1. Take the TV out of your children’s bedrooms. More than half of children aged 8 to 16 have TVs in their bedrooms. Decrease excessive and unsupervised watching by removing the temptation.
2. Get the TV out of your living space. Demonstrate TV’s peripheral place in your lives by putting it in a closet or another out-of-the-way location.
3. Turn off the TV during meals. Talk to each other instead.
4. Don’t turn the TV on for background noise. If the resulting silence is unbearable, try music or the radio instead.
5. Establish TV-free time in your schedule. Choose other ways to spend your free time. Play games. Take up a sport. Pursue hobbies. Volunteer. Visit friends or relatives.
6. Watch only pre-selected programs. Determine what you will watch at the beginning of each week. Write those programs on the calendar. Turn off the TV when the shows are over.
7. Stop channel surfing. One participant in the 2002 TV-Turnoff Week reported that he reduced his TV watching by 40 percent simply by cutting out channel surfing.
8. Don’t talk about TV. Instead of discussing the plots and characters of TV shows, talk about books or magazines you’ve read or current events. Instead of following the lives of TV celebrities, write a letter to a friend or call a family member.
9. Minimize TV’s obesity-producing effects. Keep children away from Saturday-morning cartoons, on which more than 200 ads air each week, most of them for high-calorie fast foods. Exercise while you watch TV; at a minimum, stand up and move around during commercials.
10. Select and monitor the programs children watch. A Kaiser Family Foundation report estimates that children aged 2 to 7 currently spend more than 80 percent of their TV-viewing time alone and unsupervised.