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Too Much TV Watching


​​I know this pandemic is effecting kids differently but I’m curious about my 7-year-old son. I don't know if it’s his age or getting out of school early due to the pandemic but he seems unhappy. He’s not interested in playing with the daycare kids or his sister and family. All he wants to do is watch Netflix. He refuses to eat sometimes because he doesn’t want to push the pause button on Netflix. Most of his responses are defiance and refusal. If I say one thing, he throws a fit and does the opposite. I just don't know what to think of it anymore. He isn't a pleasant boy lately.​​


kid watching tv

It sounds like your son's actions are becoming more confusing and difficult for you to deal with as the pandemic goes on. Netflix seems to be an outlet for him that is now negatively affecting other parts of his life, such as eating, being distant from friends and family, and displaying negative behavior when Netflix is taken away from him.

There are a few options you can use to address this with your son. One is to start limiting his ability to watch Netflix by incorporating his screen time into a regular daily routine. This way, it becomes a structured habit when he can and can't watch programs. Another option is to create a dynamic where he would earn his time to watch Netflix. That could look like this: If he spends X amount of time socializing with family, and/or doing productive activities (chores, exercise, hygiene, etc.), he can earn X amount of time on Netflix. Both of these strategies require finding alternative actions to watching Netflix, so try and think of things that would steer him towards socializing with family – for example, playing a family game, eating with the family, relaxing with family (drawing, reading, etc.), and exercise/physical activity with family members. The more activities you have to replace the Netflix time, the easier it will be to get him to spend more time with the family and less time on Netflix. 

We have a great website that is good for kids as well; it is This could be a helpful link to get more ideas on how to move forward, and on how to have a discussion with your son about how to adapt to the change of less Netflix and more family time. 

You also mentioned that you are from Omaha. There is a Helpline specifically geared toward Nebraska families. They are available 24/7, and it is free to call and discuss issues like this with a trained counselor. The number is 888-866-8660.

Thank you for reaching out and feel free to contact us anytime.