Kids often want to sit in front of the TV all day and night, watching shows back-to-back. However, most parents are aware of the downsides of too much screen time, like obesity, failing grades, and antisocial behavior. If you’re trying to figure out how to cut back on your kid’s TV time without going to war with them, try these strategies. Start by developing a system for managing TV time and providing fun alternatives kids can do instead. It may also help to reel in your own screen time so you can be a positive role model for healthy TV habits. Once you’ve described your family’s viewpoint on screen time, it’s important to develop a clear game plan. You won’t be able to enforce your plan if you simply say, “Okay, kids, everyone needs to cut back on screen time.” Instead, be specific on what they can and cannot do.
Keep screens out of sight. As the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” If TV isn’t in their face all the time, they won’t feel as tempted to watch it. Place TVs in only a few common rooms or tuck them away in cabinets until they need to be used. There are many interesting ways to “hide” the TV. You can find systems that slide behind artwork or are pulled down from slots in bookshelves or entertainment centers. In the case of other screens, it may help to store them in a cabinet when they aren't in use so that they aren't always within eyesight. Create a ticket system. To help your children transition into less TV time, develop a ticket system that clearly defines the amount of time they have for TV each day. For example, each ticket (worth 30 minutes of screen time) might go into a jar with each child’s name on it. They might be allowed two tickets per day during the weekdays and four on weekends.
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