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How to Stop Your Child from Watching Too Much Television

Updated on June 20, 2013

Kids Watch Up To 32 Hours of TV Per Week

According to Nielsen 2 to 5 years olds watch up to 32 hours a week of TV. Their older counterparts are not far behind either. Kids from 6 to 11 years old watch up to 28 hours per week of TV. Naturally, they watch less TV because they attend school during the day.

Television plays a prominent role in the lives of many people from reality shows to the 24 hour news cycle. There will always be someone willing to depart from their daily routine to watch an impending train wreck on TV. That’s why those shows are still on TV.

Too Much TV and Childhood Obesity

Could a violent cartoon lead to your child to commit violent acts?


It may. You decide.


What effect does too much TV have on our children?

When our children spend so much time watching television they spend less time doing things that might improve their lives. They forgo outdoor activities like riding bikes, playing football or basketball to sit in front of the television. The problems of being inactive are a handful from potentially becoming obese and not learning the necessary social skills to survive in life. Too much television takes away from vital activities like spending time with friends and family members, reading books and making discoveries.

Too much television encourages passive behavior and limits your child’s ability to develop their academic capacity. Sitting and watching television all day is not productive. Some studies have found that too much exposure to television violence increases a child’s tendency to become aggressive.

Think about this: how many times have you seen Bugs Bunny hit Elmer Fudd upside his head?

Did you think it was funny?

Do you think your child thinks it funny?

Will your child mimic this behavior and hit another child?

Violence is not acceptable. Some of these “child appropriate” TV shows falsely make us believe that it is.

Even the Bears Have Problems With It, Learn How they Solved It

Learn How to Set Limits

Balancing The Benefits and Risks of TV

For all of the negative aspects of television, there are some valid points for watching it. Educational programs like Sesame Street and on stations such as PBS teach reading, math and social skills. Nature programs found on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet are also helpful. They introduce children to nature, plant and animal life. Other programs that introduce children to other cultures, localities and lands play pivotal roles in how a child thinks about the world.

Give Your Child the Best of Both Worlds

Weaning children away from television altogether is not appropriate. As mentioned above there are some beneficial aspects of television that may help to boost your child’s development. Like most things, children need stability.

Television is a tool. It can be used to inform, entertain or divert ones attention from more important activities. The first two uses of televisions are most effective, but they should go hand in hand with your family’s values.

Here are a few suggestions to limit how much television your child watches

Determine how much TV time is enough

  • For the next 7 days note how much time they watch
  • Reduce and limit that time by 50%

Determine When The TV Should Be Turned Off –below are some examples;

  • Children should not watch TV while doing homework
  • Children should not watch TV past their bedtimes
  • Children should not watch TV until their chores are finished

Determine What's Appropriate To Watch

  • Determine based on your values if your children can watch reality shows
  • Determine what ratings are suitable for your children to watch based on your family values

Finally, the best way to wean children off TV is to replace it with things that interest them. All parents should know what their child likes and dislikes. If your child is into art, purchase some colored pencils or crayons and arrange a date for them to create artwork. Join them if you want to deepen the relationship with your child while they are doing something they love. If you are unsure of your child’s likes, ask them or develop a new hobby together. Look around there are so many things for your child to do besides watching television like riding a bike, taking a walk, helping you in the kitchen, assembling a puzzle and my favorite one – reading a book.

What do you think?

How can you or do you replace TV time with more effective ways of being and doing for your child?


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    • livelifeworryfree profile image

      Princess Clark 4 years ago from The DMV

      @clairewait love that idea. That's a great tip for new parents. I wish I had known that before, I got my children hooked on Barney singing, "I love you and you love me...." Thanks for the sage advice.

    • clairewait profile image

      clairewait 4 years ago from North Carolina

      It is easier to avoid the bad habit in the first place. We've always used TV as a reward, which makes it all the more sweet when it provides the much needed breaks from bickering and parental entertainment.