Top 6 TV Rules Your Kids Should Follow

When you work at home there can be a temptation to let the television be the babysitter. In the presence of all the electronic devices that kids have access to, parents sometimes feel more comfortable in the communal sense of TV viewing. However, too much TV is still a problem.

Setting TV limits as part of a larger set of work-at-home ground rules benefits the whole family. While kids would probably prefer no limit on how much TV they can watch, rules that restrict TV viewing encourage children to learn how to entertain themselves and be comfortable playing independently.

Set TV Time Limits

kids' TV content rating - girls watching TV

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Limits on viewing could mean setting a number of hours per day or allowing TV only within certain timeframes or days of the week. You may set limits in other ways, such as only allowing a certain number of shows or episodes to be watched in a day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 1 to 2 hours of TV viewing per day for children.

Some families decide to only allow TV on the weekends during the school year. In summer, the rule might be relaxed somewhat, or you might decided to limit TV time during the hours the kids would normally be at school (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, for example).

Set TV Rules About What to Watch

While you don’t necessarily want to allow your kids to watch whatever happens to come on TV, you can’t be expected to immediately render judgment on a show while you’re working or otherwise occupied.

One way to easily avoid this issue is choosing a DVD or recorded TV show in advance. DVR to be an invaluable tool in regulating TV time. It allows parents to screen shows in advance.

From here, you might only allow your kids to watch what is on the DVR (that you recorded and previewed). This prevents them from stumbling on something that isn't appropriate to watch while randomly channel surfing.

Set TV Rules About Who Chooses the TV Show

If you have more than one child and don't want to spend your day refereeing fights, setting rules about how choosing how TV time is spent beforehand is a must.

Kids often make up rules themselves, but they are not always fair. While you do want to encourage your kids to work out conflicts on their own, you might need to tweak the rules they set to make sure everyone gets equal choosing and viewing time.

Plan TV Time Alternatives

While most kids like TV, it's not the only reason they watch it. Kids (and adults!) are prone to watching TV shows they really don't care about out of boredom. In fact, TV can be so hypnotic that people completely forget about what they could be doing instead.

Help your kids out by planning some independent activities and encouraging them to take a break from screens. If you work on a computer most of the day, you may find you benefit from these reminders, too!

Determine TV Rules Enforcement Strategy

If you have to keep checking to ensure TV time rules are being followed, then you probably aren’t getting that much work done.

To help curb the temptation to break the rules, clearly spell out the consequences for your kids if they watch more TV than is allowed, or they watch inappropriate shows.

Emphasize that TV viewing is a privilege. Most kids can grasp the idea that when you abuse a privilege it will be lost, but it also emphasizes that TV viewing is only a piece of their day—not what they should be spending all their time doing.

Make Time for Co-Viewing

Watching TV with your child, or co-viewing, gives you the chance to get a sense of the media and messages your kids are being exposed to. If you are concerned about what you see and hear, you'll have the chance to intervene.

Co-viewing gives families the opportunity to discuss TV shows and commercials, which helps kids become more sophisticated viewers.

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