It was only 6:19 in the morning and Arike was all set for school.
“Should I get baba Driver to take me?”
School being less than 20mins away, I encouraged her to use up the gained time on something productive. After all, baba Driver won’t be ready at this time and it wouldn’t add up to much just hanging by the car in wait.
“And it’s because he will be watching TV. I don’t know why he likes to watch the TV on weekdays when he knows there’s work”.
I smiled inwards… how children take the learning, if only we can be consistent!
TV, games, phones etc has become an inseparable past time of the budding generation. Truth be told, there’s a lot that parents do to contribute to the battles over their children watching TV. For instance, with so many on your to-do list, you may find yourself using the TV as a tool to keep everyone sane.
It starts small, with your toddler watching a cartoon which has turned favourite while you joggle to put dinner together or your schoolager successfully negotiating an extra 15 minutes of TV just before homework or bedtime.
So what are the alternatives? If we look, we’ll discover that there are so many alternatives to screen time. The good old board games, crafts or the mere service of having a pet- chicken, turkey, rabbit, cat, fish, snails or gardening or bicycling, football or other sports within the neighbourhood are still as viable.
Cooking experiments are also ways to limit screen time and keep older kids away from excessive TV.
Ample research has proved that children shouldn’t have more than 7 hours of screen time per week… the sad reality is that some of our kids get that dosage (or more) in one day! Unfortunately, even with knowing these facts, parents sometimes (most times) feel powerless to curb the habit—especially since no one wants to listen to whining all day long.
Well, I’m going to encourage you to stop worrying and start acting. Here are three key strategies you can employ to regain control, and get your kids back to a reasonable amount of screen time.
- Set up a when-then routine. When all the ‘yucky’ stuff is out of the way (like family responsibilities, homework, reading, etc.), then you can enjoy your screen time—within the limits you’ve already set up.
- Quit negotiating. Each time you give in when your child tries to negotiate, you raise the bar for next time and send your child the message that everything is up for negotiation. You might think that allowing a few more minutes of video games is no big deal, but then a few months down the road you could have a child glued to the TV for an entire afternoon.
- Refuse to engage. Don’t get dragged into a negotiation, listen to whining or get sucked into a power struggle by simply stating the when-then, and then walking away. After all, if you stick around, you may find yourself giving in! Pretty soon, your kids will learn that no amount of whining will change your mind.
So don’t let children watching TV spoil your- and your kids’ -time. Reset your TV rules, and everyone will benefit. No whining necessary.
What are your family’s rules for screen time? What do you think is reasonable? Come over to our social media pages and let us know what you think.