Is TV Turning Your Kid Into a Couch Potato This Summer?

Can’t I watch TV just one more hour?
But there’s nothing to do …. and it’s my favorite show!

School is out, books are closed, the heat is rising, and that's usually when our kids start complaining that, “There’s nothing to do!” And that's also when TV turns into “24/7 Kid Entertainment.”

While I think it’s okay for kids to watch television or movies, it’s really easy for them to fall into the TV trap of spending too much time in front of the tube. After all, it’s easy, effortless, no-brainer entertainment, and a bit addicting. Let’s admit it… it’s also easier for us. The fact is, the more kids watch that tube, the more time is lost that could be spent nurturing creativity, learning sports or hobbies, playing outdoors, practicing social skills, reading, or just finding ways to entertain and enjoy themselves. “Family connecting moments” are lost as well.

I want to take on the issue of kids and “TV” this week. The ex-teacher in me always gets concerned when I read those stats about how much TV kids watch. Case in point: Did you know that 25 percent of three-year-olds watch more than five hours of TV a day? But let’s talk about your family...

Are your kids becoming couch potatoes this summer? Are they watching that TV longer than you think is appropriate? How much TV viewing each day do you allow your kids to watch? Have you ever really stopped to track how much TV your kids do watch each day? Here’s your homework for today and tomorrow:

A Parenting Secrets Challenge:
Why not keep a diary for the next two days of your kids’ TV habits? It’s the best parenting method for finding out if you need to reform their behavior. Just keep a pen and paper near each TV and jot the number of viewing minutes, then add them up (or have your kids do the adding – it’s a great math lesson). The number may shock--or delight--you.

Let me hear your thoughts and your discoveries. Then, I'll give you parenting secrets to stop kids from becoming couch potatoes and wean them from that TV set. But meanwhile I hope you take my parent challenge! And I’d love to hear from you.

Happy summer!

Dr. Michele Borba is the author of Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me: The Top 25 Friendship Problems and How to Solve Them.



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