Pull the Plug on T.V. Time

“Shut the t.v.! Dinner is getting cold! Come here now!”

So, you come home from a long day at work. Your kids finished their homework and now they’re watching t.v. as you cook and they wait for dinner. But, somehow the act of “waiting for dinner” has disappeared and you have 2 zombies captivated by their favorite hypnotic show. Here are specific steps you can take to avoid the yelling and frustration.

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“Insider Tips” before you get started:

1- Communicate “why” working together is important

2- If necessary, tailor the words to fit your style of speaking

3-Be consistent in your words and actions and

4-Establish eye contact as you speak with them.


1- Walk with your kids to the t.v. room and sit down with them to explain the importance of working as a “team”.

2-Lay out the plan with them that you will walk into the room and give  1 warning telling them how much time is left before they are to turn off the t.v. Emphasize that after the warning, you will tell them to turn off the t.v. only 1 time.

3-Ask what consequence would be fair if they don’t turn it off when you ask. (If the kids don’t know what consequence means then explain it. When asked, kids usually come up with very meaningful consequences!)

4-Ask the kids to turn on the t.v.

5-Remind them of the sequence of steps with the t.v. on because they will be watching it when you give the warning and when time is up.


Parent: “What will happen first?”

Kids: “You will give us a warning.”

Parent: “What will happen next?”

Kids: “You will tell us only 1 x to turn it off.”

Parent: “What if you don’t turn it off?”

Kids: (they state the agreed upon consequence).

7- Leave the room and continue with your normal routine.

8-Warning: Walk back to the room and say, “Kids, look at me. This is your warning. You have X minutes left.” (Your tone of voice should be supportive.)

9-When time is up, walk to the room. Ask for eye contact and tell them to turn off the t.v.

10-If they listened: Praise them sincerely! If they did not: follow through on the consequence.

It Gets Even Easier!

After a few weeks your kids will be accustomed to your consistency and aware of your expectations. Give your kids an opportunity of growth and to exercise some independence. Kids are always proud of themselves when they make positive choices especially when those choices are not so easy. To see your child grow will fill you with pride. You will also feel like an accomplished parent and everyone will be working as a team! 

To continue the path of independence where less responsibility is on you, ask your kids if they think they can be good enough listeners to turn off the t.v. if you were to ask them only 1x from another room. Tell them for now you will still come up and give them a warning. (Keeping some supportive action to ensure successful listening.) 

If they seem ready for the challenge follow all of the steps up to step 8. When you tell them turn off the t.v. make sure they’re quiet and not laughing at a funny part in the show.

As time goes on you can eliminate giving them the verbal warning in person and can ask them to turn off the t.v. without yelling or frustration.

lisa cbc 2   Lisa Headshot

Child Behavior Consulting, LLC

Phone: 631-617-1958               E-Mail: Lisa@childbehaviorconsulting.com

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My name is Anne and I am a local mommy blogger ... Momee Friends is all about Long Island and all things local with the focus on family

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