How many years do you think you’ve watched TV? Believe it or not, I’m not talking how many years that television viewing has been a part of your life I’m talking about entire years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that by the time the average person reaches age seventy, he or she will have spent the equivalent of seven to ten years watching television — and that was back in 2001!

Isn’t that crazy to think!? I thought you might be interested because I hear all the time from parents that media use is a huge struggle.

Of course, the challenge includes all screens, but today I’m just talking TV.  I’m pretty sure none of us set out to spend years of our life watching television or want that for our kids.

So if you’re ready to make some changes to the amount of time your kids watch TV but are worried they’ll have a meltdown when it’s time to shut the tv off, I have an important first step for you.

There’s one thing will help you feel more confident and in control rather than hopeless and overwhelmed with making a change – it’s a mindset shift.

Rather than thinking “My kids won’t turn the TV off!” shift to “How can I support my kids to turn the TV off?” It’s a slight shift in perspective but such an important one.

Can you see the possibilities that open up?

Now you can begin to think along the lines of I CAN:

  • Set expectations before the TV is turned on. How many shows or how long can they watch? When is the next time they can watch? “You can watch one show today and tomorrow we’ll have movie night!”
  • Put limits on when and for how long they can watch. Pay attention to your child’s behavior after they watch TV and use that to guide you in setting time limits.
  • Set a timer to signal when TV time is over. A timer that’s in another room and that requires your child to physically shut it off can help pull them away from watching. 
  • Invite them to do something fun like play a game with you outside. No one likes to leave a desirable activity for an undesirable activity. What’s something they would look forward to?
  • Be firm and consistent with the rules. When you allow two shows one day and four the next kids don’t know what to expect and will have a harder time.  

Change can take a while and your kids may push back, but if you decide how you want to handle that ahead of time you won’t be caught off guard and just react. You’ll be able to calmly respond just as you planned.

Want more ways to gain cooperation and make it more likely your kids will listen? Grab your guide here: