THIS WEEK IS
- Start small -- incremental reductions are better than none at all, says Robert Hancox, M.D., a researcher at New Zealand's University of Otago who has studied the long term effects of excessive television viewing on kids.
- Make a plan -- sit down as a family and choose programs in advance to cut down on mindless channel surfing.
- Banish bedroom sets -- a recent study found that third graders who had TVs in their bedrooms scored much lower on standardized test than their peers who didn't.
- Try technology -- install a device that automatically turns off the TV when your child's "time budget" expires.
- Be strict early -- The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children under 2 watch no television at all. Bonus: Kids who watch little or not TV as toddlers may be more accepting of restrictions later on.
- Eat away from the television -- not only can the tube limit dinner table conversation, it's been show to "hypnotize" viewers into eating more.
- No parking in front of the TV -- rather than sitting kids in front of the television while you do chores, ask them to help. It will decrease tube time and make helping a habit.