I was reading FamilyFun magazine at lunch, and there was a column on how one mom got her kids to read more. The plan was similar to the one yendi and I use - limit TV time, and allow the child to get an additional half hour of TV time for every half hour they spend reading. (And yendi and I are specific - this means real books on her age level, not comics, not kindergarten-level books!)
This mom said that she cut their TV time back to two hours a day on weekdays and four hours a day on weekends. Not FROM. TO.
Now, I started wondering if I was overly strict... because Elayna only gets half an hour on weekdays and an hour on weekends. If she's been particularly good and we're all in the mood, we may watch a family movie that we all agree on (yes to Holes, no to Cinderella II, for example) without it affecting her TV time. But that's not every weekend, it's not to be relied upon.
Four hours of TV in a day?
Now, with some shows, I can see extending TV time. Anyone remember BrainGames? They were rerunning it on HBO Family for a bit, and Elayna loved it, and I'd happily extend her time for that, because with that, she's using her brain.
But four hours of slackjawed staring at Spongebob?
That's four hours that that kid isn't using their brain.
It doesn't have to just be reading. Four hours of reading is a bit much to expect from an elementary-schooler. But creative play is also a good way to use one's noodle. A kid's engaging a lot more thought when she plays with Barbies than when she watches cartoon animals caper across a screen.
Two hours is too much in my book. Four's beyond the pale. And if that's strict, well, I'm strict, and I don't have a problem with that.
And remind me to launch into my parents-don't-know-or-care-what-their-ki