Be the Bad Cop
It is your job to encourage healthy behaviours and limit unhealthy ones – and this sometimes means making unpopular decisions. Make these tough decisions for your children and always go the next step of explaining why you have made the decision – this will help them follow through and someday choose it for themselves.
Be the Good Cop
Your child will eventually end up imitating you, so be careful. Children will always gravitate toward the modelled behaviours of their parents. If they see you reading a book, they are more likely to read. And if they see you watching television, so will they.
Limit screen time
If you are not going to turn off the television completely, choose the appropriate television viewing windows for your kids. It is much easier to limit their viewing habit if they understand that they can only watch one show in the morning and one show after school (as just an example).
Don’t substitute your play time with TV time
For many parents, it is just easier to turn on the television than to actually be involved in the lives of their children. But those intimate life details are required for successful parenting. So observe, listen, ask, and parent.
Dinner time is Family time
Many families have the TV on during meals. That’s too bad because a family’s richest conversations will always take place during meals or in the car. Value those times with your kids. Don’t let the TV steal them from you.
Your child’s behaviour will change; observe it
Television has an immediate impact on your child’s behaviour. After too much television/video games, children tend to get irritable, aggressive, selfish, and impatient. This can be observed as soon as you walk into the room. Be on the look-out for these behavioural changes. When you start to notice them yourself, you’ll be less inclined to put your kids in front of the screen.
Cut the problem at its source
If you want a sure-fire way to limit your child’s television viewing habits, cut your cable/satellite television feed or remove your television completely. It will definitely have an impact on your family’s chemistry. You’ll end up looking at each other’s faces more and in turn communicating more.