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Win the TV War with Your Children

With the weather cold and the days short, it’s often easy for children to spend more and more time watching TV. Here are some simple things to make this a good activity in your child’s life:

  • Decide together home much time they can watch TV a day
    Practice selective television viewing by going over the television guide in your Sunday paper and deciding in advance what you’re watching and when.
    Watch some of the television programs your child watches. This will allow you to make suggestions and to have discussions about what is being shown.
    Help your child to understand the difference between the world on television and his real world.
    Use television viewing as a springboard to reading. For instance, a TV show about wild animals could prompt a visit to the library to find books on these subjects.

Make them accountable for their TV time

An excellent idea to reduce the amount of time your children are watching television or playing video games is to help them understand accountability for their time. Make an agreement with your children that for each minute they play video games or watch TV, they must spend a minute in some sort of physical activity (playing outside, dancing, etc.) or cerebral activity (reading, drawing, etc.) More than likely, they’ll enjoy the other activities so much that they’ll forget to go back to their video game.

No TV at mealtime

A study released in 2002 from The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center showed that children who eat meals in front of the TV spend more time watching TV – more time than it takes to eat their meals. They believe this promotes overeating and minimal activity and thus increases the risk of childhood obesity. The children in the study who watched more than 2 hours of TV a day weighed more than the children of the same age who watched less than 2 hours of TV a day. So help your child to avoid watching TV while eating a meal by having “family meals” with the TV off.