Say you realize the TV is on just too much of the time, or on in the background more than it should be. And maybe we have all had this scenario: your kiddo gets the flu. A week of vegging in front of the TV, seven My Little Pony marathons and three Tinker Bell movies and an Alvin and the Chipmunks double-header later, your family's usual screen time habit is a wreck. How to get the routine back on track? Here are five tips for you to try:
-- Ease into healthy viewing. Don't all of a sudden say no TV or computer games at all. Start with knocking it down one show or an hour every two days or so. This won't be
-- Start replacing screen time with music time. I know I like something on in the background of my day, and your kids may be the same way. Introduce the power of music. Find some cool tunes to switch on instead of switching on a show and break out some other activity to do while listening to the music.
-- Make a chart and keep a schedule. Do this with your kids so they fee like they have ownership and choice in when they get to have their limited screen time. Lay down your ground rules (not on during homework or meals and so on) and then let them pick and choose.
-- Have other activities accessible and ready. If the puzzles and games and crafts are all behind a closet door, your kids are more likely to opt for the Wii or video game or TV show that they see right there mounted on the wall or on top of the entertainment center. Be sure great other choices are there in plain view. Another great idea: write down "puzzle," "scavenger hunt," or "art time" or other activities and put them in a bowl you keep by the TV. When they can't decide or think of something to do, have them pull one out a slip of paper and do what it says.
-- Watch when they watch and talk about what they see. Chit-chat about the storylines, and why those ads always make toys seem like we MUST have them. All of this is not only great for your kids to see that shows are not something just to zone out to, but it also lets you check in on what they are watching, if it is age-appropriate and decent for them.
Share your tips for tackling screen time!