Tips for limiting your child’s television, computer and video game time

Since 1999, Children’s overall time spent watching tv has more than doubled to SEVEN hours a day! Parent’s should be very concerned as your child could develop struggles with school, attention problems, sleeping and eating disorders, obesity etc…

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of entertainment media time for a school-aged kid. This should be something semi-educational and definitely non violent!

It’s just not like how it used to be. Kids today carry cell phones, have computers, ipods and tv’s in their rooms. Parent’s should take into consideration limiting time on these things.  If kids start using all these things at younger ages, they are going to become dependant on them for their entertainment..which is not good!

Here are some tips for cutting back!

You don’t have to make them stop watching tv or playing their video games cold turkey. This might really cause conflict. Instead, make gradual changes. Come up with a plan on your own. For example,  limit all electronics to two hours a week.

Explain to your child in a calm and collective manor why you are doing this. Explain the importance of why it’s not good to always be watching tv or playing video games. Keep in mind, in the long run, you all will benefit from limiting time on these things!

Having a tv in your child’s room is not the best idea. It can interfere with their sleep, can lead to overeating, obesity, and they are more likely to develop behavior problems. Keep the computer and tv in a central location so you can monitor the time and what they are watching.

Create a schedule! Once you’ve established a limit, sit down with your child and let them figure out how they are going to use that time. Maybe make a chart and let them fill it out when they’ve used that time for the day. Then move onto something else! Try not to have the tv on during dinner times either! Honor the agreement. “If kids have a say in the schedule, they’ll be more likely to follow it,” says Paul Ballas, DO, a child psychiatrist in Philadelphia, PA. Out of site, out of mind. If the tv or computer is hidden behind doors or under a blanket the kids are less likely to be drawn to it.

Don’t use electronics as a babysitter. Do things with your kids! They will far more benefit from hanging out with you than watching cartoons all day. Encourage other activites… reading, puzzles, board games, playing outside, ice skating at your local arena, playing tennis, going to the park, inviting a friend over, doing an art project, going for a walk. There are endless activites out there..if you’re having trouble thinking of more, ask us for more options or google some.

Remember, you all will benefit in the end from limiting these things. With patience, perserverance and consistency you can help your kids scale back. Good luck PIC parents!

Some information was used from an article written by Winnie Yu, courtesy of www.medmd.com

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Picture courtesy of http://www.childpsych.co.za/barriers-to-learning/rid-tv-kids-sake/

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