I don't know about you, but these are questions I hear constantly. I don't hear it much during the school year because we are so busy, but this summer I have heard it A LOT. I really don't like my kids to watch a lot of TV or play too many video games, but I hate to feel like a "meanie" all the time by constantly saying NO.
So, I decided to implement a card system (that I have probably seen somewhere along the way in a magazine or website) that allows them so much TV/Media time each week. I made up cards for each boy in 30 minute increments. They get a set amount of TV time each week and a set amount of time for "media" which is to be used for video games, iPod, computer, etc. I put all the cards in a jar on the counter and when they want to use one, they bring it to me and I put it in another jar on the counter. So far, I have to say, it is working like a dream! No more Mrs. Bad Guy. They know based on how many cards are in the jar whether or not they can watch or play.
We have also set up ways that they can earn more time by playing outside, reading, or general good behavior, etc. This has been great because they have been motivated to do those "good for you" things as a result.
If you are like me, you probably have a ton of ideas like this stored in your brain, but have never actually implemented. Bite the bullet. Give it a try. What do you have to lose? I just wrote it out with a sharpie on index cards. Super easy and (so far) VERY MUCH worth the effort! Or you could print out some of these.
Now, I should probably make or print some for myself! :-)