I’m Ready To Pull The Plug: 8 Ways I’m Going to Limit Screen Time

Image Credit: Edwart Visser on Flickr

I am ready to pull the plug. On TV, that is. It interferes with what could be a more productive and engaging life for both myself, Mr. G and Elliott.

The number of times I find Mr. G and myself sitting in front of the television each night when instead we could be doing something productive, or we could be having an engaging conversation, is starting to irritate me. When I’m sitting there watching TV, I know I should be doing something else, but after a busy day, I just can’t seem to move myself off the couch.

The same goes for Elliott, I’ll be honest in saying that he probably gets a little too much screen time and throws a tantrum when he is not allowed to watch it. That is our fault, we are the ones that need to be tough, we turn the TV on for him and it’s our decision not to.

I must admit though, the TV is rarely on through the day, only mornings and late afternoons and as parents we don’t sit and watch TV for long periods when Elliott can see, but I still think the amount of screen time he’s getting in the morning and afternoons is too much for my liking, time which can be much better spent.

There are times, however, when the TV is my friend. When I need to put dinner on and Elliott doesn’t feel like cooperating and isn’t happy to sit and play with his toys, I turn on the TV for 15 minutes to allow me to prepare dinner without a toddler pulling at my leg, pushing a chair over to the sink to turn on the tap and reaching for things on the bench. Have I told you that Peppa Pig is my saviour?

So how am I going to limit screen time in our house for both adults and toddler? Here’s 8 Ways I’m going to limit screen time:

  1. Continue to be tough and not give in, it’s up to us as parents to turn the TV off and we decide when it goes on.
  2. Continue to set examples as parents; if we expect our son to watch less TV, we need to show him that we are doing the same.
  3. Start eating dinner at the dinner table without the TV on. My son eats dinner before us, and so my husband and I somehow got into the habit of eating dinner on the couch, in front of the TV. We miss out on valuable conversation doing this and I don’t want my son to grow up in a family that doesn’t eat at the dinner table, my husband and I both grew up in families that always ate at the dinner table and I remember the great conversations we had. There’s a lot to be missed in terms of family bonding when you don’t eat at the dinner table, and at this stage of our family, conversation is also very important for our relationship.
  4. I’m going to start setting limited viewing times. Although my son being 2 may not completely understand this, if I persist with it, he will gain an understanding of it as he grows older and when the TV is allowed to be on.
  5. I’m going to go to the TV guide and select specific programs that we would all like to watch and this is where the line is drawn. We so often get into the habit of just watching what’s on next and then find ourselves watching TV for the sake of it. But, there’ll be no passing on my faves Winners and Losers and Downton Abbey, they are my escape.
  6. To replace screen time for my son, I’m going to make an effort to ensure that I actually set up activities. I’ve found that simply asking him to go and play can be difficult because he has his mind set on watching a TV program, but if I can think ahead and set up a different activity that he wouldn’t think of himself, it may be a lot easier for both of us.
  7. Replace screen time with music. My son loves dancing and singing to the Wiggles (and I seem to wake up each morning with a different Wiggles song in my head), so finding music he enjoys seems to void his need for TV which makes me very happy. I’d much rather see him sing, dance and imitate sounds of animals than staring with a blank face at the box!
  8. If all else fails, I’m going to unplug the damn TV!
Wish me luck!

What methods have you used to limit screen time in your house?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT & Jaz at Red Dolls for BOTW
http://www.reddolls.com.au/

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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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10 Comments

  1. January 27, 2014 / 10:05 pm

    We have some general rules (which all go to pot during the school holidays which I’m fine with). An hour or so of TV after lunch for quiet time (as my 3 y.o doesn’t have a nap anymore). This happens on the days she’s not at creche and on the weekend. My 8 y.o doesn’t watch TV at all during the week, but watches it for an hour or two each day on the weekend. The girls know the rules so it’s easy to push back when they ask for something generally not allowed. Good luck! Kx

  2. January 28, 2014 / 12:38 am

    I gave up TV for two years, it was awesome. We don’t watch that much now but if I am exhausted I turn it on to zone out for a bit. Good luck with the new rules.

  3. January 28, 2014 / 1:26 am

    Good luck Eva, its a bit scary when you realise how much tv encroaches on life but then I could say the same about my lap top!
    I’ve made rules that tv goes on once chores have been done – getting dressed, teeth brushed and room cleaned and they lose tv time if they are naughty. Sometimes we are tv heavy too but we make up for it with times when we don’t watch tv for days. You’re onto to it with your daily trips out of the house so your on the right track.
    I love Downton Abbey! I get it on dvd and watch it when everyone goes to bed 🙂
    Thanks for linking up in #BOTW 🙂

  4. January 28, 2014 / 2:20 am

    Good luck – I think we are probably all guilty of sitting in front of the TV and just watching whatever comes on next even if it isn’t something we particularly want to see. We do watch heaps of sport more than programs although I do have my favourites that I record so I can watch and FF through the ads – Blue Blood, Greys and Homeland !!
    Having said that I always have knitting or crocheting that I do when I watch TV which makes me feel a little less guilty about watching but you are right – it does stop us talking.
    Have the best day !
    Me

  5. January 28, 2014 / 4:37 am

    I lose my cool all the time over the kids TV viewing. Thanks for the tips.
    It’ s been worse with the heat and school holidays making it hard to play outside. They did play lots of Lego too once I turned the TV off.
    The I devices & computer are MY problem not the TV.

  6. January 28, 2014 / 5:32 am

    Great post! I always want to do this but I just forget to – does that makes sense? It’s only when I really get worked up because no-one’s listening to me that I remember to! It is so powerful when I do it though. That’s when the kids slowly meander out the door into the outside world and then play for hours – who’d have thought?!

  7. January 28, 2014 / 11:06 am

    I’m wanting to reduce screen time too, so I totally understand this! One of my kids is just fixated on it!
    What bugs me, is that I like having it on for the background noise, and I shouldn’t need it. Even now, I’m reading blogs, but the tv is on and it really doesn’t need to be

  8. January 29, 2014 / 6:43 am

    I really need to get onto this and limit Lior’s screen time also. Also, computers are a screen, and I really need to limit my use of that – TV I could leave, but my computer – I’m a little addicted!

    Thanks for the kick in the right direction!

  9. January 29, 2014 / 5:54 pm

    great tips I need to incorporate them at my house. Thanks for linking up at Tell Me About It Tuesday. We hope you hop over and share with us again next week.

  10. February 4, 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Hi Eva,
    My husband and I were watching so much tv at night it was crazy, we weren’t talking to each other and one of us always fell asleep on the couch.
    We have been cutting back- I wish I could say we have done this from willpower, but honestly it has been so cold here at night that we are retiring to the office together in the evenings because it is warmer in there. There is no TV so we have been having conversations!!!

    Thanks for linking up at Tell Me About It Tuesday. We hope you hop over and share with us again this week. (Sorry for the late comment!)