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28
Mar

How to Help Kids Get By With Less TV and Video Game Use

by Tiffany in Children

How to Help Kids Get By With Less TV and Video Game Use - naturemoms.com

We will never be a TV free family. We enjoy our televisions and our gaming consoles here. We also have smart phones, tablets, and rokus. These are modern luxuries that we happen to love. It is all about keeping things in perspective though. Sometimes we need to do a technology cleanse (or detox) if usage is getting out of hand. We also need to remember that life should be experienced with all of our senses and not just viewed with a screen.

Kids may need assistance from mom and dad with this issue because they aren’t known for their abilities to self regulate (yet). This is an issue that could have profoundly positive effects on your family. Do you think you could resolve to live without television or computer games for  a week? An entire month? Okay maybe smaller… how about large block of time each day when no screens are allowed? You decide. The computer would be used for work purposes only (homework, jobs, and so forth) but not entertainment. And you couldn’t cheat by watching videos on the computer!

Do you think you could do it? If you’d like to take this plunge, here are some ideas on how to get started, and some of the effects your family will likely enjoy.

1. Hold each other accountable. If you’re going to do this, no one can cheat. Make sure everyone is on board, however reluctantly. Even if your kids do not want to go with it, as parents you need to make sure you stick to the resolution and keep the television and computer games off.

2. Focus on the positive – emphasize all the things you can do now. Has someone in your family always wanted to learn to ride a bike, explore a particular natural area, or view the stars? Now that you are unplugging for the month, take advantage of the free time and do those things. Point out that you are doing this-and-such activity (perhaps watching a meteor shower) because you aren’t watching TV or playing computer games.

3. Make plans to fill the void. Replace computer games with board games and card games. “Parlor games” are also fun, like charades. I like educational games like Wildcraft or cooperative games that each us to work together to meet a goal.

4. Read books as a family. In the days before visual and auditory media, families would take turns reading aloud to the family. Try Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or classics such as the Little House books.

5. Family members can learn to play an instrument, and have family “concerts” or recitals. Other skills that can be showcased in this way include drawing, painting, singing, sewing, and other crafts. Think how much your family will learn about each other this way.

6. Have a cookout. In fact, cooking outside saves a lot of energy, and you can engage in some really interesting energy projects this way. You don’t have to use fire to cook out, although that’s fine if your property allows. But you can also make a solar oven with aluminum foil and cardboard boxes. Let your kids build an outdoor oven like this and cook various foods.

7. Plan outdoor activities. There are concerns today that kids are not getting enough of the great outdoors. Go on hikes and explore the landscape. Use field guides to identify birds, plants, rocks, and other interesting things in your area. Look for the locations of natural springs and local waterfalls. Hunt for covered bridges in your area. Whether it’s cold or warm weather, there is something fascinating to discover in nature.

By the end of the month (or week) you probably won’t even miss the television or computer games. And your family will have a greater appreciation for each other and for what it is to live life and not just watch it.

Friday, March 28th, 2014

7 Comments

  • Emily

    In my home, I’ve found that I can almost always pull the kids away from the TV and other screens without any fuss if I offer to play something – and not just “hey do you want to play something?” but “Hey lets play this!”. Having a specific toy or activity or game in mind helps a lot. At least until they are preteen age or so, most kids love playing with adults if they have a fun idea for playing.

  • Chelsea Nicole

    Great tips. Although my are still toddlers I don’t want to get them in the habit of watching too much TV. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kristen

    Great tips! We go through phases (like Summer) where the TV is rarely on, but we slack in the Winter when we are stuck indoors all the time!

  • http://upliftingfamilies.com/ Christy Garrett

    I love these ideas, thank you for sharing.

  • Cinny

    Great ideas…I think it’s important for kids to have creative play and not just screen time.

  • kathleen kennedy leon

    I know I am in the minority too–but we only have a tv in the living room–none in any of the bedrooms and it can’t be on during dinner–great ideas to lessen what we watch now–thanks

  • http://www.eco-novice.com/ Betsy (Eco-novice)

    I found out about something my sister does that I think is really cool. She has two boys 12 and 10. In exchange for no screen time (except school related), they get to choose and plan a family vacation. Both boys opt for it every year. Now they don’t watch ZERO tv. They watch the super bowl and movies as a family. They can earn screen time as a prize if they do certain things (practice a certain amount daily for a week, for example), but there is no baseline automatic screen time. I think it’s a great idea and will probably steal it when my kids are older.