6 Strategies to Reduce TV Time

We all know watching excessive amounts of television is not good for ourselves or our kids. But how exactly do you go about reducing the number of hours your family spends in front of the box? That is challenge many parents in the U.S. are facing, according to a recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which outlines 6 strategies for parents to get their kids watching less TV.

The study showed that kids are watching 3 hours of TV per day, considerably more than the AAP recommendation of 1-2 hours for children over 2 and that families have, on average 4 TV sets in their house. Most kids (63%) have TV’s in their bedrooms and almost half the families (46%) have TV’s in their eating area.

According to the study, many parents agree in principle with the 2 hour rule, but do not seem to have any concrete strategies on how to reduce screen time so the researches devised 6 strategies to help parents.

  1. Pay Attention to How Much Time Children Spend Using All Screen Media.
  2. Do Not Put a Television Set in a Child’s Bedroom. Children with a television in their bedroom watch more television and have fewer rules about television than children without a television in their bedroom.
  3. Eliminate Background Television. An easy starting point for many families may be to turn the television off when it is on in the background or when it is not considered the primary activity.
  4. Limit Television on School Days.
  5. Identify Nonscreen, In-Home Activities That Are Pleasurable to Children. This one was tough for a lot of parents – they simply could not think of other things for kids to do at home. Many feared that they would have to become their child’s entertainment if they shut off the TV. If you are stumped, here are some ideas and some more and yet more.
  6. Do Not Put a Television in Household Eating Areas and Do Not Connect Television Viewing With Eating of Any Sort, Including Snacks and Meals. The study suggests that there may be a link between eating more energy-dense and less nutritious food when you eat in front of the TV.

3 responses to “6 Strategies to Reduce TV Time

  1. Great rules… We follow all of them. Most TV watching is limited to the weekend, or non-school nights. And I really hate having the TV on during the day.

    I’d add one thing to your list…. Stick with non-commercial TV. Advertising does some serious damage to kids. I know, I watched a lot of TV in my youth, and I remember the ads more than anything else. It creates such strong and unnatural desires in children too young to understand the marketing messages bombarding them.

    We don’t just sit down and channel surf. Instead, we rent DVDs (through the mail with Netflix) of TV shows, documentaries, movies, cartoons… Loads of great stuff out there. It’s a lot more fun to watch something without worrying about what inappropriate or obnoxious commercial might pop up right in the middle of it.

  2. I agree, Phil and the DVD idea is a great one. Isn’t it fantastic that soooo many TV shows are now available on DVD?

    I find it is harder and harder to find fully non-commercial programming on TV these days. I’ve become especially frustrated with PBS, ever since I tuned into Sesame Street a year or so ago and saw McDonalds as a sponsor.

  3. What GREAT Advise to Stay at home Dads. This is one of the biggest problems we have in my house! The Kids want PBSKids Sprout All the Time! It is like they are addicted to it!

    I have pasted this article, and link on the Stay at Home Dads Forum. http://www.stayathomedads.us

    Thank you!!!