Cutting Back On Screen Time And SurvivingDr. Robb's Shortcuts
Like many families, we struggle to reach the goal of no more than 2 hours of screen time a day. . My family likes movies and we watch a lot of them (although there are only so many times I can watch The Little Mermaid).
So how do you actually wean kids from a 4-6 hour TV habit? It’s unrealistic to think that a child who watches 6 hours of TV will suddenly agree to a 2- hour limit without making life unbearable. For this reason, I recommend setting a goal of decreasing screen time by ˝ hour a week.
For younger children, using a timer and 10-15 minute warning (ideally during a commercial break) before time is up helps to diffuse the inevitable “fit” that follows an abrupt “Time’s up!” For older children, allowing them to choose 2-4 shows they want to watch helps to limit the tendency for one show to bleed into the next and gives them a role in making wise decisions with limited screen time.
Truthfully, the most difficult part of limiting TV time is having healthy habits of our own and the fortitude to follow through with our guidelines. I’ll admit it’s hard for me to not turn the TV on when I get home, but it’s well worth the effort. When screen time is limited, I find that we snack less because we’re not tempted by all the advertising. We replace “couch” and “mouse potato” time with more active time and we learn to work media into and around our schedules instead of the other way around.
~ Dr. Robb