Children Watching TV

Three Key Strategies To Win The Battle Over Children Watching TV

children watching tv

With children watching TV, it is not unusual to hear: “Just five more minutes!” You hear it all the—especially when you’re trying to get your kids away from the television or video games. And as summer kicks into high gear, you may already be wincing about the whining over TV time and video games.

Truth be told, there’s a lot that parents do to contribute to the battles over their children watching TV. For instance, with so many snow days that kept kids home from school this past winter, your might have relaxed your rules a bit to keep everyone sane.

It starts small, with your kindergartener watching an extra episode of Dora when she’s been inside all day, or your teenager successfully negotiating an extra 15 minutes of Madden football.

Parents that had a one-show-per-day rule may have allowed increasing amounts of tube time out of desperation to occupy stir-crazy children or to try to keep up with the office while working from home.

After all, there are only so many crafts you can come up with or board games you can play. Some parents even reported marked weight gain after baking cookies, muffins and bread with their kids this summer in an attempt to keep them happily occupied! So it’s no wonder many of us gave in to looser television limits.

But whether it’s too much children watching TV throughout the year, or just since school let out, lots of parents are starting to worry about what will happen over the rest of the summer months. We’re conscientious enough to know that our children shouldn’t spend bright summer days in front of the television, but we may feel powerless to curb the habit—especially since no one wants to listen to whining all day long.

children watching tv

Well, I’m going to encourage you to stop worrying and start acting. Here are three key strategies you can employ to regain control of the tube, and get your kids back to a reasonable amount of screen time.

1. Set up a when-then routine. When all the yucky stuff is out of the way (like family responsibilities, homework, summer reading, music practice, etc.), then you can enjoy your screen time—within the limits you’ve already set up.

2. Quit negotiating. Each time you give in when your child tries to negotiate, you raise the bar for next time and send your child the message that everything is up for negotiation. You might think that allowing a few more minutes of video games is no big deal, but then a few months down the road you could have a child glued to the TV for an entire afternoon.

3. Refuse to engage. Don’t get dragged into a negotiation, listen to whining or get sucked into a power struggle by simply stating the when-then, and then walking away. After all, if you stick around, you may find yourself giving in! Pretty soon, your kids will learn that no amount of whining will change your mind.

So don’t let children watching TV spoil your—and your kids’—summer. Reset your TV rules, and everyone will benefit. No whining necessary.

What are you family’s rules for screen time this summer? What do you think is reasonable? Come over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think.

About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.