Watching TV can be a great way to spend an evening together with your family, especially if the programming is appropriate for everyone and, ideally, a bit educational. It can be a tool to spark conversation and encourage further learning.
But watching too much can have adverse effects on all of us. It’s more difficult to interact and socialize when the TV is running, which is especially important for growing minds. TV encourages us to stay still and forgo any exercise. It’s an easy trap for kids (and adults!) to fall into.
Use these nine tips to keep TV time to a minimum in your home.
1. Use an online service rather than cable or satellite. You can save a lot of money by discontinuing your cable service. Instead, use an online service like Netflix or Hulu and rent the occasional movie. This also helps you pick exactly what you want, whenever you want, and you avoid the constant advertisements that tempt your children with the latest toys and gadgets.
2. Restrict TV hours. Pick an easy-to-remember schedule and stick to it. You could restrict TV usage on school days, or during daytime hours. You could only allow TV after dinner time if everyone’s homework is complete. Unplug your TV whenever it’s nice outside.
3. Define what “too much” means. Your kids can’t read your mind and they may not be aware how much TV they have watched. Define exactly how much you think is appropriate and explain the consequences for violating the rules. Let them plan to watch their favorite shows within the timeframe you allow.
4. Provide alternatives. Your children will gravitate toward the TV if they have nothing else to do. Give them some freedom to play in the yard. Make sure their bicycles work. If it’s winter, bring the board games out of the closet. Family games and activities can be far more entertaining than the latest episode.
5. Model good behavior. Your actions send powerful messages to your children. If you spend a lot of time in front of the TV, they will too, and your rules won’t have much meaning.
6. Remove TVs from the bedrooms. A TV in the bedroom may keep your child quiet, but you give up any control over what they watch, and they will undoubtedly watch more often than you would like. Only place TVs in public spaces in your house.
7. Restrict unsupervised access. Do you honestly know what your children are watching when you aren’t around? Studies show that children are exposed to inappropriate content, even during “safe” hours.
8. Decide which programs you’ll watch ahead of time. Limited time means your kids will have to agree on shows early. Use a guide to plan out what you’ll watch so they don’t waste their time mindlessly channel surfing. If your TV software allows it, record shows that air during non-TV time to watch later.
9. Don’t eat in front of the TV. People who watch TV often while they are eating tend to overeat because you are less likely to recognize how full you are. Further, when everyone is distracted, the family loses the bonding time they would normally have during a meal.
Written by Kim Webb, CEO and Founder of Rockin’ Green Soap
Finally it’s cool to be GREEN! Rockin’ Green is made for families that care about taking care of themselves and the Earth. As a mom Kim was fed up with the empty promises of “green” cleaning products that were not delivering what they promised… So she invented Rockin’ Green! We can all do our part for the environment while doing something good for ourselves. All of our organic cleaning products are biodegradable, and gluten and vegan friendly. They don’t contain phosphates, SLS, Parabens, or optical brighteners. All of our packaging is made from recycled materials.
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