Your Family GuidelinesWhen used well, television, DVDs and computers can add to children’s lives. But if kids are allowed to use screens with no limits, it can affect their health, weight, sleep, schoolwork and relationships. These activities can become addictive and be a major time waster.
Give your kids a hand in using screens wisely. Left on their own, many children will overdo screen time. They need adults to help them set some reasonable limits. Though they may complain at first, on some level kids will be glad that you care enough to help them have more balance in their lives.
Set some family rules and stick to them. Just the fact that you've set them will help your children know that sitting in front of screens is something that should be done in moderation. Decide what you’re comfortable with--every family is different. Just keep in mind that it's not just TV, but all forms of media that should be considered when setting guidelines: DVDs, computer, video games, cell phone games.
Examples of family guidelines set by We Can! KY families:
• No TV on school nights.
• TV is OK from 7 to 9 p.m. if homework is done.
• No more than an hour of non-homework screen time per day. The kids know this and plan their screen use with this time frame in mind. “I’m not going to play a video game today because I want to watch my favorite TV show.”
• No screens when friends are over. It is more valuable to spend time in direct human interaction.
• Some parents take their kids cell phones when they say good night to keep them from sending and receiving text messages when they should be sleeping.