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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parenting Tips: Breaking TV's hypnotic hold

Sometimes it seems that children are totally hypnotized by TV. Their eyes glaze over as they star wide-eyed into the magic box. If this sounds like one of yours, sooner or later this will become an issue. How can a family game time, card game or coloring time compete?  
One of the best solutions I found was to make it all a contest. 

With one of mine we started by having the degree of TV connection be by chance. we made a grand announcement of "TV-Game Time." During that hour we played games, did puzzles, colored etc. together on the floor in the same room as the TV. We made a spinner and labeled it... TV on, TV off, TV sound only, TV picture only. We started by spinning every 5 minutes and adjusted the TV accordingly. No matter what the spin, we continued the activity. [Believe me 5 minutes was plenty long when it was a spin the child was unhappy with!]. Over the course of time we lengthened the amount of time between spins, we moved our on the floor activity center farther and farther away from the TV. Eventually we made a new spinner that had more sections with TV limited and only one "TV on" choice. 

The de-programming process was slow, but it worked. Slowly the child became less dependent on TV and more able to ignore its lure.  Even better, the other activities gave us the chance to teach the child other, more interactive, social, and positive activities to enjoy. Any other ideas to share??

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