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5 Tips to Reduce the Amount of TV Your Kids Watch


Young family watching TV at home

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports kids ages 8-18 watch more than seven hours of TV a day. This is well above the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation, which state kids older than two should watch only one to two hours of quality TV every day. The AAP recommendation helps ensure kids spend plenty of time developing physically, socially and intellectually, thereby reducing childhood obesity and limiting exposure to televised violence, racism and risky behavior. Here are five tips to reduce the amount of TV your kids watch:

No TV in Bedrooms

Remove the TV from their bedroom. All that access to TV could make their homework, sleep and social life suffer, and they’ll see shows that depict violence, sexual promiscuity and other risky and inappropriate behavior. Put the TV in a common area of your home where you can monitor the shows your child watches.

Watch as a Family

Nielsen studies reveal the average home includes three television sets, and that’s not taking into account second screens such as mobile devices and laptop computers that stream TV shows. It’s common for parents to watch adult shows, while kids hang out with cartoons. Watching TV together, though, gives you a chance to discuss what you see. You can talk to your kids about what the media portrays in commercials and change the channel when a risky scene starts.

Use Parental Controls

Every show receives a rating that ranges from Youth (Y) to Mature Audience (MA). These ratings tell viewers what age group the show is designed for, and you can find them in your newspaper, cable or satellite’s TV guide or on the screen as a show starts. New 13-inch and larger TVs must include a V-chip (as per the Federal Trade Commission), which is a parental control that gives you the ability to block certain ratings, specific shows or entire channels. Setting it is easy; check out instructions at or follow the guidelines in your TV’s instruction manual.

Focus on the Shows They Can Watch

Being a parent is filled with saying “no” to stuff that’s harmful to your kids, including riding a bike without a helmet and eating sugar all day. TV shows such as “Jersey Shore” and “Family Guy” would also land on the harmful list, but don’t focus on the shows your kids can’t watch. Instead, preview the shows they want to watch, and make a list of shows that are OK. Everything else is off-limits, which eliminates confusion over what your kids can watch.

Make TV Time Intentional

Matthew Lapierre, communications studies assistant professor at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, found a majority of families leave the TV on as background noise. If you do that, your kids may not be actively watching the set, but they are listening to adult content. Eliminate this harmful habit when you intentionally set designated TV viewing times. Gather your kids on Sunday, look over the TV guide and write a viewing schedule for the week. With this tip, your kids still get to see their favorite approved shows, and they also have time for school, friends, exercise and activities—because the TV isn’t on all the time.


4 Ways to Expect and Mitigate Temper Tantrums

4 Ways to Expect and Mitigate Temper TantrumsA certain level of fear of the unknown passes through your mind as you’re about to walk out the door with your kids. Anything can trigger it and at any moment, too. Sounds scary, right? Whether you’re standing in the produce section at the grocery store or getting your haircut at the salon, the temper tantrum can happen to you.

The temper tantrum is a parent’s nightmare — public humiliation and an emotional volcano. As your kid drops to the ground and wails, your stress levels skyrocket. Temper tantrums aren’t Satan overtaking your child’s body and seeking to destroy you. Tantrums are normal and expected behavior for children. These “brutally emotional explosions… are as normal as a biological response to anger and frustration as a yawn is to fatigue,” Michael Potegal, a University of Minnesota pediatric neuropsychologist, tells There’s nothing you can do to prevent an outburst. Up to age 4 kids are typically, “hardwired to misbehave.” But there are things you can do to prevent and mitigate the situation. Here are our top tips:

Debunking the Tantrum

If kids are biologically and naturally hardwired to transform from smiling sweethearts into nasty little terrors, then “nurture” (you, dad) isn’t to blame. Inside a 4-year-old’s brain, the prefrontal cortex “regulates emotion and controls social behavior,” the article explains. It’s also the part of the brain that develops last, which causes “disagreeable behavior” and “irrational displays of emotion” in toddlers four and younger.

Children can’t differentiate “magical” from “logical,” which means ordinary realities in our eyes can be scary and confusing in the eyes of our little ones. As a result, children get anxious and release the “flight or fight” hormone cortisol, also known as “tantrum juice.”

Tantrums aren’t only aroused by fear and confusion. Looking for attention and getting a toy, for example, can trigger that embarrassing outburst and inappropriate behavior.

As soon as your toddler enters the ring for round one of fighting, keep in mind the following responses:

Stay Calm

As soon as you lose control, your kid’s tantrum is about to enter a category 5. Maintain composure and calmly ignore the behavior. Responding to your child by matching their irrational behavior won’t mitigate the situation. Is your daughter stomping on the ground in a raging fit? Let her get her frustrations out.

Find a Distraction

In moments of desperation, such as being in public, don’t be afraid to resort to distraction devices. Smartphones are everywhere and a game can instantly silence a child. Right before a tantrum goes from 0 to 60, offer your BlackBerry mobile device to serve as a deterrent. BlackBerry offers so many apps geared toward keeping children engaged and excited. Some distracting games you can play include I Spy, tic-tac-toe and hangman.

Communicate at Eye Level

Maintain that sense of authority and communicate with your son at his level. Explain that you acknowledge how he feels, but avoid the “sadness trap,” which comforts the child and reinforces the behavior. During a meltdown, provide emotional validation with support and sympathy.

Create a Compromise

Negotiate with your child by offering alternatives. For example, if your daughter is headed toward a fit because she wants to watch a movie before bedtime, explain, “you may not watch a movie or television, but we can read a story together.” It’s either the story or nothing.

Before leaving the house, you can prevent a tantrum by being properly prepared. Keep them fed and occupied to avoid being hungry and bored. Also, set up expectations. Let your kid know that you’re going to Target for only these specific items, no exceptions. If you’re playing at the park, give a five-minute warning. You may not totally eliminate a future tantrum, but at least you can mitigate its level of intensity. And every little bit helps.


Capture Those Moments

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Gambling Addiction. Can This Be You?

gambling addiction

Many people love to place friendly wagers from time to time with friends and family. For example, you may place a small wager with your best friend that your team will win the football game this Saturday, or you may enjoy playing poker with friends when everyone gets together. However, some people have taken their enjoyment of betting to an extreme, and they have a true gambling addiction. These are people who feel compelled to place bets on a regular basis, and they actually may not be able to control their behavior. These impulses to gamble may have negative effects on personal relationships, their professional development and their finances. Ultimately, a gambling addiction can ruin your life, so it is important to identify your addiction and to seek treatment from a reputable source. Continue reading Gambling Addiction. Can This Be You?

photo by: Bev Wagar

Trick Or Treat – Five Halloween Horror Movies to Enjoy with your Kids

Family Movie Night

Yeah, we are back to this time of the year again. Halloween is just around the corner and the movie industry is already cramming up classic horror movies and selling them as ‘Remade Halloween DVD Boxes’ again. However, for all the movie lovers out there – here is a little collection of the greatest Halloween Horror movies to enjoy with your kids. I guarantee you and your family a great night together. Unless you forgot the popcorn… Continue reading Trick Or Treat – Five Halloween Horror Movies to Enjoy with your Kids