Most young families are so busy now that it seems they would not have time for television, but the habit can sneak up on you. Before you know it the television has become the default family activity most evenings.
This may be happening due to the ease and simple convenience of sitting down in front of the box of entertainment. The television is a great form of education and light enjoyment when handled with care and parental control.
The history channel and documentary channels are wonderful tools for your family to stimulate healthy conversation and expand knowledge. As are carefully chosen movies and specials.
But if you are feeling guilty about the amount of time you and your family spend in front of the TV, then it has probably become a bad habit that needs to be refined into a good habit. Here are some ideas to help your family cut back on the TV habit.
• Take a careful look at your kid’s school requirements first. Is there more homework assigned on certain nights of the week? Do they need your assistance with the homework?
• You may want to choose certain nights of the week that are strict “No TV Nights” in accordance with the heavy homework nights.
• You may choose to make TV only available on the weekends. Sometimes a clear-cut rule like this is actually easier to enforce than one that changes with the homework assigned.
• It is easier for children to stay away from TV if you stay away from it also.
• Experiment with a Family Game Night once a week instead of watching TV. There may be grumbling at first but stick with it and your kids will see that there are alternatives.
• Restrict daytime TV. The children who are watching TV as soon as they get home from school are not getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay healthy. Insist on keeping the TV off in daylight hours.
• Have a Video Night each week. As a family choose what video to watch or take turns letting each child have a choice.
• Do not have a TV in the kid’s bedrooms.
• Have a weekly Creative Night and gather supplies for painting, drawing, acting with costumes or making up dances or stories. Put your video camera to good use on these nights.
The years that we have small children in our homes may seem long when we are in the middle of them. But they go by quickly and cutting back on a non-interactive pastime of TV will help your relationship for years to come.