Are your kids watching too much television? Have you fallen into the habit of using TV as a babysitting tool? Are YOU watching too much TV and setting a bad example? Is your TV viewing exposing your kids to age inappropriate content? Are you not sure how to break the habit? If you answered yes to one or many of these questions then you are certainly not alone.
Here are a five steps to help you and your family make television a less than central part of your family's together time and downtime:
Have a Family Meeting: Break the news that there are going to be new rules and guidelines for TV watching and explain why you think this is important. If you have TV’s everywhere like in all the bedrooms, cars, dens, bathrooms, kitchens etc (like most of us), remove them or even consider selling some of them online or donating them to seniors homes. Removing the temptation is key.
Put together a reduction plan: If you think you can go cold turkey then give it a try. But, it may be easier to get family buy in if you set out a plan that slowly reduces TV exposure. Try to work towards TV viewing a special occasion or family treat.
Provide alternatives: You’ll need to replace all that TV viewing with something. So, use your imagination or research online great alternative activities that you and your family can do instead of plopping down in front of the tube all day.
Re-introduce your family to the great outdoors: Probably the cheapest and healthiest alternative to sitting on your bum for hours and staring into the hypnotic telly is a walk to the coffee shop, park or library. I know it can a lot of work to get the kids bundled up on cold days or all lathered up with sunscreen on a hot sunny July day but once you get them out and yourself out you can burn off hours and feel better mentally and physically afterwards.
Reward good behaviour: Put together a fun way to reward the kids and even yourself for adhering to the TV reduction (or elimination) plan. Rewards can be a trip to the amusment or water park, or material things like new clothes or games. For you it could be gettng a babysiter and going for a massage.