for hours long. Nowadays there are plenty of creative ways to keep your offspring occupied. Provide your children with art supplies, board games, or you can start a project together. For example, ask your child for help in decorating the house or just spend some time together. If your children are old enough, books can be very powerful distraction from television as well. You can visit the local library together. Maybe your kids have hidden talents in areas like music or painting and they won’t be unearthed if you prevent them from staring at the TV every day.
Spend More Time Outside
Besides entertaining your children with games at home, you can also take the fun outside your home. Maybe if you show your kids some outdoor hobbies, they won’t miss television so much. Try to go for a walk in the park or visit a zoo. Regardless what it is, just go outside and enjoy nature. If you have a friend who has kids at a similar age to your children, you can organize play dates in the local park together. You can also introduce your child to various sport activities as well – like going to the pool or riding a bike. Spending more time outdoor playing can turn out not only a healthier alternative to watching TV, but also leave your little one with fond memories for the years to come.
Balancing is the Key
Of course, you don’t have to throw away your TV set so you and your family can lead a healthy life. Don’t forget that the more you deny your children something, the more they would want to defy your orders. Instead of aiming to remove any screen time for your little one completely, you can turn television into a powerful aid as a responsible parent. For example, you can let your children watch educational movies or documentaries from time to time or organize a family movie night once during the week. As long as staying in front of the TV is kept in moderation, there is nothing to worry about.