Absolutely! Start early in childhood and it will become a habit. Use it as a reward. Ration the number of hours in front of the TV. Explain why they should not watch so much TV so they are in collaboration with you. Then get them to engage in more creative stuff or outdoor play where possible.
I really didn't have to do that much. They came home from school and we would talk and sit at the table and do homework. Or they would be outside and play with friends for a little bit, then do some homework, dinner and then we would watch TV together.
Saturdays they watched a little more TV in the early morning hours, say 8 to 10 before everyone was up and around.
Sunday afternoon we would watch a rented movie during the winter (North Dakota - only crazy people played outside!)
As fas as what works, we were the parents and if we said turn off the TV, it was done, or I did it and we found something else to do. They didn't argue the point, they were excited to be off on some other adventure.
Definitely -- we watch a movie together as a family after dinner most nights, and otherwise the darn thing stays off. We have a large yard, we have toys that require imagination, we have board games, we have craft supplies, and now my kids are getting old enough where books are also a more constant form of entertainment. This is just the way we've always done it, so the only questioning we ever get about it is occasionally from my older son -- when he's with his biological father, he has nearly unfettered access to TV and video games and sometimes balks at having to use his imagination, but given his choice he always takes board games or card games with other family members over video games.
I better not to limit that and I take them for outdoor activities
Absolutely no TV during weekdays. If the TV is on in the early evening, it is on a radio station, usually for music. No images. After 7 o'clock, it is invariably off. Our kids are in their early/mid teens. Weekends they can watch as much as they want during normal waking hours but they don't tend to do this. We have done it for years and the arrangement doesn't bother them. Works beautifully for us adults too.
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