How much TV should your child be watching?

Don't let your child's free time go down the tube - ensure they are using TV time wisely and set limits to how long your child watches TV.

For children, watching television can be a great source of entertainment, while allowing you some time off, especially on weekends. However, excessive TV time might have negative consequences.

How much TV is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) established the following TV time recommendations:

  • Babies and toddlers under the age of 18 months: No TV time.
  • Toddlers between the ages of 18 and 24 months: A few minutes of TV time with a parent or caregiver.
  • Preschoolers: No more than one hour of TV time each day.
  • Children and teenagers 5 to 18 years old: TV time should be limited by parents to no more than two hours a day.

Time watching TV

Here are 9 simple strategies to make your child’s TV time more productive:

  1. Keep television screens out of your children’s bedrooms.
  2. During mealtime, turn off the TV.
  3. Never allow your child to watch TV while doing schoolwork.
  4. Treat TV time as a privilege that children must earn rather than a right that they are entitled to. Tell them that TV time is only permitted after chores and homework have been finished.
  5. Consider imposing a weekday ban, leaving TV time for weekends only.
  6. Examine the TV schedules and programme descriptions your child is watching. Look for family-friendly programming (such as developmentally appropriate and non-violent programming suitable for your child’s age). Choose shows that promote hobbies and educational interests and learning (reading, science, etc.).
  7. Make use of the ratings. For some TV shows, age-group rating tools have been established, and they typically appear in newspaper TV listings and onscreen during the opening 15 seconds of select TV shows.
  8. Provide enjoyable alternatives to TV time. If you want your child to stop watching so much TV, propose alternatives such as playing a board game, starting a game together, or going outside.
  9. If something you don’t agree with shows on the TV screen, turn it off immediately and explain to your child why the show is not suitable for them to watch.


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