We’ve all been there as parents. You need to do the dishes. Finish a scrapbook page. Make a phone call. So you switch on the tube for your kid. “Just until I’m done…” you think. Two hours later, you realize your kid’s been watching for way too long.
We made the resolution to turn off the TV about a year ago when we were visiting my parents. They have about 10,000 cool things to do, but all my boys could ask was, “Can we watch a show?” Enough was enough.
Not to say that we don’t watch any TV. This is our policy: No TV during the week (for the kids, anyway). They can watch shows on Saturday and Sunday as soon as their toys are picked up and their rooms are clean. It was not an easy change. We endured two weeks of “Can I watch a show?” whining nonstop. But now? They sometimes forget to ask to watch on the weekends because they are too busy playing
I have heard of other parents who use the “ticket” system. Each ticket is worth a certain amount of TV time. Kids can turn in a maximum number of tickets per day, or save them to redeem for a movie night at the end of the week. I’ve been thinking of trying this when my kids get older.
Whatever system you use, setting TV boundaries allows your kids to use their imaginations and create their own adventures. We have gone on treasure hunts, played hide-and-seek, pretended to be Santa, and hundreds of other scenarios that are too strange (and wonderful!) to describe here.
Another advantage to limiting screen time: I don’t turn on the TV during the day, and I get more done. It makes watching a show in the evening that much more relaxing.
How do you manage TV time in your house?