Children and television go hand in hand. When the television is on, children will watch it, putting aside their toys, and therefore their cognitive development. Educational programs provide children with some intellectual development, but not much in comparison with imaginary play. Children can stop watching TV all day and entertain themselves in other ways.
Children who read or are read to daily tend to do better in school. Besides being educational, reading is also relaxing for both parents and children. It is a great way to spend quality time with family because of the direct interaction. Magazines such as Highlights and National Geographic also entertain children with their games and brightly colored pictures. Books and magazines that capture a child's attention will help him to stop watching TV.
Encouraging children to play outside will help them to stop watching TV so much. Physical activity helps prevent obesity and improves a child's gross motor skills. Take the children to the park, fishing or hiking. If that isn't possible, just send them out to the yard.
Gather the children together for a family board game. Children will stop watching TV if they are playing a game with their parents and/or siblings. Board games encourage children to think in a strategic manner, using their problem solving skills.
Turn off the TV and bring out arts and crafts supplies. Many children would rather not watch TV if they can build creative projects without too many restrictions. If worried about the mess, send the children outside to do art projects, where it can be easily cleaned up. Washable markers and crayons work well for young children who may color on the walls and furniture.
Spend a day taking the children on a learning adventure. Go for a nature walk in the fall and look for different types of leaves on the ground. Visit the zoo and see the baby animals in the spring. Frequent museums and art galleries in the winter time to see the local art shows. A parent would be surprised to learn of the conversations that can develop when children stop watching TV.
Children will mimic their parents. If the parents are sitting on the couch all day, watching TV, so will their children. Parents should occasionally take some time to stop watching TV and join their children outside or in a board game. This demonstrates to them that watching TV isn't required in order to have a good time.