Wednesday, September 17, 2008

T.V. Time Rules

Back to school is an adjust whether your children go to school or you homeschool. This fall we've fallen back into the book routine fairly smoothly. What has been a little rocky is TV time.

We don't watch a lot of TV, even in the summer, but I am a little more generous with TV time in the summer heat than I am during the school year. When we started back to the books Kellen (10) and Lydia (6) fell easily into the routine of no TV until school is done and we've eaten lunch. Nolan (4) was not so compliant.

Every morning the first thing he would ask me was to play Nintendo. When that answer was no he would ask to watch TV. When that answer was no he would ask to watch a movie. When that answer was no he would give up, for about an hour, and then we would go through the whole process again. I thought I was going to lose my mind! (or throttle the kid) Finally after a few weeks he got it through his head that the darned TV was not coming on for any purpose until after lunch. Then began the next phase of the battle.

Those of you who know my bright determined child may guess at what happened next. He would scarf down lunch, declare, "I am done," and ask to play Nintendo. I'd set the timer and let him play. Immediately after his time was up he'd ask for a snack. UGH! A few days of making him wait for a snack fixed that problem. He decided he better slow down and eat a better lunch. But still our TV time rules were not working.

Even after Nolan finally got in the routine, the TV was driving me crazy. The problem is there are four kids. Each of them want their TV time, and of course all the others want to watch while someone else is getting their time. So the TV was on basically all afternoon, and I was constantly hearing bickering about whose turn it was to pick. I tried getting them to agree on something, but with two boys and two girls ranging from 2 to 10 it can be a little difficult to find something everyone likes. Nothing was working for me.

Then I happened across something in a book I was reading that made a light go off. Why does each kid get to pick something each day? Why not give each kid a day that is theirs? Aha!

So we started the new TV rules. We rotate days for who gets to pick what is on for the allotted time for TV. I didn't assign specific days since we aren't always home on the same days and weekends don't count.

This is our second week for it, and it is working like a charm. The kids keep track of whose day it is, and I've yet to hear any arguing or complaining about what the person picks. They know how much time they have and plan accordingly to watch the shows or play the games that they really want to.

Last year TV time during the school year wasn't a problem. This year it has been an adjustment. I guess it is growing pains that come with the kids getting older. Rotating the days each child gets to pick what to watch has saved a lot of bickering, and cut back on the amount of time the TV is on. It is working for me!

Works for Me Wednesday: find more ideas and tips.
Photo credit: P. Costa


  1. Genius! I am soooo stealing this idea! I only have two boys who fight over which movie to watch but i know what you mean.

  2. great idea! My son, also 4, is asking to watch tv in between activities all day long. If I say no to that then he asks for a snack. I guess I need to occupy him a bit more but it seemed like he used to be better at occupying himself?. hmmm..

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. Good idea, I have six of them so that's pretty much the entire week!

  4. I am having a flashback as we too had our days for getting to pick the shows to watch. I even remember mine was Mon. and Fri. Of course their were no video games and all we had was about a 12 in black and white tv. That just shows that some things about kids will never change. Gram

  5. GREAT idea. I would have never thought of that!

  6. We had a huge box left over from a new dishwasher so the kids and I took crayons and drew in it. My son asked me to draw a living room with a TV. I drew one that had knobs and rabbit ears and he looked at it like it was a specimen on display at a museum. I had to explain that TV's looked like that when I was young, and we actually only had 7 channels to choose from. AND most of those were fuzzy. We all watched the same thing because there weren't five million shows to choose from.
    Made me feel old.

  7. That's a great idea. We don't have TV as such, but we do have the ability to watch videos and DVDs. But while we were away we had TV and we found Noggin to be the least offensive station. But we had to fight to keep the kids outside and not inside watching TV. Perhaps they were feeling deprived. :)