Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does—television, that is. One of the best decisions I made years ago for myself and for my family was to cut down on television drastically. At first this may seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple tips, parents find it’s much easier than they suspected it would be.
First of all, there is the matter of reducing the amount of TV your family watches to just a few shows a week. In order to do this, I recommend a family meeting to discuss your goals as a family and as individuals. Then take an honest look at what everyone is getting out of television. Everyone will agree that they should watch less TV and spend more time pursuing their own goals. With a meeting like this, your kids and spouse will be much more likely to go along with their new lifestyle of less TV because they’ll understand the reason behind it.
I highly recommend implementing a service such as TiVo ® to help keep TV watching to a minimum. After deciding on the reasons for watching less TV, each family member can decide on a handful of shows to watch together as a family, plus a personal favorite or two, to watch only during designated watching times—Friday nights or Sunday afternoons, for example.
Finally, come up with stimulating alternatives. Take the kids to the library or play board games. Have larger, longer family dinners at the table. Keeping everyone busy will get their minds off this missing element in their lives. I highly recommend using this time to get the kids to strengthen their reading skills and develop a strong interest in reading. Soon you might find that your family—gasp!—may prefer reading over watching TV.