In our house, we don’t watch TV during the week. We are just too darn busy to stop everything and watch a TV show, and by the time baby, school, homework, dinner and chores are finished, it’s time for bed anyway. Weekends are often full, too, but we are a little more flexible on TV time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of 1-2 hours of TV viewing per day for children. Honestly, that still seems like a lot to me.
To set some television rules for the children, here are a few guidelines to follow in creating a positive culture around TV in your household.
Decide when it’s okay and when it’s not okay to watch TV in your house. Make sure to follow these boundaries as adults, too, because it’s harder to enforce rules when parents don’t abide by them.
Decide What’s Okay To Watch
Let your kids know what shows are and are not allowed. It’s tough to monitor their TV viewing all the time if you’re working or in another part of the house, so make sure to have clear expectations beforehand. Try to be reasonable, allowing kids to watch shows that are appealing to them, as long as the show is something you can get on board with.
Who Gets To Pick The Show
If you have more than one child, this is a huge deal. Find some kind of system where each kid gets a chance to decide what to watch. This may mean switching weekends, or possibly switching hours (if you want to monitor that closely).
Enforcing The Rules
Decide on a set of consequences for if/when your kids break the rules. If the kids know exactly what to expect as a consequence, they’re less likely to break the rules.
Make Time For Family Shows
If TV time is something everyone participates in at some point, why not create a time for the whole family to watch together? Pick a show that’s at least somewhat interesting to all ages of your kids (and you!)
Discuss Commercials – Or Avoid Them Completely
My biggest pet peeve about TV is the commercials targeted to my kids. When they watch an hour of TV, they’re bombarded with advertisements for the latest technology and toys. I prefer to have my kids watch shows on Netflix, where they only see the shows – no ads.
TV can be a great way to spend a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon together. I’ve found some shows to spark great conversation at our dinner table. By setting your own boundaries, you’ll spend less time spouting rules and more time sharing family time.