How To Limit TV For Kids Without Tears

It won’t surprise you to hear my children love to watch TV.  In fact we all love to watch TV, but when my girls watch too much I notice their behaviour can get worse. The compromise? I make TV time a treat, a reward for good behaviour and special family time. How do I do this? Well it helps to have a great TV like the Panasonic HDR 4K TV, but read on for my tips on how to limit TV watching and make it more special.  *Collaborative Post*

Two girls aged 5 and 1 sitting on a sofa focused on something in the difference
Absorbed in the Television

Using A Token System

My eldest used to have a meltdown when I turned the television off. It didn't matter how many programmes we had agreed she could watch in advance or if she promised it would be going off after the current programme. As soon as that time came there would be a refusal to turn the TV off and often shouting or tears too.

I introduced a system where every time she did something helpful or kind a token went into a cup. She can then exchange the tokens for watching a TV programme. She understands that if she doesn't have a token she can't watch anything and she will often ask what she can do to earn one instead of having a tantrum. It's been a great way to get help with chores and it breaks up screen time with other activities. We use the same system for using the iPad too where each token can be used for 15 minutes on the iPad.

Film Night

Every few weeks we have a special film night. Well I guess it should really be called a film afternoon because we don't watch TV after 6pm to allow the girls time to unwind before bed. To make it special we choose the film together, get popcorn, snacks, bottled drinks, dim the lights and all sit down to watch the film. In the winter we all squeeze onto a sofa and snuggle under a duvet.

A young girl eating popcorn out of a cardboard box

Sick Day Pass

There are days when watching a lot of television is a necessity. On days following very little sleep (for me), when I’m too poorly to parent or my girls are feeling too unwell to move off the sofa the only way to keep the children entertained is to watch lots of TV. Yes they might get a bit cranky, but it is better than the alternative. 

To make sure we don't change the rules too much from the the token system we have special sick day passes which can be cashed in for extra TV viewing. As soon as we start to feel better the token system is used again, you can read about my other ideas for entertaining poorly children here

The Emergency Babysitter

My toddler fortunately gets less upset than her sister when the television goes off, but she still loves watching TV. In fact at only 18 months we have to hide the remote from her or she will climb on to the sofa, turn the TV on and start watching. When I am home with her all day we don’t watch much TV, but there are times she doesn’t want to play on her own and I really need to cook food or have a shower without her assistance. On these occasions I turn the TV on and it will hold her attention just long enough for me to get clean or do my meal prep. Mr Tumble, the Teletubbies or even Twirlywoos all make great babysitters for my toddler, although I would be a little nervous if they were actually in the room with her.

***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post***

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