Reader poll Parents monitor kids’ television viewing habits in different ways. All of us struggle to ensure our children aren’t watching too much and too many bad shows. We asked you to share your strategies. Here is what you said:
I always have monitored my 10-year-old daughter’s television viewing. It is harder when the stations she’s allowed to watch (Discovery, WTTW, Animal Planet, Disney, etc.) show commercials advertising shows she’s not allowed to watch or commercials that are too adult-oriented. When this happens, I tell her, "You know, that program seems like it will be OK for you to watch when you get a bit older." Michelle of Chicago, mom of Angela, 10
I use National TV Turnoff Week in late April to kick off our warm-weather TV schedule, which is a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday and no TV during the week. Once the weather turns cold and we’re stuck inside more, I allow PBS Kids or a video at 4:30 or 5 p.m., but it goes off at 6 p.m. when dinner’s ready. On sick days, I let my daughter have TV as much as she wants.
What I really don’t like about TV, even PBS, is how it creates a deep desire for products tied to the shows. I will not buy products with characters on them. She’s heard the "you are not a billboard" lecture many times. Karin of Oak Park, mom of Clare, 5
I have found that even watching a few cartoons every morning changes the behavior of my children—they would be hyper and difficult. So, we cut out the TV, except for a movie after dinner, or maybe a couple on Saturday morning. There are many more creative things to do. My boys are happy, and in the habit of asking before they turn on the TV.
Be strong. It’s worth it. Kim of Woodridge, mom of Alex, 9, and Greg, 6