Let Them Roll in the Mud – How to curb your child’s television appetite

Tree houses and creeks can help to curb the television appetite!

I remember the excitement of staying up late to watch music award shows as a child. It was such a treat because my parents rarely allowed us to watch television. The rules of the house were no television on weekdays and no television on weekends, unless homework and chores were finished.

Of course, I was raised in the 80s when cell phones, high tech video games and iPads did not exist. So instead of spending my time glued to an electronic box, I rode my bike, climbed trees, read books, and visited friends to stay entertained. As an adult I do watch television, but I can only bear it in small increments. Now don’t get me wrong, I do have a few “can’t miss” shows that I DVR. But it is not a challenge for me to avoid television completely.

My children, on the other hand, are another story. In my home there is a delicate balancing act. Since the rules for my husband were different growing up, we compromised to grant television time in moderation.

televisionWith our two oldest, the rules were pretty stringent and similar to my upbringing. No television on school nights, however weekends were free game. The two younger children have a little more flexibility. A five-year gap changes everything! Although they do watch during the week, the show must be educational, i.e. Animal Planet or History Channel. They can also play on their tablets for a few minutes during the weekday if they have completed homework, bathed, and finished dinner.

I no longer cringe at their television time. It was an adjustment; but the good thing is that they love the outdoors and usually opt to play in the tree house or the creek instead of sitting in front of the television.

A few pointers on getting your kids away from the television.

  1. Incentivize the viewing
    If your children like television, attach it as a reward for a job well done.
  1. Play a board game
    Purchase games such as Uno, Candy Land, or Apples to Apples and make it a family fun night.
  1. Practice for athletic activities
    If your children play sports, they may prefer practicing for the next game.
  1. Discover a book series they enjoy
    My boys loved the Captain Underpants series and were excited to own the collection. They spent hours reading the books.
  1. Let them roll in the mud
    Don’t worry about the kids getting dirty. Have them change into “play” clothing, and they will roll around for hours at a time.
  1. Encourage imagination
    If your children love spy games or playing house, encourage their imaginations. Join them in the action as they dramatize intriguing tales.
  1. Workout
    If you workout at home after the kids return from school, let them join in the fun. Put on some good music and watch them get excited.

What else would you add to the list?




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