How to Stop a TV Addiction (for Kids)

Watching TV is a huge pastime for kids, but when does a hobby turn into an addiction? If TV viewing is getting in the way of what your child needs to do or used to enjoy doing, it may be time to dial back the watching hours. With support and encouragement, you can help them break the addiction.


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    Talk to your child about their TV habits. The success of this depends on their age: if they're very young, you may just need to set some limits and rules, rather than engaging them in the process. If they're old enough to want to partake in the planning, ask them what they think a regular amount of TV viewing is, and explain your concerns to them. Try to reach a compromise on how much screen time is a good idea - but if you need to, set the limits yourself. You are the parent, after all.
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    Set a schedule. Consider mapping out a schedule on a white board or calendar. You might limit their viewing to certain days of the week, or limiting the time they watch, such as ten or twenty minutes.
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    Encourage your child to do something more productive, rather than TV. It's a good idea for them to do chores or homework, but they can also enjoy playing board games, doing activities outside, and socializing with friends. Try to make the alternatives really fun at first, to help your child transition into watching less TV.
    • Do not let them watch TV while they are doing or working on homework, chores, etc. If you do that, your child will get distracted, sit down on the couch, and watch.
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    Create barriers as needed. Instead of turning the TV off, consider unplugging it instead, because kids can turn on the TV, but some know how to plug back in the TV. Put something to block the way if your child knows how to do this so they can't do it. Consider using a cloth or board to block the actual view of the TV itself, if seeing it there and turned off is disturbing to them.
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    Encourage your child to read. Reading books is one important part of learning. Go to the library with your child and read books over there. Read as many books as possible to stay away from TV as much as possible. Once you're done at the library, take a few books home to read. Pick books your child likes and that are for children, and make sure they are exciting and fun too. Children usually like exciting books.
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    Let your child write their own story. After reading a book your child likes, help them get ideas from it so they could write their own story. Writing is almost similar to reading, but means that your child is creative author.
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    Encourage your kids to draw. Kids sometimes love to draw. Give them crayons, paper, and a pencil.
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    Go on a "field trip." Get away from the living room and out of the house. Take them out somewhere to have a lot of fun, such as a park or carnival. Let play all the games, eat a meal, ride on the rides, etc. Wherever you go, make this enjoyable for your child.
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    Distract your child. If you have something really fun to do with your child, and he/she usually likes it, tell your child about it. They may get surprised, turn off the TV, and start doing the fun thing. Make sure it's a thing your child usually likes. Children usually like to play with fun things and have a good time.
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    Do not let your child watch TV while eating dinner, doing homework, doing chores, etc. This is even worse when they watch while doing homework because TV usually keeps your child from doing homework. Whatever reason, do not let your child watch TV. Also no iPods, iPhones, or iPads or any other unnecessary distractions during homework.
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    Hide the remote, or take the batteries out of it. If you can't find the remote or it doesn't have batteries, you won't be able to turn on the TV. And that keeps you from watching it.
    • Keep batteries away from children, as they may have some kind of rust, and if children touch it, they may get poisoned.


  • Some parents only allow television on weekends.
  • Make everything enjoyable for your child. If you do this, your child might think that all the fun is better than TV and may stop their addiction.
  • Think of fun games to play or make up one. Play it with your child and later, ask if he/she likes the game. If they don't like it (in other cases, not fun), change to a different subject, such as reading.
  • Help your child to think up good ideas for writing a story. You can get good ideas from reading fun books to make up a fun stories.
  • Kids usually love drawing, so consider getting a drawing pad or note pad for them.
  • Take your child to a fun place they like, go out for a yummy treat (ice cream, etc), or go for a walk.
  • If you have a pet that your child cares for, it should be likely that your child doesn't have a TV addiction because they are too busy caring for their pet.
  • When they watch TV, encourage them to watch TV in moderation by making a schedule
  • Assign extra chores or revoke electronics privileges or screen time if your child cannot control his time on watching TV.


  • It is better to prevent this before it happens, because you never know when or how it will happen. Follow the steps above so you can prevent this from happening before it even happens.

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Categories: Addictions