Television, or screens in general, can be an unhealthy distraction for kids from things and activities that really deserve their time and attention. There’s no dearth of parents who complain that their toddler watches TV all day. But most of them do not take any serious action as they don’t want to risk their relationship with their child. As they usually know the harm that screen time does to the physical and mental health of their children, it makes the situation of parents extremely difficult.
What to Do When Your Toddler Watches TV All Day?
It can be a real pain pulling their child away from these ‘magnetic’ screens like television. Addiction to television is common in kids, right from toddlers to teenagers. Parents need to take certain steps to bring this situation under control. There have been a few ways devised by experts as to what measures can be undertaken in order to address this issue.
1. Provide better alternatives:
Once in a while, take your kid out to parks or play areas where they can make new friends and be exposed to the outside world. If your kid is old enough, you can ask them to accompany you to zoos, museums, libraries or science centers; whatever picks your child’s interest. Whichever way you opt for, it will undoubtedly be better than spending time watching TV. This way, you can replace TV time with well-thought alternatives to keep your child engaged and interested.
2. Limit your child’s screen time:
You, being a parent, can control your child’s TV and set limits as to how much they are permitted to watch each day. They may throw tantrums or oppose you at first, but you will always have the last say. Set rules like dismissing TV during mealtime. Reward them by extra TV time if they behave well or perform well at school or help you out with chores, and the likes. Likewise, you can also cut down on their TV time as punishment if you see their behavior getting out of hand.
3. Sign up for Netflix or Any Other Internet Media Service Provider:
One of the most effective ways to cut down on your child’s TV time is to disconnect your TV service. Get them a Netflix or Internet TV which will enable them to only watch certain movies or shows under your supervision. They will gradually move out of the habit of binge-watching TV and will turn to occasional TV sessions instead.
4. Spend time with your children:
This may not sit very well with teenagers or older kids but works best with the younger lot. Start a conversation with them as soon as you can sense them moving toward the TV. Ask open-ended questions and keep them engaged. Involve yourself and take interest in their affairs. Encourage them to take up extracurricular activities at school which will keep them engaged even after school hours. Train and practice with them. Use these measures and make sure that they don’t exceed their daily TV limit.
5. Change the location of the TV:
Of course, it is not possible to completely hide your TV or tuck it away in a corner out of reach of your children (especially when your toddler watches tv all day). Despite this, the least you can do is keep it away from direct sight. Confine your TV to the extra space in your spare room or anywhere else, save your living or dining room. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about your kids preferring the TV first thing when they enter the house. If not, you can also try covering up your TV within a cabinet or closet so that it is not easily accessible.
6. Practice what you preach:
You, as parents, need to limit your TV time too; after all, kids learn from their elders. Cut down on your TV time when your kids are around. Invest your time with them or doing something productive in their presence instead of whiling away your hours in front of the TV. Your kids will eventually, subconsciously, adopt this habit too. Occasional binge-watching doesn’t hurt, but try not to make it a habit, especially when your kids are concerned.
The ways or plans mentioned above are all well-thought and practiced. However, this does not mean that you cannot be innovative in this matter. Kids are diverse and unpredictable. What works with some kids may not work with others. Alter your methods as per your child’s behavior. Resort to what sits well with them. You can even take help from close and trusted relatives or grandparents if they have a certain influence over your child.
It is bad indeed if your toddler watches tv all day, but it isn’t that bad if they watch it every once in a while. So, remember to take it slowly and patiently, and don’t push them. They are just children after all and will give up their addiction if something else appeals to them better. Use this to your advantage, and you will never again have to worry about your kid whiling away their precious time glued to the idiot box.