Resources & Tips
parenting tips

How much TV is too much?

Before my first child was born, I watched one of my nephews plopped in front of the TV set in a slack-jawed trance. If I tried to talk to him, he wouldn't answer--he was literally tuned out. The sight left a deep impression on me, so when I sensed that television was beginning to take on too much importance in my sons' lives, I called a family meeting. I told the boys that there would be a new rule about TV--it would be allowed only on the weekends. I listened to their questions and objections, but they could see that I was not about to be pressured into changing my mind. To my surprise, my sons accepted the rule much less grudgingly than I had expected.

To tame the TV in your house, try these suggestions:

Limit TV Hours
You don't have to go to the extreme of banning TV completely. What you DO need to do is limit how much and what your kids watch--especially younger children. Because TV has had such a harmful effect on children's mental and physical health, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age two not watch TV at all, and other children be limited to a minimum of ten hours a week. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of children have a TV in their room. I encourage parents to keep television sets out of their children's bedrooms.

"I brought back the handouts from your Friday night presentation & my husband read them. Lo & behold, miracles DO happen. Your practical and thoughtful words have hit home. We've had several great discussions about authoritative vs. authoritarian parenting. We have decided not to watch TV while the children are awake and never EVER to put a TV in their rooms."
Denise Bryant, Birmingham, AL

Cultivate a Love for Reading
I hear many parents say that the joys of reading have already lost the war to electronic entertainment. These parents assume that, given a choice, children will always pick TV, movies, computers, and electronic games over books. I disagree. There has never before been such a varied and exciting marketplace of books for kids of all ages. When a child loves to read, he WILL read, no matter what else is going on.

Taming the TV is an uphill battle that demands more of parents than many of them are willing to invest. However, countless studies have summed up the relationship of TV to academic success: Those who watch the most achieve the least in school. This might help motivate all of us to put more limits on the amount of time devoured by the tube.


More Solutions to Parents' FAQs can be found in Nancy's books and articles found below.

Antidotes to Spoiling Kids
No parent sets out to raise a spoiled child. Here are antidotes to spoiling kids . . . and not just over the holidays.

How to Know if your Child is Spoiled
Are you caught in these spoiling traps?
Find out the traits of a spoiled child and learn to show love without spoiling.

• Sibling Rivalry
Learn nine solutions for handling sibling rivalry.

Have Your Kids Take the Sibling Survey
This unique questionnaire for parents to give their children will help parents better understand sibling and family relationships and offer clues to how kids really feel about their brothers and sisters.

Positive Discipline
Positive discipline alternatives to yelling, nagging, bribing, threatening and punishing.

Avoid Spanking
Spare the rod: to spank or not to spank?


Eight Weapons in the War on Anger
Nancy offers parents & Educators effective skills to handle their anger without hurting or insulting kids.