How Much TV Time is OK?

I am a little worried about TV time. Some friends watch more than my kids, and some watch way less. What is right?

I would love to say none is best, but I know that can be tough. We need time. We want kids to be quiet and sit. We have things to do. There are also some things that we LIKE watching with our kids.

So how much is the right amount?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids 2-5 should watch no more than one hour a day. That includes any type of screen, be it TV, phone or tablet. Even educational games on electronics can have their downside.

Remember that kids learn best when activities and experiences are hands on.

When they feel it, see it, move it, pretend with it, interact with it. Yes, we interact with tablets and phones but it does most the work for the us. We just have to push buttons. Games CAN be an amazing resource but hours a day can cause short attention spans, irritability and create kids that have a hard time self starting, they need something to amuse them instead of creating amusement.

OK, so almost no electronics may sound impossible, but there were times when kids just played.

Remember those times? Sure, we had TV, but stuff for kids only showed up at a few select times, unlike now, when it’s 24/7 kid entertainment time. I know I’m gonna anger some folks with this, but using TV to babysit for hours on end can backfire. As I said, your kids will become less and less able to self start and find ways to beat boredom.

They will be less able to think outside of the box. Their curiosity can wane because electronics are such a quick and easy fun fix. Oh, and you see their zombie faces when they are watching TV and the frantic anger that happens when you try to shut it down. AAAACCCKK!!!  So what should you do?

Think about times when you REALLY want your kids watching TV.

Is it when you’re cooking? Do you like to watch together? Is it when the baby is sleeping? If you have specific times for TV, then you are less likely to go overboard.

You can also set your kids up with an activity if you need time. Blocks, colored tape and paper (no, really keeps my small friends busy forever), a cardboard box with stickers and crayons. You can even set a timer to be clear about how much time you need. Will it be perfect the first time? Probably not, but a time or two later things will go smooooooth as silk.

TV and electronics are an easy and successful tool in the parenting arsenal, but there is so much research about how it can have a negative impact when overused.

So look, I’m not saying that TV is bad – I LOVE TV. I am also 43 and not a toddler or child. With so many other things to keep them busy, let’s make TV the last resort.

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Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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