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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


My Child Watches Too Much TV

By Scott Wardell

What is the number one activity (per hour) that U.S. children spend their time? If you picked sleeping, then you are correct. Watching television was number two! Yes that’s right. According to the Kaiser Foundation, the average U.S. child spends 22 to 28 hours a week watching television. Other research has found that the average child spends 900 hours a year in school and over 1100 hours in front of the TV. Some children in some parts of the country are watching 4 to 6 hour of television per day! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1 to 2 hours per day.

Television in moderation can be a good thing. There are educational themes, appropriate entertainment and news worthy information. But, what can parent do if they are afraid that their children are watching too much television? Review the “Television Help” list below.

Television Help

Set television guidelines for your children. Here are some examples:

1. One hour of TV per day.

2. One hour of G-rated TV.

3. TV only after homework and chores are completed.

4. One hour of G-rated TV and unlimited educational shows on Discovery or PBS (Public Broadcasting).

  • Work to get your child interested in other activities other than television. Tell your child that you want them to help you select an activity (outside of school) that they are interested in trying. Here are some ideas: Boy or Girl Scouts, sports, church activities, academic camps, art clubs etc. You may get more information from your local Community Education programs.

  • Set up a TV contract with your child. Have their television shows placed on a calendar. Provide your child with some natural, positive incentives if he or she follows the contract. Natural incentives may include having a friend over, a favorite meal, time with you at the mall etc.

  • Limit the number of channels that come into your home. Limit the number of channels that your child may watch by using the channel locks provided by your carrier or television remote control.

  • Set a good example. Limit the number of hours of television that you watch. Read a book with your child, put together a puzzle, play a game or take your child out for a bike ride. Most of us need more exercise. Go do something!

  • Post a list of television shows that your child is allowed to watch. This will come in handy when you have a babysitter watch your child.

  • Limit the number of televisions in your home to one. No bedroom TVs!


Scott Wardell is a school counselor and created to provide parents with hundreds of free parenting articles and online counseling to assist parents with their parenting skills.

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