How do you manage TV time?

I was wondering how you manage TV time with your kids? 

In the Lost and Tired house,  we cut the cable many years ago.  However,  we do stream Netflix. 

Elliott has a Netflix box in his room.  This was done to give him a safe place to go and shut his door.  He watches his Disney shows and things like that. 

He will fall asleep at night to his shows and it works out well for him. 

Gavin received a Netflix box for Christmas and it has so far been a problem.  Gavin does everything to the extreme.  He will watch nonstop if we let him,  where as Elliott would rather play.

They other problem that is once again presenting itself is the fact that Gavin repeats and imitates what he sees on TV.  He’s going to be 12 in two weeks and exercises very little discretion.

It’s not his fault but it is a problem.

Elliott and Emmett don’t have this same issue so they are as much of a concern.  However,  they will imitate Gavin.  So TV is indirectly a problem for them as well.

We have informed Gavin that we are going to have to reevaluate the situation and figure out how to administer TV time for him.  Like many other areas in his life,  Gavin lacks the ability to self-regulate.  So we have been the ones to say when.

It’s frustrating for me because it feels like I have to micro-manage his life. I hate micro-managing anything,  but that’s really what it is.

I’m looking for suggestions as to how to administer TV time.  I would also like to know how you folks decide was is appropriate for your kids to watch.  I mean,  we do a pretty good job of that but when your child repeats and imitates everything,  you have to take that into account.

Thanks in advance 🙂

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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During the week we use TV as a reward. If Cole gets a good report from school we let him watch TV while I make dinner. If he does not get a good report, no TV. On the weekends it is a bit different, his TV time is usually based on what we are doing. If we are all being lazy we let him watch a bit more. When we let him have his movie player or tablet in his room he is usually playing while watching but if it is in the Family Room he is fully focused on the TV. We can no longer keep a TV or anything like that in his room because he will stay up all night watching. We also have to be careful on what we let him watch because he will repeat what he hears. Just his weekend we found him watching Ren & Stimpy on his tablet and had to put a stop to that as I can only imagine what will come out of his mouth at school.


Here is a link for various tv management tools for kids. Though they maybe costly. Maybe worth saving up for. Some work on a reward/token system.
My stepson has aspergers basically the textbook type. the obsessions. Some difficulty with reality. More when he was younger. He is 15 now. In regular school. When he was younger and started having trouble with something he saw on tv. I would say. Well I guess we should cut tv time. Same when he would not want to sleep and said he had "bad dreams" about something from tv
My stepson lacks self regulation as well to an extent. When he was 11 or so he would we his pants playing games as he would not think of bathroom.
Can you create a set of rules that have to be followed to get tv. And if he imitates tv or has trouble with reality then looses next tv block. I understand the you want him to succeed in it and have a reward of some sort and a leisure activity
Or say you need to play appropriately for X amount of time in a row then tv. So if he exhibits inappropriate behaviour or activity at last few minutes. It starts over again. Even cheep dollar store timers. Out of his reach can help that.
Or create a list of appropriate stuff to watch. Of course even Disney movies has innapropriate stuff to imitate
I find kids with autism / aspergers have trouble "playing". My step son did so hard to find things they like to do that is not tv/ video game related.
Maybe teach him the self regulation eventually. He sets timer for X amount of time for tv. Then X amount of time of appropriate play. Which will need to be reset with innapropriate play.


My situation is a little different than yours, Sayge doesn't have the same problems that G does, but she also likes to mimic and repeat words heard on TV. What we actually do is she is allowed to watch 2 hours total of TV a day usually. I say usually b/c on rainy/snowy days we sometimes give her a little inch b/c she can't do anything else really. AND we also use it as a reward. If she has been super good and done all her chores for the week sometimes we will add an extra hour or let her watch a movie to fall asleep to, which I don't particularly like b/c she tends to watch the movie in it's entirety rather than fall asleep during like most children.

Anyhow, we give her a choice. She doesn't exactly know how long 2 hours is, so we have to explain it in a little more detail. We give her the option of watching the 2 hours at once (in a movie), which means after the movie ends that's it no more TV for the rest of the day. If it's 10 AM or noon doesn't matter there's no more TV until bedtime, which is 8pm. OR we tell her she can watch like half shows here and there that add up to 2 hours. We explain that 4 shows equals 2 hours.

Like I said before we use it as a reward system too, which seems to be a good thing. She's more like Elliott most of the time, would rather play than watch TV…but then other days she will be like G and sit in front of the TV ALL DAY! She will watch whatever is on too! You can turn the most boring show on and she'll watch it! Drives me crazy!

Anyhow, I know my situation doesn't match yours issue wise, but you asked and I answered LOL <3 you guys