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How to Tame the Television Obsession

by Tania Cowling | February 19th, 2014 | Elementary, Social

ping pongIn my previous article, “Who Controls the TV Remote at Your Home?”, we discussed the behavioral issues of kids who watch too much television – now it’s time to learn how to resolve this problem. Below are a few ideas to try with your children.

Centralize your television in a room for family entertainment. The living or family room is the perfect place to watch a show together and bond as a family. Having a television in an elementary-aged child’s room is an obstacle when doing homework and difficult for parents to monitor and supervise. Also, don’t use television as a boredom buster or punishment — only use it to watch specific, planned shows.

Have a meeting with your child and use the TV Guide to find entertaining and educational shows. Pre-select your choices and post a list. Make sure to watch at least a couple shows a week with your child and then discuss them afterwards. Talk about the story sequence, the characters, the values of the show, and if your child liked the show and why.

Enforce rules in your home about when television can be viewed. For example, if your child’s favorite show is right in the middle of homework time, agree to tape it for a later time. Reinforce that television is entertainment and homework is a necessity to succeed in school and future life.

Do not use television as a reward. There are other alternatives to rewarding your child for a good deed, such as an outing like a special dinner or ice cream sundae, a trip to a sporting event, or maybe doing an arts and crafts project together.

Find Other Means of Entertainment

Why not turn off the television for a period of time, daily or weekly, and delve into other ways to entertain the family? Here are a few ideas.

Enjoy nature as a family. Have you taken a true nature walk where you observe the changes that each season brings? Or have you ventured outdoors in the evening to surveil the night sky for brilliant stars and how the moon changes shapes? Whether you are walking in the woods or at the beach take a small bag to collect small findings that you can take home for observation and to use for crafts at a later date.

Family game night is always a favorite, but allow no electronics. Dust off the board games or bring out a deck of cards and play games that will not only get the family giggling, but also foster thinking skills and coordination.

Keep your art box loaded with materials and make craft projects together. From painting to collage making, to molding clay with the hands, art definitely develops fine motor skills and creativity. Don’t forget to display your children’s artwork and praise them for their efforts.

Then, there is reading, listening to music, playing dramatic games like charades – the list is endless. Just make sure you are a good role model. If you get hooked on the television, so will your kids. There is so much more to life than just watching the tube — live life and enjoy it!

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