Obsessing Over TV
The problem: A nonstop loop of Duck Tales: Raiders of the Lost Harp. “Our four-year-old son became obsessed and wanted to watch constantly,” says Elizabeth Williams of Hoboken, New Jersey.
The fix: Williams didn’t want her family to spend their waking hours glued to the tube or have television be the go-to source of entertainment, so she banned it during the week―for Mom and Dad, too. “Exceptions are made for presidential debates and speeches and baseball opening day,” she says. “It was clear-cut, and the rule applied fairly to everybody.” Williams subbed in plenty of card games (Uno was a favorite), kitchen science experiments, and even timed “drills.” “I would say, ‘How long will it take you to walk backward around the apartment three times? I’ll time you!’ He loved being timed,” she says.
The expert take: “The idea of limiting time in front of the set is great, but whether you need to cut it out altogether is up to you,” says Forehand. Even if you do allow your kids to watch during the week, there are ways to diversify the subject. Use your child’s interest in particular programs to create an educational experience. “Say, ‘Oh, you’re interested in ducks? Let’s learn more about them. We can go to the library and find books that tell us what they do,’ ” suggests Faber.