So for a while, my son was watching about 3 hours of TV per day. And in my opinion (and the opinions of child psychologists) that's an hour too much. You see, I want my kid to have an imagination. I want him to think up his own games and play by himself at times. And I don't want him so used to watching TV that he looses the ability to entertain himself.
Thus I came up with a solution to our "TV Time Troubles". And horror of all horrors, I actually stole this idea from my mom, who did this with me and my siblings when we were younger.
Now I can hear all your voices collectively asking me, "What did you do? What did you do?"
I made tickets. That's right, tickets. I took some card stock, cut out four rectangles, and wrote "TV Ticket: redeemable for 1/2 hour of TV per day" on the strips. Now I give these tickets to my son every morning. When asks to watch TV, I pretty much say yes, but I remind him that when the tickets are gone, they're gone.
I've been using this system for about a week, and it's working well. My son no longer throws a fit when I tell him he can't watch anymore TV, because he has a tangible way of understanding when he's watched enough (he's out of tickets).
So as much as I may not want to admit my mother was right, in this instance, I believe she was.
But like anything, the tickets system isn't perfect. Here's a couple of warnings:
The first day or two we used tickets, my son watched his TV earlier in the day. This soon ended, though, when he realized that he didn't have any tickets left for before bedtime. Now he's spacing out his ticket usage more evenly.
I also had to drop the idea of asking him to watch TV when it was convenient for me. I just leave the choice up to him. Yes, this makes for a bit of a sacrifice on my part, but on the flip side, my son is learning to make his own decisions about television. And it's not too hard for me to adjust to his schedule and do computer work when HE decides to watch TV.
So there you have it, a fun method to manage your children's TV time. Now I'm curious about the rest of you. What do you use to manage your kid's TV usage? And how many of you find yourselves using some of the techniques your parents once used with you?