If your TV is the most used appliance at home, you may have unknowingly tolerated your kids to get too much screen time. But for many kids, the fun does not end there because with today’s advancement in technology, kids no longer see the need to head outdoors to experience the fun and thrill of playing sports because they can get a similar high merely by playing video games.

If you feel that the habits of your kids are depriving them of age-appropriate activities, it may already be time to intervene. Here are a few steps on how you can slowly get your kids unhooked:

1.    Begin the weaning process. If your kids have relied heavily on the TV and other electronic gadgets for entertainment, you need to gradually limit screen time and help them get reacquainted with other fun activities minus the gadgets. Set up a reward system with the use of compliance charts. If your child obeys your rules for a day, award him with a star on the chart. Come up with tempting offers in exchange for collected stars so that you can get your kids to comply. Trips to the park or getting a DVD of your child’s choice can be exchanged for accumulated stars on a weekly basis while small treats such as an extra bedtime story can be exchanged for stars earned in a day or two.

2.    Have a strict gaming and viewing schedule. Games and TV shows are surely entertaining but when it gets out of hand, it can get kids into thinking that other activities are not at par with the kind of entertainment that they get from electronic devices. Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day for kids older than 2 years old. This timeframe should already include time spent in front of a computer, TV, and other electronic gadgets. It’s also crucial that you choose quality programming to ensure that your kids are getting something beneficial from the shows that they watch.

3.    Provide plenty of age-appropriate entertainment options.
Encourage your kids to engage in any kind of active play such as sports or even just chasing around. Join in on the fun so that they can be more enticed to play ball outdoors. Provide plenty of books, art materials, puzzles, board games, and other stuff that can get your kids to hone vital skills too. Get your kids to join play groups so that they will learn how to socialize and get along with other kids – the skill that they will never learn out of playing video games for hours on end.

4.     Keep the TV, computer and other gadgets out of your kid’s bedroom.
Your kids will no longer see the need to go out of their bedrooms if they have an entire entertainment package in the comfort of their rooms. Keep these in the living room or in areas where you can easily monitor their screen time. According to studies, kids with TV’s in their bedrooms are inclined to get more screen time as compared to others.

5.    Set the right example. If you are hooked on the TV and if you would much rather play video games than play real sports outdoors, you are most likely influencing your kids to do the same. Obey your own rules and try to limit screen time too. If your work is keeping you away from your kids all day, focus on spending quality time with them minus the distractions in the form of electronic devices. At the end of the day, your kids deserve your full attention so make quality time count.

How do you get your kids unhooked? Are you always engaged in a battle with them to keep them away from their precious gadgets even if you are on a family trip?