Parenting Pathway #132: Watch That TV

Are you tired of your children constantly sitting in front of the TV or asking to do so? If so, then this Pathway is for you.

“Researchers have found that every hour preschoolers watch television each day boosts their chances • by about 10 percent • of developing attention deficit problems later in life,” CNN reports April 5, 2004. This report was based on a study appearing in the April issue of Pediatrics. Other studies suggest that too much TV is linked with aggressiveness and obesity.

Whatever the reason, our children seem to be more and more attracted to what is on the tube these days. 

Like most children, my children LOVE Disney moves and the cartoon channels. It is because of this entrancing love that they would sit for hours, maybe even for days, in front of the TV if allowed. When an animated film is turned on, my children stare at the TV like hypnotized zombies with tunnel vision. The house could catch on fire and I could run back and forth in front of them screaming and they would not even blink. 

As a parent of young children, I know first hand how difficult it is to “compete” with the TV or to organize an activity that is as desirable to a young child as watching a Disney movie. To help me with this ongoing issue, I designed a system for our children that supports the idea that TV is an earned privilege, and one that is to be taken in moderation.

My children earn “movie coupons” that they make themselves with construction paper, paint, and markers. They earn one “movie coupon” for each time they lend a hand with a major household chore. Picking up their shoes and taking their dinner plates to the sink does not cut it. However, for things like sorting and folding the laundry, dusting the family room, and cleaning the bath tub/shower, they will earn one coupon for each chore. It takes two coupons to watch an entire movie and one coupon will get them a 20 minute cartoon. 

By the way, I don’t use the word “chore” with my children. We call this system, “Lending a Helpful Household Hand”. Now that my system is in place, when my children arrive home from school they ask, “What can we do to earn a movie coupon?”, which at this point is easier for me to swallow than, “Can we watch TV?” Additionally, we’ve implemented limits: one movie every other day and one cartoon each day.

I invite you to implement a TV system that works for your family. The key is consistency and talking with your children about the benefits of the TV system.

Coaching Inquiries: What impact does too much TV have on my relationship with my children? What are we missing out on by watching TV? How does what my children watch on TV influence them? Who is it that I want my children to be as children?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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