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How to Manage TV and Video Games in the Household


Aside from the internet, children are almost always tied to the TV and video games. One of the challenges of parents in the digital age is managing and setting limits in their children's media consumption. Just like everything else, too much screen time won't do any good at all. But how much is too much? Find out with these TV and video game time management tips.

Assess the Situation

Find out how involved your kids are with the TV, video games and the computer. What kind of shows are they watching? How many hours a day are they spending in front of the screen? Have you observed negative effects on your children's behavior as a result of excessive TV and video game exposure? Do a mini-inventory of your children's typical weekday and weekend. Find out their usual daily activities such as playing video games, watching TV, playing outside, doing their homework and reading books.

You might want to check on the quality of shows and games your child is exposed to. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, inappropriate content plus longer hours spent in front of the screen will most likely lead to obesity, increased aggression, decreased school achievement and increased likelihood of substance abuse.

Keep Things in Balance

Once you've assessed both your child's media and non-media consumption activities, it's time to intervene, made adjustments and keep things in balance. The rule of thumb is the younger a child is, the less screen time that should be allowed. Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 2 years old should not even watch TV at all, while preschool children can watch an average of 2 hours of TV a day.

Provide Exciting Non-Media Activities

Show your child that there's a life full of fun outside the TV screen. Instead of spending too much time telling your child to turn off the boob tube, provide exciting and fun non-media activities and responsibilities that will make him turn the TV off without you reminding. These activities could include playing flashlight tag with friends and other family members, maintaining a fish tank or biking outside. Encourage your children to take part in non-digital hobbies such as sports and playing musical instruments.

Establish Consistency

Be consistent and firm with the house rules. If you want to them to finish their homework and chores before they spend some time in front of the screen, be firm about this. If their favorite show is on the TV while they're not done with their work yet, record the show for them to watch it at a later time. This household rule usually works: No TV or video games on weekdays and limited screening time on weekends.

Look into Healthier Alternatives

When it comes to video games, look for games that are age-appropriate. There have been a growing number of age-appropriate games available in the market such as Care Bears, Dora and the Curious George on Nintendo and Game Boy. Also look for games that allow multiplayer roles so you can interact with your child or make it a social experience for them.

Consistency is the key to managing TV and video games in the household effectively.


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