Too much TV

in my previous post i talked about how we have a reward system set up for my kids so that they can earn their much loved TV time. My smart cookie kids, however, have found that they can earn an unlimited amount of screen time. for example, my 14 year old [name]Evelyn[/name] read for 4 1/2 hours yesterday ( 1 hour of reading= 1 hour of TV) and did 6 chores ( each chore = 10 min), then she sat down in front of the TV and expected to watch 5 1/2 hours of TV. I love that my kids are taking the steps needed to earn their telly time, but i think that they are still watching too much TV! What are your family’s rules on Screen time and how can i improve mine?

Our baby is only 6mos old so obviously she doesn’t watch any television. Our eldest is almost 5, and is allowed to watch an hour or so a day, as soon as she finishes her homework. We don’t take away television privileges if she misbehaves, we use more constructive methods to punish her, such as not going to the park after school with daddy or getting a magazine after school on Fridays.
She is never allowed to watch more than an hour. During the [name]Summer[/name], she hardly watches any at all, as I prefer for her to play in the garden. In general, I prefer for her to play with anything battery operated as little as possible, I prefer for her to use her imagination.
Oh and I forgot to add, me her and her daddy watch a movie together each Friday after the baby goes to bed, so on Friday’s she probably watches about 2hrs of tv or so.
Our system works for us and I wouldn’t change it.

What is your concern with TV time? If you believe that TV itself isn’t good for them, and you don’t want them watching more than X hours of TV (per day, per week, in one sitting), make that a rule.

If you think TV is okay but don’t want it to crowd out other activities, they your system seems to be working. Your daughter did a whole lot of reading and chores before sitting down to her TV marathon. She’s not watching TV to the exclusion of other things in life.

I completely agree with this.
Seems like you just need to make additional rules with your “system”

you may also want to invest some time in encouraging them to seek joy in other things besides TV time. I mean if she read for that long…maybe she would enjoy joining an online book club or writing book reviews online. Maybe you should plan a few trips to the library for more reading material. While doing chores, you could encourage her to work with a little sibling and teach them how to do chores too.

The only problem I see here is that your dd might not enjoy reading or doing chores at all. Sure we all have to do certain things you don’t want to do in life, but I think it’s important to explain WHY she is doing these chores and how they help the family. Regarding the reading, I would just be sure she is reading positive things and this is a task she enjoys doing…it seems silly to me to sit and read a book for 3 hrs if she might rather be writing a story or poem, drawing something, or doing some other crafty type thing. But if she is pretending to read just to watch tv… I dunno…seems like the reward system isn’t really working. If she truly loves to read, I’d hope she would just do it out of love rather than just to watch tv. See what I mean?

Maybe some of the trouble is that this system sets watching TV up as the reward, but puts reading and other imaginative activities on the things-you-have-to-do list along with chores. I don’t actually remember our TV rules for the school year, but my family did have TV rules for the summer when the inclination to veg out in the air conditioning alllll day was really high (ah, the South). We were only allotted 10-20 hours (I forget the actual number) of TV for each month. Family movies didn’t count. We spent our summers outside or playing dress-ups or reading, and really made those TV times stretch.

I don’t know if you want to limit it that heavily, but if you don’t want them watching so much TV, I’d leave the rewards system and just set the limit at what you feel comfortable with (1-2 hours a day, or 1-2 programs, or whatever). Or if you want to keep the rewards system, I would maybe eliminate reading as a route to get TV hours (they’ll have to fill the non-TV-watching time with something anyway). Maybe just doing chores gains you TV time (you could adjust how much time a chore buys you) and/or set a limit on how much TV time you can earn.